Avengers Spotlight #39

Issue Date: 
December 1990
Story Title: 
Cry Crusader!

Roy & Dann Thomas (writers), Greg Capullo (penciler), Tom Dzon (inker), Joe Rosen (letterer), Bob Sharen (colorist), Mark Gruenwald (editor), Tom DeFaclo (editor-in-chief)

Brief Description: 

The Black Knight interrupts a robbery down an alleyway where several thugs are attempting to rob a wealthy couple. However, when the police arrive, they don't arrest the thugs – instead, they place the Black Knight under arrest and drive him to the police station, where his Avengers' membership allows him some extra rights, like not having to reveal his identity, but some of the police officers do not treat him very well, and he is shown a photograph of the remains of two petty crooks who tried robbing a church – and they think he is responsible. He is forced too stand in a line-up, but the priest from the church is unable to verify that it was actually the Black Knight who he saw killing the crooks. The Black Knight is free to go when his companions Victoria Bentley and Sean Dolan arrive at the station. He isn't in the mood for talking though, and leaves on his winged horse. Returning to his caslte, the Black Knight decides he needs to find out who killed the crooks and clear his name. He talks about the curse of the Black Knight with Victoria and Sean, before he is informed of a visitor, a woman called Mrs Blackwood, and her daughter. The Black Knight meets with the woman, who tells him that she thinks her husband murdered those crooks – her husband being Arthur Blackwood, who calls himself the Crusader. She discusses how her religious husband has become a crusader against godlessness, and even encountered Thor, only now, he seems to have become even more determined to carry out his mission. The Black Knight thinks he knows who the Crusader might be after next, and instructs Victoria to drive Mrs Blackwood and her daughter to an airport, while the Black Knight and Sean travel on the winged horse, Valinor. The Black Knight's hunch was correct, as the Emir of Ghulistan arrives in the United States, the Crusader appears, calling him a saracen and demanding his death. The Crusader attacks the Emir, until the Black Knight arrives and the two swordsmen battle. The Black Knight tries to convince the Crusader that his “quest” is wrong. The Crusader eventually gets the better of the Black Knight and is able to chase after the Emir. But the Black Knight catches up to him and they struggle. Armed forces prepare to shoot at the Crusader, until Mrs Blackwood's daughter, his step-daughter, rushes out onto the tarmac and throws her arms around her father. This snaps him out of his mad crusade as the Black Knight suggests that he calmly surrender now, otherwise he will take him down in front of his daughter. The Crusader surrenders and shatters his sword and shield by throwing his sword at his shield. His wife embraces him before he is led away by the authorities. The Black Knight watches as the shattered remains of the sword and shield are swept away by the wind, as he decides that Arthur Blackwood was victorious today, by overcoming his fanatical tendencies that divide the world.


Full Summary: 

'You're lost, aren't you?' a man wearing a tuxedo asks from the back seat of a car, which has stopped at a red traffic light. 'Did you hear me, driver? I said you're lost, aren't you?' the man repeats himself, before the driver admits that he is. 'I didn't think this was the scenic route back to Arlington' the man remarks, while his wife, wrapped in a fur coat sitting next to him, mutters that she blames Charles – getting sick like that and forcing them to rent a chauffeur for the evening. 'Don't worry, lady - we'll see to it you get a cut rate!' a  gang member suddenly calls out as several of them set themselves around the car, and two reach through the driver's door and pull the driver out of his seat and onto a dirty street. 'Oh, my god!' the man utters, before his door is yanked open. He tells the gang members that they can have his money. 'Real generous of you, man!' one of the gang members tells him. 'Just don't hurt us!' the wealthy man pleads. 'You trying to bribe us, sucker?' another thug asks as he drags the woman onto the street. 'That's against the law, trying to bribe people!' the thug aiming a gun at the driver jokes.

