Name: Dane Whitman
Occupation: Former scientist, former crusader, now
Legal status: Citizen of the United States with no
Other aliases: None
Place of birth: Gloucester, Massachussetts
Marital Status: Single
Known relatives: Nathan Garrett (alias the Black Knight
II, uncle, deceased), Sir Percy of Scandia(alias the Black
Knight I), Lady Rosamund, Eobar Garrington(ancestors, deceased)
Group affiliation: Member of the East Coast Avengers
Base of Operation: New York City
First appearance: AVENGERS #47
History: The original Black Knight was Sir Percy of
Scandia, a member of the Knights of the Round Table in King
Arthur's Sixth Century Camelot. One of Arthur's staunchest
supporters, Sir Percy adopted the guise of the Black Knight
in order to serve his king in a dual capacity: as an unassuming
man of the royal court and as a mysterious avenging champion.
King Arthur's court magician Merlin gave the Knight the Ebony
Sword, an enchanted blade constructed from a meteorite. The
Black Knight's greatest foe was Mordred, "nephew"
of King Arthur, and for years Percy tried to gather evidence
of Mordred's treachery to no avail. Soon after the fall of
Camelot, the wounded Mordred dispatched his men to kill the
Black Knight, using a dagger constructed of the same meteoric
ore as the Knight's Ebony Blade. The ambush succeeded, and
Sir Percy was slain. Merlin, however, cast a spell upon Percy's
spirit, enabling it to return to the Earthly plane when the
spirit of Mordred threatened. Sir Percy's body was buried
beneath his castle, and his sword interred with him.
There is no record of any of Sir Percy's descendants discovering
the Ebony Sword of following in his footsteps as the Black
Knight until the Twelfth Century when Eobar Garrington assumed
the guise of the Knight in order to fight in the Crusades.
Curiously, the spirit of a twentieth Century descendant of
Garrington's, Dane Whitman, co-occupied Garrington's body
during the last five years of the Crusades. Whitman possessed
the body up until the time of its death. The Twelfth Century
Black Knight was an ally of King Richard the Lion-Hearted.
There is no record of the activities of any of Garrington's
descendants until the mid-Twentieth Century. Then British
scientist Nathan Garrett discovered the tomb of Sir Percy
beneath the castle he had inherited (now called Garrett Castle).
Garrett saw the Ebony Blade in a scabbard near the tomb, but
being unworthy to wield it, could not draw the sword. Garrett
was inspired to become the new Black Knight, however, and
he used his scientific genius to mutate a winged horse and
to create a lance capable of discharging concussive blast
as well as other advanced weaponry. Garrett used the identity
of the Black Knight to commit crimes in order to finance his
further scientific research. He was opposed on separate occasions
by Giant-Man and Iron Man, and as a member of Baron Heinrich
Zemo's original Masters of Evil, he battled the Avengers.
While in aerial combat with Iron Man, Garrett was unseated
from his winged steed and was mortally wounded in the fall.
He managed to contact his only living relative, his sister's
son. Dane Whitman, also a scientist. On his deathbed, Garrett
told Whitman he regretted the wrongs he committed and wished
for his nephew to put his discoveries to good use. Whitman
decided to improve unpon his uncle's work and assume the identity
of the Black Knight. Using his uncle's notes, Whitman mutated
a winged steed to replace his uncle's horse, who had flown
away and, having been further mutated, is now in the possession
of the Dreadknight.
Whitman first went into action as the Black Knight in order
to warn the Avengers that the mutant Magneto had taken two
of their member, Quicksilver and the Scarlet Witch, captive.
He was mistaken for his criminal uncle, however, and after
a brief skirmish parted with the Avengers on bad terms. He
next appeared to warn the Avengers about a new grouping of
the Masters of Evil, which he had infiltrated, and succeeded
in rescuing them from their clutches. Learning that he had
inherited Garrett Castle, Whitman traveled to England with
the intent to sell the property. However, while taking a tour
of the place, Whitman stumbled upon the tomb of Sir Percy
and was contacted by the ghost of his ancestor. Sir Percy
explained to him the origins of his noble lineage and told
him of the Ebony Sword. When Whitman tried to draw it from
its scabbard, he succeeded where his uncle had failed. After
successfully battling the demonic guardian of the sword, Whitman
left the castle with the enchanted blade and soon found himself
drawn into battle with Le Sabre, a modern day agent of Mordred.
Defeating Le Sabre, the knight resolved not to sell his castle.
Soon after, Whitman made the acquaintance of the occult master
Dr. Strange through his neighbor, Victoria Bentley, an old
friend of Strange's. The Black Knight assisted Dr. Strange
in his battle with the extradimensional Tiboro and the two
of them joined forces with the Avengers to battle Surtur and
Ymir. A short time later, the Knight helped the Avengers defeat
the time master Kang and was elected to membership. He assumed
reserve status, however, so he could return to his castle
in England to live. He helped the Avengers battle Ares, the
Olympian god of war, but later fell prey to the charms of
the Asgardian Enchantress, who sought to employ him as her
agent her rival, the sorceress Casiolena. To "reward"
him for his services, the Enchantress turned the Black Knight's
body to stone, and not even Dr. Strange could reverse the
enchantment. (The Black Knight's winged steed Argorn was taken
into the care of the Valkyrie.
