Friday, November 7, 2014

Black Knight #5

The fifth and final issue of Black Knight sees yet another change. After only one issue Fred Kida is replaced by Syd Shores who does all of the stories in this issue including The Crusader tale. He is inked by Christopher Rule. This issue is dated April, 1956 and is five months removed from its predecessor.

Joe Maneely produces his final Black Knight artwork though, an excellent and dynamic cover for the issue.

The Black Knight faces a dragon when Modred plots with a disloyal knight named Sir Gilles to capture one of the legendary beasts and bring it to Camelot. After facing off against Gilles, the Black Knight attacks the "Dragon" revealing that it is merely a fake operated by a gang of soldiers.

Sir Percy is waylaid by a gang of robbers who are upset that King Arthur is taxing them so heavily. Percy tells them that the taxation they suffer from is the result of Sir Costain the Sheriff and not the King. Later as the Black Knight he goes to the Costain's castle and is captured but the robbers rescue him and together they bring about the fall of the evil Sheriff.

"The Invaders" is a two-page text story tell the story of Viking leaders who appear in force before Camelot, but who rather than seeking violence seek peaceful trade with King Arthur. 

The Crusader is forced once again to go in disguise to rescue King Richard when he is kidnapped by De Montfort who uses men dressed up as Moslems. El Alamain finds the King in a cave and rescues him after a fierce battle, but there is no solid evidence left that De Montfort was behind the plot.

Merlin warns Sir Percy not to take a pilgrimage along with Rosaumund and King Arthur. But despite these warnings they do go and are waylaid by Tartars who warriors under Mohar Jinn. The prisoners are taken aboard a ship but manage to escape thanks to some rotten wood. Sir Percy rescues King Arthur and they return to shore where Percy becomes the Black Knight and follows Arthur to Camelot where they defeat the  Tartar invaders. Later to preserve his dual identity Percy arrives at Camelot on a donkey.

Apparently the production of this issue was a chore since it didn't appear for several months after it should have. Syd Shores is a terrific artist and he brings a lush consistency to the pages here. On some pages I can even detect a desire to evoke the Maneely feel, but still it falls short of the magnificent work which appeared in the first three pages. Sir Percy gets some more time on the page in these stories it seems, but sadly looks a bit goofy to be honest.

The Black Knight would go away for many years after the cancellation of this series, not to be revived until the early days of what would become the Marvel Universe. But that was a different time and as it turns out a different Knight. More on that next time.

The second Black Knight story is reprinted.

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  1. Another sweet cover! I'd like to see more Maneely reviews if possible.

  2. More Maneely would be fine with me, too. I picked up the Masterworks volume mostly for the Yellow Claw, but really appreciated the package they put together in the Black Knight comics. A great extra in the book is the extensive article on Joe Maneely, a largely forgotten talent who deserves more attention.


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