Dane Whitman is a fictional superhero appearing in American comic books published by Marvel Comics. The original Black Knight 's descendant and the supervillain Black Knight 's nephew, he inherited a mystical sword that carried a curse and took the Black Knight name to help restore honor, and has been a long time member of the Avengers ' various incarnations as well as the Defenders , Ultraforce , Heroes for Hire , and MI: The character was featured in a four-issue mini-series in and two one-shots in and Starting in , he was the main character in Marvel's All-New, All-Different Marvel ongoing Black Knight series, the first ongoing series to feature Dane Whitman as the titular character; however, this was short-lived as dwindling sales resulted in the series' cancellation after five issues.
Following his introduction, the Dane Whitman Black Knight became a recurring character in the superhero-team comic The Avengers , with his first solo story appearing shortly afterward in the anthology title Marvel Super-Heroes 17 Nov. From to , the Black Knight also appeared in a black and white feature in the Marvel UK comic Hulk Weekly , where the feature was to be the longest-lasting of the comic's UK-originated material, appearing in the majority of the title's 63 issues. This was followed by the one-shot Black Knight: Exodus 1 Dec. The writer of the series, Frank Tieri, now considers it a standalone limited series and expressed his feelings over the series being cut short.
Dane Whitman was born in Gloucester, Massachusetts and is best known as the modern-day Black Knight, continuing a legacy that began in medieval England. Percy's murder at the hand of his nemesis Mordred began a string of successors, all of them Percy's descendants. After being mortally wounded during a battle with Iron Man , he escaped to his estate, summoned his nephew to confess his crimes, and asked him to restore honor to their family legacy and atone for Garrett's misdeeds.
Whitman became the Black Knight, using Aragorn for his mount. During his first outing, he was mistaken for his uncle and attacked by the Avengers , though they eventually realized their mistake. While still a provisional Avenger, he helped defeat Kang the Conqueror , who was given the power of death over the Avengers by the Grandmaster as a prize for winning a recent game that Whitman had become unwittingly involved in when he assisted Goliath in defeating his chosen opponent thus rendering that round of the game a draw in the Grandmaster's eyes, since the Avengers did not defeat their opponents on their own.
Since Whitman was not a full Avenger at the time, Kang had no power over him, and so Whitman was able to defeat him with relative ease. Whitman then officially joined the Avengers in recognition of his aid. The Black Knight traveled to Olympus with other members and helped defeat Ares. Whitman was an early member of the Defenders. He also became the team's first casualty after kissing the Enchantress , petrifying him.
Meanwhile, Whitman chose to stay in the 12th century and was cared for by fellow Defender the Valkyrie. He then employed the Evil Eye to seal the portal between Earth and Avalon. Whitman returned to the 20th century and his original body was restored. He was accompanied by a gift from Amergin: a black, winged horse called Valinor , named after the fictional location of that name. Whitman learned that the Ebony Blade was cursed: every time it drew blood, it drove its user closer to madness.
Whitman freed Sir Percy's spirit from the Earthly plane, purging the blood curse from the sword. When the Sub-Mariner used the sword to kill his wife Marrina , who had become a monster, the blood curse was revived. The curse began to transform Whitman's body into the same mystic metal as the blade.
Dane Whitman (Earth-616)
He also showed signs of mental instability. Sir Percy's spirit merged with the sword, canceling the curse and returning Whitman to normal. After rejoining the Avengers, Whitman was a major member of the team and eventually became the de facto field leader in Captain America 's absence. He became romantically involved with his teammate Sersi of the Eternals. This relationship soon came under strain, as Sersi proved increasingly unstable due to the machinations of a man called Proctor.
In an attempt to stabilize her, fellow Eternal Ikaris mentally bonded Sersi and Whitman with a process called the " gann josin ", but this did little to slow the process — not least due to Whitman's resentment at having the bond imposed upon him, especially as he was beginning to turn his attentions toward Crystal , one of the Inhumans ' royal family. Sersi eventually snapped completely, forcing Whitman to aid her — until the sight of her attacking Crystal enabled him to break the gann josin' s hold on him temporarily.
Proctor was later revealed to be an alternate universe counterpart of Whitman.
Having been rejected by his own Sersi and twisted by the gann josin and his Ebony Blade's curse, he now traveled the multiverse with the aid of a captured Watcher named Ute on a mission to kill the Sersi of every reality. Ultimately, Sersi slew Proctor with his own Ebony Blade and was subsequently forced to leave the Marvel Universe to restore her mind. Whitman left with her, partly because he did not want to come between Crystal and her husband Quicksilver and partly because he felt responsible for what had happened to Sersi.
The pair were transported to the Ultraverse home of the Malibu Comics characters. They were separated and Whitman became the leader of the superhero team called Ultraforce. He and Sersi briefly reunited to return to the Marvel Universe, but something went wrong along the way.
Instead of returning to the Marvel universe's present, they ended up in the 12th century and Whitman once again found his spirit in the body of Sir Eobar Garrington.
