Monday, November 10, 2014

Black Knight's Quest!

I was aware that the Black Knight was appearing regularly in the Marvel UK comics, specifically in issues of The Hulk's comic book.

But back then getting hold of such material was not realistic. I've always wanted to read those stories and some years back Marvel reprinted them as part of their effort to put the Captain Britain stories in a more permanent form.

The Knight's story is rambling one, told in three and four page bits over the course of many weeks. His mission, his quest is a mystery but he soon enough hooks up with a stranger who is pretty much obviously an amnesiac Captain Britain. The duo stumble along for a few chapters, hooking up with a peculiar chap called "Walker". It's at this point that similarities to another great fantasy saga begin to surface in the series, specifically the Middle Earth tales of J.R.R. Tolkien.

There's no out-and-out theft of ideas, but the Knight and Britain find themselves battling elves and trolls and such, many with names which evoke the classic fantasies by Tolkien. A master villain called Mandrac appears after a time as do mysterious riders and other echoes of the Tolkien mythos.

But the Black Knight's focus is on his quest which takes him ultimately into another dimension dubbed "Otherworld" where he battles against his old foe Modred, somewhat redesigned for this storyline and a servant of Mandrac. Without spoiling it too much, it's sufficient to say that eventually the Knight and his ally Captain Britain save the day as heroes ought.

It was neat to finally read this storyline, one of the few which the Black Knight was offered over the decades, at least solo. He doesn't often sound like the Black Knight I know from the U.S. appearances, his Dane Whitman identity largely ignored, but he's the Knight nonetheless.

This storyline and much much more are available in the second Captain Britain reprint.

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