Throughout the weekend, CBR News and writer Paul Cornell profiled the cast of his new Marvel Comics ongoing series "Captain Britain and MI:13." In today's final installment of SUPER SPY WEEKEND, Cornell joins us once more to take a close look at the British team's one American member, magical sword-slinger and former Avenger Dane Whitman, better known as The Black Knight.
"I've always loved the Black Knight, and immediately wanted him onboard for this," Paul Cornell told CBR News. "He's an American living in Britain, so he has got that expatriate thing going, but more important than that, he's been feeling the Ebony Blade dragging him towards doing willful, offhand, even evil things."
The Ebony Blade is a powerful but cursed weapon, passed down from one Black Knight to another.
Continued Cornell, "He does have his moments of berserker rage and questionable morality, which he'll pull back from and cover with a stiff upper lipped quip. Because he's a hero and an anglophile. So, he's taken up a wry, wisecracking, Douglas Fairbanks stance that doesn't give it any brooding seriousness to play with. So he's become more fun, but not for the best of reasons. And the noble knight is still in there, now actually more than ever, since he's battling with himself. So when we meet him, he's witty with this brittle, slightly lost quality to him. Very attractive, probably."
The Knight's new wisecracking attitude helps to define his role in MI-13. "He's the voice of wry comment, the one who rolls the eyes, the very humane Avenger who always thinks about the consequences, but expresses himself through wit," Cornell explained. "Goodness, we should just give him a British passport now. He's always utterly chivalrous, but now he's got a side order of swashbuckling with that.
"Captain Britain and MI-13" also sees The Black Knight with a new look. "Leather jacket; classic motorcycle (the flying horse I won't name here has been put out to pasture with lots of nice lady horses); old helmet; force shield; Ebony Blade," Cornell said. "No cape now, no armor. His fighting style is the martial arts of a knight, and he's a force to be reckoned with. He's also got the people skills, confidence and public standing of an Avenger."
The Black Knight has been the wielder of the Ebony Blade for some time now but confusion arose when an impostor Black Knight attacked the Black Panther and his nation of Wakanda with what appeared to be the real Ebony Blade. That confusion deepened during the Knight's last appearance in "New Excalibur," when he admitted he wasn't sure he had the true Ebony Blade in his possession. But in "Captain Britain and MI:13" #1 it looks like the Knight is armed with the true Ebony Blade. "He thinks he's definitely got the real thing," Cornell explained. "Because he's felt it playing with his mind. But we'll see whether he's right."
With his long time association with the Avengers and his American citizenship some might be wondering why the Black Knight has chosen to stay in England instead of returning to America and rejoining the Avengers. "Registration really got on his tits, and nobody ever felt they should call him and ask for his vote," Cornell said. "The British law that approximates Registration is quite a lot different, more carrot than stick, and he's had official leave to stay for a while now."
When the Skrulls begin their assault on England, the Black Knight rushes forward to defend his adopted home without hesitation, but once the Skrull threat is over, Dane Whitman's American citizenship and MI-13's status as official agents of the British Security Service may make things a little trickier. "It'll be up to him whether or not he wants to take part," Cornell stated. "But when he sees what our heroes are facing, he will."
Very special thanks to Paul Cornell for helping CBR News make this a long SUPER SPY WEEKEND! "Captain Britain and MI-13" #1 goes on sale May 14.
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