'I'll just bet he believes in capital punishment, too!' one of the gang members suggests as he aims a gun at the couple. 'No – please!' the man pleads – but before the thug can open fire, something from above blasts him, melting his gun and talking off half of his skin with it. 'I think it came from -' another thug begins, looking up, where everyone sees a spectacular sight – the Black Knight riding his winged steed, Valinor, and moving down closer to them all. 'Armored dude – on a flying horse!' one of the thugs exclaims. 'Got to be one of them supes – like the Avengers or somebody!' one of them exclaims, while wondering what he is doing down here in Washington DC. 'Maybe I came to show you punks – what a real sawed-off shotgun looks like!' Dane Whitman the Black Knight snarls, gritting his teeth as he swoops down and slices the thug's shotgun with his sword.

'C'mon, let's show the tin man some heel!' one of the gang members suggests as three of them begin to make a run for it. 'Talked me into it' one of them agrees. The Black Knight orders his horse down, and tells himself that it would serve them right if he skewered the three of them, but decides that there is a kinder, gentler way. He remembers how he used to think his late uncle was a real cornball for dreaming up a gadget like this, but somehow, things have come full circle, and the lance-bola seems like the perfect weapon of choice. He raises the strange weapon and fires it at the fleeing gang members – the bola then wraps around them, tying them together and trapping them, causing them to drop to the street. 'Face it, homeboys – we just got dogged on!' one of the thugs mutters.

A police car arrives on scene, and an officer emerges from the vehicle, 'Well now, must be the day for trash collection' he jokes, walking towards the captured thugs. 'You have the right to remain silent -' one of the officers begins, while one of the thugs tells him to look, and points over to where the wealthy couple and their driver have gathered next to the Black Knight and Valinor. 'Thanks a million – Black Knight, right?' the driver smiles. 'I really wish you'd accept a small reward -' the wealthy man smiles, but the Black Knight tells him 'No tipping' and starts to climb back onto Valinor, before noticing one of the officers approach him. 'Yes, officer? You wanted to talk to me?' the Black Knight asks. 'Somebody does, anyway – down at the station!' the officer remarks as he snaps a pair of handcuffs down on Dane's wrists. 'What? Are you crazy? This guy just saved our tails, and you snap the cuffs on him?' the driver asks. 'Driver, I'm sure the officer knows what he's -' the wealthy woman begins, before the driver interrupts her, telling her to shut up, and that he's talking to the officer.

The Black Knight asks the officer what the charge is, but the officer just tells him that he will find out, and orders him to hand over his sword and his lance. 'Oh, and one more thing. You have the right to remain silent...' the officer begins as he reads the Black Knight his rights. When Dane is loaded into the back seat of the police car, the officer tells the officer driving the car, Al, that back-up is here, and that he can go. 'Hey, I just realized the funny I made when I read Sir Galahad here his mirandas. He's got the right to remain silent, see? “Silent Knight” Get it?' the officer jokes. 'Wonder where the heck his horse got to?' someone else asks, while Valinor hovers above the street.

Soon, the Black Knight stands in front of a processing desk at the police station. Other officers and men and women they have arrested are nearby, being led to cells or questioned. 'Name?' the desk sergeant asks. 'He's the Black Knight, Sarge. One of those Avengers guys. They've got branches all over, these days' the arresting officer explains. 'He means his real name, Wilson. Like Moe, Larry or Curly' another officer mutters. The Black Knight tells the officers that if they know the rules, then they will know his Avengers status prevents him being unmasked, unless convicted of a felony – and he hasn't even been accused of one yet. 'Smart-butt, huh? Well, then, maybe you're smart enough to tell us about – this!' one of the officers exclaims, holding a photo up in front of the Black Knight's face, depicting the remains of two petty, unarmed crooks who tried robbing a church an hour ago.

'Good Lord...' the Black Knight utters as he looks at their severed remains, before he puts his arms in front of his face when the officer snaps 'Don't give me that “Avengers status” bull! That mask comes off' as he tries to reach for the Black Knight's mask. 'Listen, I'm warning you -' the Black Knight begins, before a voice over the intercom announces that the Black Knight is to be brought to the line-up at once – in full costume. 'That means mask!' the Black Knight tells the officer. 'Okay, so you got a reprieve. But I'll be waiting!' the officer snarls.

