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|Publisher||Atlas Comics/Marvel Comics|
|First appearance||Black Knight Comics #1 (May 1955)|
|Created by||Stan Lee|
|In story information|
|Type||Mystic item/artifact, Sword|
|Element of stories featuring||Black Knight|
The Ebony Blade was created by comic book writer Stan Lee in Black Knight Comics #1, published under Atlas Comics in 1955. Its history was later revealed in Marvel Super-Heroes #17 (November, 1968), written by Roy Thomas. The blade was shown to have been carved from a meteor, and enchanted by the wizard Merlin for Sir Percy of Scandia, the first Black Knight. Because of all the blood that Sir Percy shed with the blade, it acquired a curse. The sword passed down through the generations until it finally came to Dane Whitman, Sir Percy's descendant. Dane used the blade for many years. It passed briefly to Valkyrie when Dane's body was turned to stone, and his soul sent back in time to the 13th century, but was soon returned to him. Due to the curse, Dane eventually gave the Blade up. He drove it deep into the same meteor it was forged from, now residing in his castle. Only another deemed worthy would be able to withdraw it.
Sean Dolan, Dane's ex-squire, was able to draw the blade during an attack on Whitman's castle. This transformed Dolan into Bloodwraith. Dolan fought with the curse, and was able to give up the sword for a brief time. During this time, it was trapped in the Negative Zone barrier outside of Attilan. In the meantime, a second Ebony Blade had been brought into this dimension by Proctor, an alternate reality version of Dane. When Proctor was killed, his blade was taken into Avengers custody.
Dolan was drawn to this second Blade, and once again became Bloodwraith. Crystal retrieved the original Blade, and The Vision threatened to destroy it if Bloodwraith didn't surrender. Bloodwraith tossed the alternate Blade aside and reclaimed his own. Crystal picked up the second Blade and said it would be important to the future of the Inhumans. Bloodwraith was last known to have the Blade in his possession in Slorenia, where he was trapped by the Scarlet Witch.
At some point Dracula replaced Dane Whitman's blade with a fake one, the real Blade ended up in Iraq and was secured by the Vatican after it was found by Opus Dei in a purging of a vampire nest. The Vatican sent a new Black Knight assassin to kill Black Panther, who took it from the Knight for his own uses. Black Panther used the blade in several battles, including the Skrull invasion.
Powers and abilities
The Ebony Blade is a powerful enchanted weapon. It is said to be indestructible, and nothing in the comics to date has disproven that statement. It also has many mystical or quasi-mystical capabilities, including the ability to:
- cut through virtually any physical substance except other enchanted weapons or extremely strong metals like adamantium, even to the point that it has been shown capable of breaking through Iron Man's Extremis armor with one slash
- cut through mystical barriers
- deflect energy when angled correctly
- absorb all forms of energy, even the Promethean Flame
Dane Whitman discovered most of these abilities through scientific testing of the Blade.
Additionally, the Blade bonded to its wielder in such a way that the wielder can summon it back to himself or herself using a mystical ceremony if it is ever lost, even if it was in a different time period. The blade cannot be used against its owner, as seen when Caden Tar tries to use it to kill Dane Whitman, but cannot pierce his skin.
The Blade formerly rendered its wielder invulnerable to everything except another weapon carved from the same meteor, such as the Ebony Dagger.
Curses and influences
The Ebony Blade was afflicted with a blood curse due to all the blood the original Black Knight had spilled. Dane Whitman eventually purged the Blade of its curse at Doctor Strange's behest by plunging it into the Brazier of Truth while Strange bathed them both in magic fire. The curse returned, however, when the Sub-Mariner used it to kill his wife Marrina. The curse seems to affect different people in different ways. It turned Dane into a statue, it amplified Proctor's gann'josin-based powers, and it granted Sean Dolan great physical powers as Bloodwraith.
The Blade was sometimes known to subtly compel Dane to do things or go places that were tied to its previous wielders, as well.
Fake Ebony Blade
The sword has even managed to pop up in more than one place at a time, appearing in two separate comic series, most notability in 2006 when the Blade was in use by Dane Whitman (Black Knight) in the New Excalibur series whilst it was in use in a Black Panther ongoing by another Black Knight and subsequently Black Panther.
In a 2006 interview, when addressing a question about the confusion of the Ebony Blades appearing in two comics, Marvel Comics' editor Nick Lowe had this response:
The Black Knight in Black Panther wasn't ya' boy, Dane Whitman. It was an imposter who stole the sword from Dane. Now, since the imposter wasn't an idiot, he knew that if he outright stole the sword, Dane would come looking for it. So he replaced it with a different sword, so Dane didn't even know it was missing.
At the end of those issues no full explanation was given, Whitman was shown to have sensed that his Ebony Blade was not the real one and left to find the original, then being used by Black Panther. Though both Captain Britain and Pete Wisdom knew the location of the real blade, Whitman had somehow forgotten it was fake during his next comic appearance in Captain Britain and MI-13 #1.
Writer Paul Cornell finally revealed a full explanation within the Captain Britain series, having Dracula replace Dane Whitman's blade with a fake version at some point between Avengers (vol. 3) #37 and New Excalibur #10. This fake blade has a vampire fang within it, which has shown some signs of sentience as people have talked to the blade directly. This mystical sentience has acted in the same fashion as the original's curse; convincingly enough to fool Whitman. Even after Whitman first realized it was fake in New Excalibur, it affected his memories so that he forgot, meaning he thought he held the real one by the time of Captain Britain and MI-13.
Upon learning the blade was fake for a second time in issue 7 of that series, Whitman finally retrieved the real blade from Black Panther's Wakandan nation where he was presented it by Queen Ororo T'Challa.
- Defenders (vol. 1) #4
- Defenders (vol. 1) #11
- "Black Knight statue (Avengers, Defenders, Dr. Strange "character")". Marvunapp.com. Retrieved 2010-09-30.
- Avengers (vol. 1) #375
- Avengers Unplugged #6 (August 1996)
- Avengers (vol. 3) #37
- Captain Britain and MI13 #10
- Black Knight Vol. 4 Issue #5
- New Joe Friday's Week 26, Newsarama, December 12, 2006
- Black Panther vol. 4 22
- Captain Britain and MI-13 #7