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His consciousness was buried under Garrington's, however, and Sersi was forced to pass Garrington's soul onto the next plane with his permission to restore Whitman's consciousness. Whitman found himself embroiled in a conflict with the evil mutant Apocalypse alongside his ancestor's best friend Bennet du Paris, the mutant who would later become Exodus. Apocalypse tried to get du Paris to kill his friend, but du Paris refused.
Judging him weak, Apocalypse put du Paris in a state of suspended animation.
Out of respect for his ancestor's friendship with du Paris, Whitman organized an order of knights to guard du Paris' body, which they did through the ages until he was found and revived by Magneto. Sersi created another portal, this time to the correct time period, and she and Whitman departed the 12th century. Whitman and Sersi were somehow separated in transit, which ripped their gann josin bond apart. Whitman found himself back in New York in the proper time, but without Sersi.
He was soon dealt another shattering blow when he learned that the Avengers and most of the other major heroes had apparently perished in their battle with Onslaught while he was gone.
The Black Knight
Whitman then learned that the Lady of the Lake had selected him as the Pendragon for his age. She bestowed upon him new mystical equipment from Avalon : a suit of armor, the enchanted flying horse Strider, the Shield of Night, which absorbed energy, and the Sword of Light, which returned that energy in the form of an energy projectile. The newly empowered Black Knight helped the Heroes for Hire defeat Nitro , then accepted Iron Fist 's offer to join the newly formed team due primarily to his concern over former teammate and friend Hercules , who had been drinking heavily out of grief for the Avengers' deaths.
Whitman eventually learned what happened to Sersi when she reappeared asking for help to defeat yet another of her old enemy Ghaur 's nefarious schemes. Later, the Heroes for Hire found themselves in the midst of a major conflict in the High Evolutionary 's city of Wundagore.
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The Black Knight left the team to assist the Knights of Wundagore along with Quicksilver and later returned to the Avengers when they expanded their roster to include satellite teams around the world. Whitman was sent to the Slorenian border, where the Bloodwraith had used the Ebony Blade to absorb the souls of the entire population after they had been killed by the android Ultron. After the "Kang War" arc, the Avengers disbanded these global teams.
Whitman reappeared in New Excalibur in the mids. He has opened up a museum in England chronicling the Black Knights that have existed throughout history. Whitman recently learned that Sir Percy was not the original Black Knight, but that eight men had held the Ebony Blade prior to him. The Ebony Blade, however, corrupted these men, and Sir Percy was deemed the only one who was noble enough to wield the Blade. Also at this time, Merlin told Whitman that he must not destroy the Blade as he had previously been told to do.
It is not clear whether he has access to his Avalonian equipment at present. In New Excalibur , Whitman was invited to join the team, but after the second adventure with them he refuses, as he believes that his Ebony Blade is not the real one and he needs to find the original. Whitman returned to join MI as part of the Secret Invasion crossover event.
Whitman also was revealed to have a literal stone heart, given to him by Sersi to keep him "above it all" and uninvolved. Whitman battled the Skrull forces in London , showing a new informal and wisecracking personality a deliberate defence against the "Ebony Blade's" suggestions , and quickly bonded with medic Faiza Hussain , with whom he appears to have romantic tensions. Following the Skrull war, he made her his squire.
After discovering that he did not have the real Ebony Blade, he went to Wakanda and was given the real Blade back. He still retains the fake, vampiric sword. During the events of Original Sin , a historian named Rebecca Stevens learned that Whitman had violently attacked and nearly killed a new version of Savage Steel due to the influence of the Ebony Blade.
Rebecca pleaded with him to turn over the sword to S. Despite his assurance that he was fine, his home was seen covered in slash marks, with Whitman himself curled up on the floor in a mentally unhinged state. He is also seen threatening to slay Rebecca with the Blade, but she remained unaware of the danger. Around this same time, Whitman returned to action as the leader of Euroforce, a team of European superheroes. Eventually, he is defeated and a truce is made: Rogers will take the Ebony Blade back to Earth and Whitman will be free to rule New Avalon.
However, Rogers is possessed by the Blade and attacks his teammates.
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After their defeat, Rogers and Doctor Voodoo agree that the only person who can bear the toll of the Ebony Blade is Whitman, and the Blade also shows this by not allowing any harm to come to Whitman. As the Avengers leave, leaving behind an expert on the Black Knight who came with them to look after Whitman, it is concluded that Whitman had been maintaining his sanity better than everyone had thought. Whitman concludes that for now ruling New Avalon is good, and the story ends on a light tone, Whitman not being persecuted as he has suffered enough under the Blade's spell.
Before he can slay them, he is attacked by Captain Marvel and the War Avengers. The Black Knight was originally a normal athletic human being with no superhuman powers. A photo taken during the STS mission claimed by some to show the Black Knight satellite is catalogued by NASA as a photo of space debris,  and space journalist James Oberg considers it as probable debris of a thermal blanket confirmed as lost during the mission. According to some UFO conspiracists, the Black Knight is an artificial satellite of extraterrestrial origin which has orbited Earth for approximately 13, years; the "satellite" story is most likely a conflation of several disconnected stories about various objects and their interpretations,  all of them well documented independently and none using the term "Black Knight" upon their first publication.