Black Knight’s moody dark bloody mythological depressive and humorous status continues to allow it to stand apart from many other comic books upon the shelves. With the swords, flying horses, mystical beings, and deep ties to Camelot the series fills the epic fantasy niche that isn’t explored near enough within Marvel. To top it off it’s a rich character study not afraid to dive into the mental toll that heroics and life within the Marvel Universe begin to take on individuals.
Over the decades Marvel Comics has created a great amount of character and lore as well as brought in well-known myths and lore and gave it their own spin. Camelot, King Arthur, and everything to do with them has been touched upon in so many comics over the years it would be hard to count.
Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #3 has taken all that lore continuity and turned it upon its head in order to redefine the entirety of Camelot, the Ebony items, and the role of the Black Knight in a truly wonderful way.
A truly intriguing aspect of this whole series so far is this idea of true history vs the history that is told by “the victors.” This idea that the stories we’ve seen about Camelot in the past Marvel stories were a lot of cultivated myths or stories that left out important bits because Merlin and others wanted it that way. It’s a concept that we in the real world come across all the time, the constant battle between speaking the truth of our history vs the sanitized version that the powers that be prefer to be told.
As mentioned in the previous reviews, Dane Whitman is a broken individual and Simon Spurrier leans into that heavily as Dane tries to get by and tries to deal with all these revelations and the pull of the blade. There is a lot more lore dropping done within the issue but it is done around bits of great action, some really great back and forth between Elsa Bloodstone and everyone else that she decides to verbally and literally cut down and the much-teased young Thor/Black Knight flashback fight.
For as much as Marvel teased that battle, it really only was a very small portion of the issue. That’s not a bad thing, as it accomplished what Spurrier was attempting in tying it to some of the interactions with Thor from issue one. Sometimes promos and solicits make something from an issue appear to be bigger than it actually will be, and this is one of those cases. Sure, a bit more to the battle would have been nice, but there is a lot more stuff that the series must get to having reached the midway point.
Sergio Davilla, Sean Parsons, and Arif Prianto are getting better and better as the series continues. The number of shadows and darker tones used has increased mirroring the increasingly darker and more brutal nature of the story. They do not hold back in the more brutal and bloody panels that come later, every single bloody loss is felt and isn’t hidden, helped by Cory Petit’s creative SFX and other lettering tricks. It’s not like hard-rated horror movie brutality or gore by any stretch, but it’s far more real and brutal than is often seen in regular superhero comics.
While there is a lot of lore dropping there is a swiftness to the issue that can be felt in every aspect from the dialogue to the action on-page. Everything has kept moving with little slowing down since the first page of issue one. And it’s clearly not going to slow down any time soon, which is a welcome thing.
Everything about this book doesn’t feel like “standard” Marvel or superhero fare which is the best selling point of the book. There are a handful of books that are trying to elevate how stories are told from within the publisher, befitting of the publisher being referred to as “the house of ideas” over the years. It begs the question of with how popular such things are, why there isn’t some ongoing medieval fantasy style book at Marvel besides what is offered with the deluge of Conan books.
Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #3 is now on sale from Marvel Comics in print and digitally.