Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #1 Review

by Nick Devonald on March 17, 2021

Writer: Si Spurrier
Artist: Sergio Dávila
Inks: Sean Parsons
Colours: Arif Prianto
Letters: VC’s Cory Petit

After the recent King in Black tie-in issue the Black Knight is back for a brand new mini-series, under Simon Spurriers masterful storytelling. Spurrier took pains to redefine the character in the previous one shot, while not essential reading to understand this mini-series it was a really good issue and is well worth picking up. Rather than the Ebony Blade being the source of the terrible curse, only able to be lifted by those pure of heart, rather the opposite is true. It holds no magic when it is held by those pure of heart, rather the wielders darker impulses are what powers it. Such a small change, yet it flips everything on its head for its wielder, Dane Whitman. As Thor himself describes it “the more unworthy his mood, the mightier the blade. ‘Tis the very opposite of Mjolnir.” It’s an exciting premise for a series, which leaves Whitman with plenty of inner conflict.

This first issue is filled with an all-star cast, with the Black Knight being called in to help the Avengers against some particularly virulent monsters. It really highlights how much of an outsider that Dane is and gives readers an excuse to learn a little more about him, making him a sympathetic character in the process. The recent one-shot hinted that the history of the Ebony Blade and its wielders isn’t quite what readers, or Dane, have been led to believe. While only early days in the mini-series it’s clear readers are going to get an opportunity to really dive deep into the mythology of Camelot, along with the history of the Ebony Blade. All the while exploring the character of Whitman.

He’s still trying to find his place in the world, to understand a little more about his sword and history, whilst feeling like an outsider and being defined by his more unsavoury character traits. Whitman talks about downward spirals, feeling sad and angry, and it feels real. Subjects like depression are rarely confronted head on, and it’s refreshing not to shy away from it. The subject of mental health problems can still be a little bit of a taboo subject, but Spurrier deftly handles this in a way which reads as both honest and respectful.

Spurrier uses Dane’s relationship with the avengers to great comedic effect, both eliciting a laugh from the reader and making Whitman even more of a sympathetic character. Anyone who’s familiar with Spurriers writing will know that rarely will the stories unfold the way that you expect them to, and there’s a huge twist about two thirds of the way through which is guaranteed to take readers by surprise. And this is just the first issue. We’re also introduced to an interesting new character who promises to be a key part of the supporting cast and have a much expanded role going forward.

Sergio Dávila does an excellent job with the art, from the initial intro with a full-on action scene with the Avengers, to a grandiose vision of Camelot, to quieter, more reflective scenes filled with emotion. If this first issue is anything to go by then readers can expect epic fantasy battles that look as fantastic as the slower storytelling moments. The art looks incredible on every page, with Sean Parsons inks and Arif Prianto’s colours being an excellent fit with Dávila. Prianto uses the blue light from a computer screen to excellent effect, it really captures the tone of the story and looks great.

An intriguing premise filled with plenty of inner conflict which is not afraid to shy away from taboo subjects, fans of Spurrier’s writing will lap this series up. This comic, while firmly set within Marvel continuity, has a personality and feel to it which separates it from typical Marvel fare. Excellent art gives us a series of intriguing battles and locations, which also conveying the emotions of our protagonist. An exciting first issue, this is one you won’t want to sleep on.

Our Score:


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