Black Knight’s penultimate issue brings the action while doing far more to continue the series deconstruction and reconstruction of the lore surrounding the history of the knight and Camelot itself. Every page is just full of glorious beautiful emotionally brutal and honest artwork that sells every single moment. This is the type of Black Knight series that many fans have been waiting for.
From the very beginning Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade has made no secret of the fact that the book is ripping back the curtain to fully reveal every sordid and hidden detail in the history of the Black Knight and Camelot within the Marvel Universe. That mission doesn’t change with the fourth issue, in fact, it intensified to some pretty extreme levels.
Simon Spurrier, Sergio Davilla, Sean Parsons, Arif Prianto, and Cory Petit turn in another action-packed and dialogue-heavy issue that fires on all cylinders. Another thing this series has focused on a lot is the mental health of Dane Whitman/Black Knight and how broken and flawed the man is at this point. That struggle reaches a climax within this issue that is very well done but continues to be just as painful as everything else Dane has been through within these four issues.
As noted in previous reviews, the art from Davilla, Parsons, and Prianto continues to be perfect at capturing every emotion and motion that the story requires. Each issue has had darker and darker tones as the scope of the story has turned darker, the rage and darkness around Dane and his distant relation and antagonist Mordred, and this one is no different. Everything terrible that could happen befalls the trio of “heroes” in the form of Dane, the historian Jacks, and the monster hunting anti-hero of sorts Elsa Bloodstone.
There are some truly brutal pages here that the art team just sells, and it makes them even more painful not only for the fictional characters but for those of us following Dane’s story. As the reader you likely are hoping for the best for this man, he’s broken and flawed but he’s a hero at heart, and the creative team knows that and does all they can to rip at your heart along the way.
Also, there are a great number of full-page and double-page spreads about Camelot and the Black Knight lineage that are extraordinary. With the first issue review, I noted not being familiar with the members of this art team outside of Petit, but I’m definitely quite a fan of their work now and hope to see a lot more beyond the final issue of this series.
Petit keeps doing what he does with the letters making a large number of captions and dialogue and lore being dropped works around the art and never take away from the visuals. Petit is like many others now where his SFX isn’t just like a standard font or two, they mirror sort of the look of the sound in the sense of they take on the shape of something associated with the sound. Like one of the very brutal scenes where the SFX takes a bloody shape and color that just hammers home how brutal the moment is for the characters.
Spurrier’s use of a framing device that takes place beyond the main action of the story, with Dane once again using the therapist app from issue one, is a great move. It establishes the stakes quickly and allows for Dane to lay out the story beats as we’re watching them unfold. Giving us his confessional style running commentary.
Using this series to deconstruct and reconstruct everything about Camelot, Merlin, Arthur, the Black Knight, etc. was a brilliant but also brave move in a sort of way. Marvel has often used Camelot and its trappings, altered some to fit their world as they do to all myths and elements incorporated from the real world but doesn’t often go that deep these days. Turning everything that is known about a realm or a character is a risky move with fan bases, but when it’s pulled off in a way like this it’s worth every bit of risk.
Where the fifth issue is going seems almost clear when one first looks at it, but there is enough room and enough of a track record from Spurrier that nothing can be certain.
Black Knight: Curse of the Ebony Blade #4 is now on sale in print and digitally from Marvel Comics.