Shortly, the Black Knight stands with four other men, who aren't wearing costumes, in a police line-up. From behind the window, an elderly priest remarks 'I don't know' as he stares at the line-up. 'I just... don't know'. Two plain clothes detectives are with him, one of them smokes on a cigar, as the priest admits that the Black Knight is wearing armor and a cape like the man who mutilated those hoodlums, but that man had a sword. 'So did this man, reverend' one of the detectives informs him. 'I see' the priest replies, before asking if it would be possible for him to say “I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish” the priest asks. 'Sure, why not? He's not going anywhere' the other detective supposes. A moment later, '“I testify against you this day that you” - I mean - “Ye shall surely perish”' the Black Knight states as instructed.

But the priest explains that it was so dark, and with the way the light was behind the killer, well, he still isn't sure. 'As I told you before, I really couldn't even say if he were masked or not' the priest adds. 'It was all over... in those few horrifying seconds... all that blood...' the priest utters. 'Well, that tears it, Joe!' the detective with the cigar tells his colleague. 'We just arrested a card-carrying Avenger – and the only case we got against him is that he was sporting a sword!' the cigar-smoking detective remarks. 'A sword he was last seen using on three gangers, in defense of an influential lobbyist and his wife. If you don't want to try holding him, the glory's all yours' he adds. 'Thanks a heap' Joe mutters. 'If you won't be needing me any longer...' the priest begins, and Joe tells him that they don't need him anymore tonight.

'Ye won't be needing the Knight any more, either!' a voice calls out as a woman wearing brown robes and a younger man in jeans a white shirt enter the room. 'I'll handle this, Sean' the woman whispers to the younger man, Sean Dolan, before she introduces herself as Victoria Bentley from the Washington branch of the Memorial Metaphysical Institute. 'Oh, yeah, Sir Lancelot claims he was with you and the kid down in Virginia at the time of the murders' Detective Joe states, hands on hips. 'Not “claims”. Was' Sean Dolan snaps. One of the detectives asks Victoria Bentley what makes her so sure it was him. 'Guess you know what he looks like with his armor off, huh?' he asks. Victoria doesn't respond to that remark and instead tells the detectives that they are wasting everyone's time, and if he is going to release the Black Knight, or whether she should phone for a contingent of fellow Avengers to rush here with attendant bad publicity.

Soon, 'Here's your lance, fella. Sword, too. Lab couldn't find any trace of blood on it' the officer who attempted to take the Black Knight's mask remarks. 'Hope you don't hold it against us that we had to bring you in' the officer adds. 'You can hope' the Black Knight replies. He leaves the police station to find Valinor waiting for him outside, while the officer tells the Black Knight that even he has to admit that he pretty much matches the description of the killer. 'And since that Arab bigwig's coming to town for talks with Bush, we can't afford to take any -' the officer remarks, but the Black Knight interrupts him, simply bidding him goodnight. The Black Knight takes to the air on Valinor, while informing Sean and Victoria that he will meet them back at the estate.

'Devil sweep me, Miz Victoria, but it's never before I've seen the master in so cold a fury!' Sean exclaims. 'Even when he was being possessed by the ghost of the first Black Knight from King Arthur's day, he was no whit grimmer' Sean adds, deciding that one has to pity the Black Knight. 'The person I pity is the real wolf in Knight's clothing – when Dane Whitman catches up with him!' Victoria declares. 'He's still packing us, Miz Victoria, when he could have reached home long before he could get here in your auto' Sean points out, but Victoria tells Sean that she doesn't think Dane wanted to arrive first, that he just wanted some time alone to think.

Soon, as Victoria and Sean drive across the drawbridge and through the gate of the castle-like estate, the Black Knight descends from above on Valinor. Catherwood, the butler, is waiting at the entrance and asks 'Pleasant evening, Master Dane?' to which Dane replies 'If Victoria didn't tell you, Catherwood – don't ask!' 'Er, no, Sir' Catherwood responds, before asking the Black Knight if he should take Valinor to the stable for the night. 'Sean can do that' Dane states as he climbs off Valinor. 'I know, Sir. But I have grown rather fond of your winged steed' Catherwood admits. Dane apologizes to Catherwood and admits that he is in a lousy mood. He turns to Victoria and thanks her for being his one phone call, to which Victoria tells him that she is happy to help. As Catherwood leads Valinor into the stable, Victoria and Sean follow the Black Knight, and Victoria asks him what his plans are now, and whether he has any idea who could have murdered the church-thieves. 'Not offhand' Dane frowns.