Acquiring the Evil Eye, a mystical power object of Avalon,
the realm of the Celtic gods, Dr. Strange attempted to restore
the Black Knight's humanity, instead, Strange and his fellow
Defenders were transported through time to the Twelfth Century
where they discovered Dane Whitman in the body of his Twelfth
Century ancestor, battling the Arabs in the Crusades. The
spirit of Mordred had assumed a human host, and allied himself
with Prince John, King Richard's ambitious brother, and Chandu,
an Arabian wizard. Whitman hoped to lend his might to that
of his ancestor's and combat the evil wrought by Mordred.
When the Defenders learned of Whitman's wishes, they left
for their own time.
For about five years (in the Twelfth Century, but for a shorter
period in the Twentieth), Dane Whitman lived in his ancestor's
body in the Twelfth Century while his real body remained a
stone statue in the Twentieth Century. In accounts not yet
disclosed, the Black Knight defeated Mordred and his allies
and following the Crusades, met Amergin, High Druid of Avalon.
Avalon was under attack by the Fomor, the ancestral enemies
of the gods, and the Black Knight offered his aid to England's
ancient deities. The forces of the Fomor were too great, however,
and Amergin contacted his twentieth Centurydescendant, Dr.
Anthony Druid, for assistance. Druid dispatched the Avengers
back through time to Avalon. With the Avengers' aid, the Black
Knight succeeded in closing off the portal between Avalon
and Earth using the Evil Eye. The process, however, destroyed
the body of his Twelfth Century ancestor, Eobar Garrington.
Through Amergin's magic, Dane Whitman was restored to his
rightful body in the Twentieth Century; the stone having been
transformed back to flesh. The Knight's Ebony Sword and his
new winged steed given him by Amergin, were sent to the future
Readjusting to the Twentieth Century life was difficult for
Whitman. After a brief adventure in which he found the amnesiac
Captain Britain, he settled in at Garrett Castle, only to
learn that its caretaker Victoria Bentley had purchased it
when it was about to be seized by the British government for
non-payment of property tax. When Whitman started acting moodily,
Bentley summoned Dr. Strange. Strange learned that the Ebony
Sword was cursed by the blood of the victims of its original
wielder, Sir Percy, and that it was this blood-curse that
compelled Whitman to remain in the Twelfth Century where it
could be used for more bloodshed. After convincing the Knight
of the sword's malevolence, Strange instructed him to purge
the Ebony Blade of its curse by plunging it into the Brazier
of Truth, the mystic receptacle which was the spirit of Sir
Percy's touchstone with the Earthly plane. Whitman shattered
the Brazier, purging the sword of its curse, and freeing Sir
Percy's spirit from all ties with the Earthly plane. The Black
Knight returned to America with Dr. Strange and renewed his
membership in the Avengers.
Height: 6 ft.
Weight: 190 lbs.
Strength Level: The Black Knight possesses the normal
human strength of a man of his age, height, and build who
engages in intensive regular exercise.
Known Superhuman Powers: The Black Knight is an expert
swordsman, and combatant. He also has considerable knowledge
of advanced technology and of genetic manipulation thanks
to his studies of his uncle's journals and equipment.
Weapons: The Ebony Sword, forged from a meteorite
by Merlin, possesses a number of properties, some innate to
the metal, and some magical enchantments. The sword is extraordinarily
hard and invulnerable to all harm. Weighing fifty pounds,
the sword is capable of cleaving through any substance up
to foot-thick steel. Its mystical properties include an immunity
to magic. It can deflect mystical energy and shatter mystical
barriers and shields. Merlin created a magical bond between
the sworn and its prime wielder (the Black Knight and his
descendants) enabling that wielder, through arcane ritual,
to magically transport himself across space and time if he
should become separated from the sword.
The Ebony Sword has been purged of the blood-curse it had
acquired through the deaths it had caused. Provided the Black
Knight does not kill anyone with it, the sword shall remain
free of the curse.
Transportation: The Black Knight has ridden two winged
steeds in his career so far. The first was Aragorn, on whom
Whitman had used uncle's technique for mutating animals, to
give it bird-like wing enabling it to fly. Aragorn was entrusted
to the care of the Valkyrie, in whose custody it remains today.
The Black Knight's second winged steed was Valinor, who possessed
bat-like wings. Valinor was a gift of Amergin, High Druid
of Avalon. Taking ill not long after it was transported to
Twentieth Century England due to its lack of affinity for
the Earth Demension, Valinor was cured by Dr. Strange's magic
at the expense of its wings. The Black Knight currently employs
one of the "Atomic Steeds" built and employed by
the Knights of Wundagore.
NOTE: In New Excalibur #12 (2006) Sir Percy
of Scandia told Dane Whitman that there were eight men before
him who were also known as the Black Knight. All of whom were
consumed by the sword, the Ebony Blade, and had to be "put