Black Knights concluding issue sufficiently and wonderfully wraps up many of the overarching plotlines or focuses of the miniseries while also building a whole new realm of mythology to explore moving forward. Every bit of the artwork brilliantly mixes darkness with also the brightness of hope and heroic energy that fills the issue. If you haven’t checked out this series already, it surely should be on your to-read list.
Ever since the very beginning of the first issue, it’s been clear that Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade is a series heavily focused on broken heroes trying their best despite the weight and curses upon them. All of that fully hits home in the series conclusion that very much sets up a truly different future for the Black Knight.
Simon Spurrier, Sergio Davilla, Sean Parsons, Arif Prianto, and Cory Petit have spent the last four issues reexamining the mythos of the Black Knight and Camelot and everyone around it. There have been grand adventure moments from the past, secrets spilled, alliances broken, and the previous issue ended with two of the main characters dead and dying. Wrapping everything up is always a tough thing to do with such a short series, but this team not only made it work but they did it in the best way that answers things but leaves new questions to explore later.
Right off the bat, the way that Spurrier has the villain Mordred beat the cost that magic comes with (one of the great additions to Marvel’s magic realms over the last few years) is beyond genius because it’s realistic and so very evil. All this time it was made to be that the Listener app that Dane and others were using as therapy was just some innocuous app, but instead, it turns out that Mordred truly is evil as he contracted some tech bros to create this app so that he can use the pain and misery of others to pay the magical debt. A villain, especially one of the ancient past, realizing that humans are broken in so many ways thanks to this world we live in and how dependent we are on apps and using that for an evil plan is true villainy.
In the previous issue, there was a ton of darkness and death as the art team just nailed it and ripped the reader’s heart out along the way as they likely were hoping for some turnaround for Dane Whitman. That turnaround has arrived, and the issue is just a delight to flip through. The team nails the darkness of the cursed Ebony objects and Mordred and the way it breaks the people raging around the world. While also bringing so much hope amongst the darkness with some kick-ass action scenes with the rising up Black Knight and returned Elsa Bloodstone vs Mordred.
Not only is the issue dark in tone but Prianto continues to bring the darkness mixed with brightness in the colors that accompany Davilla and Parsons’ artwork. There is a scene with the dark Mordred with his Ebony Crown and wires connected looking upon his work to literally deconstruct parts of the city out the window that is dark and bright at the same time as the dead Jacks begins to return thanks to the promise of the Ebony Sword and those with the right bloodline to wield it.
Through this, we get such great panel work that incorporates Dane’s dying confession to Listener, which Mordred begins to watch and gloat about, alongside all the action and human moments of the issue. There is a ton of dialogue here as there is a lot to wrap up and bring to the forefront (Mordred monologues, Dane confession, Jacks and Elsa dialogue, etc) and Petit makes it work like always. It all flows around the artwork in a way that keeps your eye on everything involved without missing anything.
Then there is the well-placed SFX that just brings a new level to stuff, adding that sound or oomph needed for a panel. Never would I think of what sound would be made if someone’s flesh was being regrown onto their body thanks to a cursed sword, but the “SSSHHHLOPP” on the page makes perfect sense once you see it and then “hear” it.
Speaking of that panel and the bloodline mention, the conclusion of this story and the revelation is both surprising and expected at the same time but that doesn’t take anything away from it. Being able to see a potential plot reveal coming isn’t a weak spot in a story, it’s part of the design. The clues are there for the pieces to be put together.
Overall though the revelation is fantastic because it gives us a whole new dynamic with the Black Knight at the very end, with a promise of more of this dynamic before the year is over, that will be so amazing to explore. Honestly, this mini’s focus on really discussing and focusing on flaws and issues that people struggle with through the superhero and fantastical lens was a brilliant stroke. The slew of books exploring this more lately are very welcome and we need more of them.
Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #5 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.