The trio enter the castle and walk down a corridor lined with several armors as Victoria remarks that she gets furious thinking of the police officers putting the Black Knight in a line-up with common criminals. 'Those officious policemen -' she begins, but Dane tells her that it made more sense than he would like to admit, and explains that besides the usual crime problems, security is tight because of the Emir of Ghulistan's due in DC any minute. 'A moderate mid-east leader's always ripe for an assassination attempt' the Black Knight remarks, supposing that he should thank heaven for small favors that he wasn't booked on suspicion of that, too, while he hurls his helmet to the ground as they enter a  room full of swords and other weapons. 'Your helmet'll be being dented, Master Dane!' Sean calls out. Dane asks Victoria if she thinks he should phone the Avengers again, mockingly remarking that he is sure they will want him to become an active member again.

Victoria tells Dane that he never really ceased being an Avenger, he merely turned into solid metal. 'Or have you forgotten?' she asks him. Black Knight looks at his sword, and remembers “The Dane Curse” as Dashiell Hammett might have called it. 'Well, at least that's over with for good – now that the spirit of my Arthurian ancestor resides in the Ebony Blade' the Black Knight explains. 'You are still in there, aren't you, Sir Percy of Scandia – Black Knight #1 – for all the good it did me!' Dane shouts, lashing out, he swipes his sword towards some nearby armor, knocking it over. 'If you were tired of that suit of armor, wouldn't it have been more sensible to sell it in a museum?' Victoria asks, pointing out that the upkeep on a transplanted English castle is expensive, or so she recalls. 'Master Dane's had a devil of a night, Miz Victoria' Sean remarks, but Dane tells Sean that Victoria is just trying to jar him out of his dark mood. 'And who knows? It just might have worked...if your mind's eye didn't keep seeing the mutilated faces and bodies of those murdered thieves?' Victoria states. 'You read me like a book, lady. But then, you always did' Dane replies.

Catherwood enters the room and informs Dane and Victoria that there is a Mrs Blackwood here with her young daughter, and that she said she wanted to see the Black Knight. 'What?' Victoria asks. Dane tells Catherwood that he will be right there, and informs Victoria that he left his address as the place the Knight stays when he is in the DC area. 'Not really a profound cover story for a man who refused to be unmasked by an overeager policeman, is it?' Victoria remarks as she and Catherwood follow Dane down a corridor. 'Oh, didn't I tell you? My secret identity may not exactly be the most important thing in my life... but I really hate being pushed around!' Dane declares.

A short moment later, 'You asked to see me, Mrs Blackwood?' Dane, wearing a mask over his face but carrying his helmet, remarks as he enters a living room, followed by Victoria and Catherwood. A fireplace glows as a woman sits on a sofa near it, her daughter with her. The Black Knight introduces Victoria Bentley and claims that she lives in another wing of Mr Whitman's manor, before asking Mrs Blackwood what he can do for her. 'Maybe...I can do something for you' Mrs Blackwood replies. 'And in return, maybe you can restore my sanity' she adds. 'Beg pardon?' the Black Knight asks. Tears in her eyes, Mrs Blackwood reveals that she rushed to the police station when the TV said he had been arrested for tose murders tonight, but by the time she got there, he had already been released. 'I managed a glimpse of the address you gave them, and I drove here with Jenny at breakneck speed' Mrs Blackwood announces. 'If you've got some light to shed on those killings, did you also tell the police?' the Black Knight asks. 'No! No – that's the last thing I want to do!' the woman responds, before revealing that the murderer is her husband! The Black Knight sits down next to Mrs Blackwood and suggests to her that she begin at the beginning, and asks Catherwood to get their guests something to drink. 'Madam?' Catherwood begins, while Mrs Blackwood's daughter, Jenny, looks up at him. 'No, I – I've got to -' Mrs Blackwood begins, while Victoria tells her to take her time.

