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Avengers #84: Review

Jan 1971
Roy Thomas, John Buscema

Story Name:

The Sword and the Sorceress

Review & Comments

Rating:
4 stars

Avengers #84 Review by (January 13, 2012)
Sentient weapons that try to control their owners are a feature of fantasy. Tolkien's Ring is probably the most famous. The most direct antecedent for the Ebony Blade is Elric of Melniboné's sword Stormbringer, the Stealer of Souls (which will enter the Marvel Universe in Conan the Barbarian #14 a year after this). Black Knight gained the Ebony Blade in Marvel Super-Heroes #17. The spirit of his ancestor Sir Percy of Scandia, the first Black Knight in Arthurian times, led him to it. Sir Percy told him it was forged by Merlin from meteorite metal. There was no hint then, and until now, that the sword was alive and evil. The original Black Knight had 5 issues of his own series in 1955. The meteorite origin of the sword appeared there, but I don't believe any evil sentience was mentioned. At some point it will be said that the blade became evil because of all the killing done by Sir Percy. Black Knight has helped the Avengers on and off since #47, and was made a member in his latest appearance in #71 (but only on call from England). Dane Whitman introduced his winged steed Aragorn in #48. It isn't the same winged horse his uncle Nathan Garrett rode as Black Knight. of course the name Aragorn is taken from Tolkien. Arkon asked Scarlet Witch to be his queen in #76. She rejected him then as now, although she felt something for him. Arkon's next plot will be to pit Earth, an alternate Earth and the Fifth Dimension against each other in nuclear war in Fantastic Four #160-163, to get more energy for his homeworld. Black Knight will be on hand at the beginning of next issue, but only because it continues directly from this one. His next real appearance will be in #100, which will feature everyone who's ever been an Avenger (so far). Enchantress will also be in #100, but before then she will crop up in Hulk #142, where she will reuse the Valkyrie identity from last issue.



 

Synopsis / Summary / Plot

Avengers #84 Synopsis by Rob Johnson

One night Scarlet Witch has a nightmare. She sees Black Knight trying to get rid of his Ebony Blade in the Well at the Center of Time. But the sword won't let him do it. Then he and his winged horse Aragorn are attacked by armoured men on winged beasts, and then by Arkon (from #75-76) who defeats him with one of his thunderbolt weapons.

Just in case it's not just a dream, Quicksilver phones Dane Whitman's castle in England, to find that the Knight is missing. Worried, the Avengers send Black Panther to find Thor, because they'll need his hammer Mjolnir to cross the dimensions to Arkon's world.

Meanwhile Black Knight is truly a captive of Arkon, who is accompanied by Enchantress, who vanished at the end of last issue when Wanda's hex caused a spell to rebound on her. Arkon accuses Black Knight of being a spy for the Avengers. Enchantress uses a kiss to compel Dane to explain why he was at the Well.

Whitman tells them how the Ebony Blade had almost made him kill some jewel thieves. He summoned the spirit of his ancestor the first Black Knight, who told him there was an evil power in the blade. To destroy it he must go to Stonehenge. There Dane met a witch who transported him to the Well.

Arkon doesn't believe him, and expects more Avengers to attack. It is obvious that Enchantress is subtly fuelling his rage.

Panther returns with Thor when the whole Avengers Mansion disappears, and a vision of Enchantress warns them to keep away. The mansion has been taken to Arkon's world where Goliath, Quicksilver, Scarlet Witch and Vision are subdued by Arkon's army and Enchantress. Her spells and Arkon's science keep them weakened. Wanda spurns Arkon's advances, and is sentenced to death with the rest of the Avengers.

Now Thor and Black Panther turn up. Thor takes on Arkon, his army and Black Knight (under Enchantress' spell), while Panther seeks out the prisoners. He finds them with their wills sapped. But he spurs Vision to break free, and the others follow.

The Avengers tackle the army, leaving Arkon and Black Knight to contend with Thor, who has lost Mjolnir and is about to revert to Don Blake. Scarlet Witch casts a hex at Arkon, which Enchantress counters. The effort Amora needs to stop Wanda means her control over Black Knight slips. BK draws Arkon off Thor, who retrieves his hammer in time.

Enchantress flees. Black Knight's sword meets one of Arkon's thunderbolts over the Well, and the Ebony Blade drops in and explodes. Arkon realises BK was telling the truth, and Enchantress lied to him (or worse). He calls off the battle, and the Avengers go home.


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John Buscema
Tom Palmer
?
Sal Buscema (Cover Penciler)
Sam Rosen (Cover Inker)
? (Cover Colorist)


Characters

Listed in Alphabetical Order.

Black Panther
Black Panther

(T'Challa)
Scarlet Witch
Scarlet Witch

(Wanda Maximoff)
Thor
Thor

(Odinson)

Plus: Arkon, Black Knight (Sir Percy of Scandia), Black Knight, Goliath (Clint Barton), Jarvis.