'But there isn't any time – not if Arthur's to be stopped!' Mrs Blackwood declares, before she reveals that her husband used to be a divinity student in Chicago, but was dismissed for pressing the church to be more ruthless in fighting what he called “paganism” in today's world, and after having a religious vision over his father's grave, he woke to find his medieval ancestor's armor, and vowed to become a modern-day Crusader against godlessness. Mrs Blackwood reports that the first “pagan” her husband went after was that super hero called Thor. 'You two are in the Avengers together, aren't you?' she asks, before explaining that to Arthur, Thor's claim to be a Norse god was sheer blasphemy. They fought, and somehow, Arthur's sword managed to inflict what seemed like a fatal wound on Thor – so when Thor recovered, even shattered Arthur's sword – it shook Arthur's faith to its very foundations. Mrs Blackwood explains that Arthur fled, but slowly over the past few years, he had been regaining his faith, convincing himself that Satan must have helped that day, and recently, he managed to re-forge his ancestor's sword, and that was all that he needed to set him off again.

Mrs Blackwood tells the Black Knight that her husband is not well, that he has been raving about killing someone tomorrow – today – now, even, in the name of his warped belief, but she has no idea who. The Black Knight has sat silent, listening to Mrs Blackwood's story, beffore confirming that Thor told the Avengers about his battle with the Crusader, and asks if he is the one who slaughtered the thieves, couldn't they be the ones he had planned to kill. 'How would he have known for days that they'd be in that church tonight?' Mrs Blackwood asks, before utteriing 'No, it – it was someone else – someone he kept referring to as “The Saracen” - I suppose it could be almost anyone!' The Black Knight leaps to his feet and announces that it isn't “anyone” and he thinks he might just know who it is. He asks Victoria to drive Mrs Blackwood and her daughter to Dulles International. 'Of course' Victoria replies, while Jenny Blackwood asks 'Miz Bentley, is he going to help my daddy?' to which Victoria tells her that he is going to try.

Dane rushes off into the stable, where Sean is preparing to saddle Valinor. 'From your mouth to my feet, Sir Knight. You'll be taking me with you?' Sean asks. 'Where's a Knight be without his squire, Sean?' Dane replies, telling his young companion to hurry. Shortly, they are airborne, as Valinor flies from the castle, as Dane tells Sean that they may already be too late, while in a car driving below, Victoria Bentley asks Mrs Blackwood if her husband has any idea of what he is doing could affect his daughter. Mrs Blackwood reveals that Jenny is not Arthur's daughter, although he couldn't love her more if she were. She informs Victoria that they were only married two years ago, while a wide-eyed Jenny exclaims 'Look, Mommy! That man's riding on a flying horse with wings – right into where the sun's coming up!'

At the airport, a large plane has touched down, while security, police and media gather about. 'Everything going smoothly...keep it tight, security. Wish we could've kept this a secret, so we wouldn't have all these media people underfoot, but...' a security official remarks, before the red carpet is rolled out and the plane door opens. Vice President Dan Quayle is on the tarmac, waiting to greet the visitor, and the security official wonders if they are going to be hearing some more about “looking forward to the future or past to the back”. Camera crews aim their cameras at the plane door as the Emir of Ghulistan exits the plane. 'Another minute and he'll be safely in the limo on his way to -' one of the security officials begins, before they notice something happening, as an armored figure wearing a red tunic with a white cross and a purple cape rushes through the police officers, knocking them aside and shouting 'Death to the Saracen!'

The Emir of Ghulistan makes his way back into the plane as the Crusader climbs the staircase to the plane shouting 'Seek not to hide behind closed doors, heathen – for nothing shall keep you me from you!' The door is slammed shut, but the Crusader shoves his sword into the door and begins to slice it open. 'Not metal – nor missiles – nor minions!' the Crusader shouts as he knocks the Emir's guards aside. The Crusader holds his sword to the Emir's neck, while the Emir's family cower nearby. 'Now, sarcen – prepare to die!' the Crusader declares. 'Kill me – if you must – but spare my family!' the Emir pleads. 'No pagan will be spared the wrath of my good right arm!' The Emir looks horrofied, while the Black Knight shouts 'STOP IT!' as he rushes into the plane. 'Arthur Blackwood – I command you to lay down your sword!' the Black Knight exclaims. The Crusader frowns as he glances sideways and reveals that he has shed the name “Arthur Blackwood” as the serpent sheds its skin. 'Call me by it no more! Call me only – the Crusader!' he boasts as he swings around and slams his sword against the Black Knight's.

'Alright, so the tone of Arthurian outrage didn't work. Thought it might, since he's clearly crazy as an armored bedbug' Dane thinks to himself as their shields slam together. Dane decides that Arthur isn't crazy, more like possessed, maybe as much as he was when his ancestor's spirit took over the body of Dane Whitman. He knows that it is hard to fight defensively when the Crusader's sword is about as enchanted as his own Ebony Blade. 'Let us not close in combat as enemies, but join hands as fellow knights!' the Black Knight suggests to the Crusader, informing him that he is heir to the tradition of the Table Round. 'Base liar!' the Crusader thinks to himself as he takes a swing at the Black Knight with his sword, but his sword hits one of the overhead luggage compartments. 'No scion of the Table Round would protect a heathen from a warrior for the Lord!' the Crusader declares. Dane thinks to himself that he can file the Thomas Mallory bit under “W” for “Washout”.

'Now I do espy the truth – you are a pagan, like until the one called Thor who did proclaim himself a Viking god! My mission is to slay unrepentant pagans – even if they stride forth in knightly armor!' the Crusader boasts. The Black Knight holds the Crusader back and instructs the Emir to get his family out of the plane, fast. With Valinor standing atop the plane, the Emir hurries his family down the stairs towards the tarmac and utters 'That such a thing as this should happen is beyond all belief! Surely, after this, nothing I shall see could possibly surprise me!' the Emir adds. But inside the plane the Crusader informs the Black Knight that he has gained them but a moment's respite. 'I shall yet sheathe my sword in their verminous vitals – after I have dispatched you, false knight!' the Crusader shouts as he rushes at the black Knight, and throws him out the plane door. 'Either he really is possessed by the ghosts of his ancestors – or he's got the strength of a madman!' Dane thinks to himself, before he hits the ground, hard and drops his sword – he also thinks that he has hurt himself.


'Lo, un-believers! “I testify against you this day – that ye shall surely perish”!' the Crusader quotes as he rushes out of the plane, while the Emir and his family continue to run from him. 'You really like that quote, don't you?' the Black Knight asks as he trips the Crusader up. 'Biblical or not, I'm betting you've taken it a wee bit out of context!' the Black Knight adds, whil holding Crusader down as the Crusader slams his shield into the tarmac and asks 'You dare to question my faith? By the holy rood, I need neither sword nor shield to vouchsafe you – that the arm of the righteous is mighty still!' as he slams a fist into the Black Knight's face. Black Knight fights back, 'No matter what... I won't let you murder... anyone else!' he exclaims. 'Murder? Nay, speak rather of my sacred crusade!' the Crusader responds, boasting that his ancestor fought with King Richard in the Holy Land, and so he shall slay the Saracen when he comes to these blessed shores, and death to any who would seek to stay his hand.

'The Emir's safe! You gonna move in now?' a police officer nearby asks one of the security detail who appears to be using a sniper-rifle, aimed at the Crusader. 'No! That nutcase with the cross on his chest has already killed two men' another officer remarks, before asking what the sharpshooters are for.

'Yet, truly, Sir Knight, you are a man of courage. Vow to join my holy war – and I shall spare you!' the Crusader tells the Black Knight as he stands over him. 'I'll... die first!' the Black Knight responds. 'So be it! You have pronounced sentence upon yourself!' the Crusader exclaims.

The sharpshooter announces that they have the Crusader in sight. 'Ready... aim...' he begins, when suddenly, 'NO!' Mrs Blackwood shrieks, running towards the sharpshooter, she knocks him, sending his shot off-aim. 'Blast! She ruined my shot!' he mutters, as the bullet flies past the Crusader, who raises his sword overhead and tells the Black Knight 'Make peace with him who made thee!' and warns him that his helmet will not protect him – but before he can bring the sword down, Jenny Blackwood rushes out onto the tarmac, 'Daddy – don't!' she cries out. 'No...'Victoria utters as she watches from the crowd, while Mrs Blackwood cries out for her daughter. 'Jenny – get back!' the concerned Black Knight tells her. 'Daddy – I heard them say you killed two men! You didn't do it – I know you didn't – and you – you won't hurt me, will you?' Jenny asks, crying, as she steps between her father's sword and the Black Knight.

The Crusader lowers his sword and hugs his daughter, enabling the Black Knight to escape. 'Jenny!' Mrs Blackwood cries out as she rushes over, followed by Sean and Victoria. 'Arthur – let Jenny go, before she gets hurt!' she tells her husband. 'Listen to your wife, Blackwood. And you are Arthur Blackwood, not a Crusader!' the Black Knight declares. The Black Knight warns the Crusader that he will fight him as long as he has to, to stop him from killing again, and that when it is over, one of them is liable to be dead. 'You believe you've been on a crusade, Blackwood – a holy war – but there are no holy wars any more. Matter of fact – there never were! There were just wars!' The Black Knight continues, supposing that some good might have come out of them, he doesn't know. 'My Arthurian ancestor would have said he knew – but he'd have been wrong. No good can come from something so inherently evil as killing – no matter what you call it'.

The Black Knight tells Blackwood that the battle is over, to put down his sword, and not to make him raise his own again, not in front of his little girl. 'Please' the Black Knight asks. Arthur Blackwood turns around, to which the Black Knight warns him not to turn his back on him, when suddenly, Blackwood hurls his sword into his shield, shattering it. 'Jenny...I nearly killed Jenny' Blackwood utters. His wife wraps her arms around him, and he hugs her and Jenny back. 'You couldn't have hurt her, Arthur. I know you couldn't!' his wife exclaims. The Black Knight watches, and notes that Blackwood's sword and shield are both shattered – magic canceling magic.

Police officers arrive and one of them instructs the Black Knight to stand aside. 'Easy, officers, I think he'll come quietly now' the Black Knight tells them, while Victoria and Sean gather at his  side. 'Yes, I will' Blackwood announces. 'Arthur...' his wife begins, but Blackwood remarks that, as strange as it might seem, his faith is stronger because of what has happened – because the Black Knight was willing to fight for, and maybe die for, people whe didn't even know. 'After seeing that – how could I go on believing I'm the only one who has answers? Guess that's really what shook me out of my... craziness'. Blackwood hugs Jenny and tells her goodbye, that he has to go away now, but promises to come back as soon as he can. 'What'll be happening to him now?' Sean asks as he, Victoria and the Black Knight watch as Blackwood is led away, his family walking with him. 'I wish I could give you a happy answer, Sean' Victoria replies. 'There aren't always happy answers, Victoria' the Black Knight remarks.

'And yet, Arthur Blackwood won a great victory tonight... a victory over himself' the Black Knight points out, standing over the Crusader's shattered sword and shield. '... over a kind of fanaticism that divides the world into believers and unbelievers... and probably winds up making God ashamed of them both' the Black Knight concludes.

Characters Involved: 

Black Knight IV/Dane Whitman


Sean Dolan

Victoria Bentley




Crusader/Arthur Blackwood

Jenny Blackwood

Eleanor Blackwood


Gang members

Wealthy couple


Al, Joe, Wilson (all Metropolitan Police)


Men in lineup

Vice President Dan Quayle

Emir of Ghulistan and his family

Emir's guards

Security officials


in flashback images:

Crusader/Arthur Blackwood



Story Notes: 

The Black Knight most recently appeared in Black Knight (2nd series) #14, and following this issue he rejoins the Avengers in Avengers (1st series) #329.

Sean Dolan has previously appeared in Black Knight (2nd series) #2-4 and next appears in Avengers Annual (1st series) #22, where he has become the Bloodwraith.

Victoria Bentley is a longtime supporting character in Doctor Strange (1st series). She then appeared in Black Knight (2nd series) #1-4, before her appearance here. She returns in Avengers Annual (1st series) #22, before being killed in Avengers  (1st series) #366.

The Black Knight was turned into a statue in Thor (1st series) #400.

Crusader a.k.a. Arthur Blackwood has previously appeared in Thor (1st series) #330-331, and returns in Cage #17, where he resumes his crusade.

First and only appearances of Vice President Dan Quayle and Jenny and Eleanor Blackwood.

Only mention of the Asian nation of Ghulistan.

Written By: