Dane Whitman created by Roy Thomas and John Buscema in
Avengers #47 (Dec. 1967)
Dane Whitman is the nephew of Nathan Garrett, a descendant of
Sir Percy of Scandia who served in the Court of King Arthur as the
Black Knight, and was bestowed with a sword known as the Ebony
Blade, carved from a meteorite and only to be wielded by the most
honorable of knights
The sword then made its way to Nathan Garrett, who called
himself the Black Knight and used the Ebony Blade to commit crime -
on his deathbed, he renounced his life and told Dane to take up the
sword and restore the family legacy
After initially being mistaken for his villainous uncle, he
later joins the Avengers and the Defenders
While serving with the Avengers, he discovers the Ebony Blade
is cursed - the more blood is shed with it, the more its wielder
becomes insane - after battling Morgan le Fay and Mordred, Sir
Percy’s spirit merges with the blade, cancelling the curse
He then becomes romantically involved with Crystal and Sersi -
He is attracted to both, but in an effort to save Sersi from an
intergalactic illness, Dane is unwillingly bonded to Sersi in a
merger called the “Gann Josin” - the bond is broken during a battle
with alternate dimension versions of the Avengers, led by Proctor,
a Dane Whitman from another world who was rejected by his Sersi and
now travels the multiverse killing every version of her he can find
- a Watcher creates an alternate reality where Sersi can be free of
the curse, and Dane goes with her over guilt of his actions
Meanwhile, his squire Sean Dolan gets the Ebony Blade, and
becomes the villain known as Bloodwraith
Dane & Sersi are sent to the Ultraverse, home of Malibu Comics,
where Dane becomes the leader of Ultraforce - attempts to return
home, but ends up in the 12th century, where he battles Apocalypse
and the mutant who would become Exodus
Upon returning to the 616 universe and current time, he joins
Heroes for Hire for a period
After killing the villain Carnivore with the Ebony Blade, he
leaves for Weirdworld, but is followed shortly after by the
Avengers, who want to bring him to justice - Steve Rogers takes the
Blade from him, but it drives him mad, and only after battling a
possessed Steve and regaining control does the team realize Dane
has things more under control than believed
During King In Black, it’s revealed that the Ebony Blade is
actually an evil blade that amplifies the anger and insanity within
its wielder - Merlyn lied to Dane, who realized all the times that
he lost control were all his fault
Recently revealed he had a daughter, Jacks, who now shares the
mantle of Black Knight with him, because the two of them can split
the burden of the Ebony Blade so that neither handles the madness
Addicted to the Blade
Guilt over how much of his actions were his doing vs the blade
Legacy character - trying to undo the negativity of his uncle,
all while “failing” in his own way (27:53)
Plugs for BetterHelp, Bedknobs &
Broomflicks, and Philip Kennedy Johnson
In-universe - Bring in Kazuma Kuwabara from YuYu Hakusho, who
can manifest energy into a sword, and teach him to let go of the
Ebony Blade and focus on other things
Out of universe - (41:02)
DOC: Hello Dane, I’m Dr. Issues.
DANE WHITMAN: Hi Doc.
DOC: So what can I do for you?
SIR PERCY: Why do ye waste yer time with this fool? He cannot
comprehend the magnitude of yer burden.
DOC: Are you alright? You seem a bit… distant.
DW: Doc, schizophrenia is when you hear voices in your head,
DOC: Auditory hallucinations can be a symptom, although they’re
not exclusive to schizophrenia nor are they present in every case
of schizophrenia. What makes you bring that up?
SP: Go on, tell him. Tell him ye hear yer great-great-granda
talk to ye. Better yet, tell him ye can SEE me. Aye, that’ll
DW: *shut up*
DOC: I’m sorry, are you-
DW: No, not to you.
SP: Doin’ great so far.
DW: It’s my great-grandfather. Great… I don’t even know how
many times over.
SP: Greater than ye’ll ever be, at this rate.
DW: Let me start over. I have this sword.
SP: Oh sure, blame the sword. Not the sword’s fault yer a
foppish twit who’s in over ye head.
DW: *Keep it up, old man, and I’ll find a way to bring you back
to life just to cut your head off.*
DOC: Alright, I’m getting the idea that I’m definitely not the
only person you’re talking to here. Are you talking to the
DW: No, but the sword is the reason I’m talking to someone
DOC: Keep going.
SP: Aye, I cannae wait to hear how ye explain this.
DW: This sword is powerful.
SP: *sarcastic clap* bravo, hero. Are ye gonna tell ‘em it cuts
DOC: For you to put so much stock in it, I’m sure it is. How
does that connect to talking to someone else?
DW: If it weren’t for my kin, I wouldn’t have it.
DOC: Ah, a treasured heirloom...but more to it still, I’m
guessing. Any soldier
SP AND DW: KNIGHT
DOC: Sorry...any knight holds their weapon dear to them. You
don’t just keep it close, though. You’re staring at it.
SP: It’s better than lookin’ at his face. Ye know he’d see
through ye, right?
DW: He’s bonded with the sword...my ancestor...I know this
DOC: I’d never say that
SP: Cuz he’s blind to ye, lad.
DOC: Is there anything that keeps you distracted, so your
stress doesn’t overwhelm you?
DW: I don’t part with my duties. I have sworn to protect what’s
SP: Atta’ boy!
DOC: Sometimes being away from something you cherish can give a
person a fresh perspective.
DW: I’m uniquely qualified to handle this weapon. That’s not
the problem. It’s what happens when I let others get in my way
SP: So ye see now? He doesn’t know how special you are...WE
are. This is a gift, lad.
DOC: Nobody is put on the Earth to solely be your obstacle.
Only circumstances and personal choices ever do that. I actually
want to take this psychological journey WITH you, not against
DW: I’ve fought alongside many. I’m not paranoid. Just
DOC (subdued) AND SP (emphatic) : I can see that
DW: If my mind’s not right, I’ll lose control. Believe me,
nobody wants that.
SP: So take control
DOC: So let go a bit
DW: *clearly confused* what?
SP: This ward of potions wants to weaken ye, too soft.
DOC: You're going to have to...I don’t know...ration out or
delegate your responsibilities. That’s a tough thing to do in the
short term, but you’ll be able to redouble your efforts if you give
yourself time to rest. Plus, the fact that you’re STILL staring at
that sword concerns me.
DW: (somber) Tell me, doctor...do you think a man can do good
things with dark intentions?
SP: What are ye on about?
DOC: I don’t pretend to know the answer to hypotheticals
DW: It’s NOT hypothetical. *frustrated groan* This
sword...feeds off of some things that I’d rather not talk about,
not even to a psychiatrist. When it works...oh MAN does it work. I
can slay any enemy. I can save people. But when things go
bad...like I said, let’s not talk about it.
DOC: Well, that’s kind of my thing, sooooo
SP: Keep going and someone who would not be considered worthy
of the court will know more than some of the sorcerers in my
DW: I...can’t. The point is, I don’t want to go nuts. I don’t
need to be labeled insane. I have a lot of wrongs to right. Not
just for me...for anybody who ever held this sword. My
family. Does that part make sense?
SP: Ye see? You only need yerself, and that sword. I can still
DOC: From everything you’ve told me, I want to make an
alliance. It’s my own oath to help that compels me to make sure you
remain fit to wield that thing. A combination of talk therapy along
with medication management
SP: *interrupting* No apothecaries
DW: I...have a bit of trouble with that last part.
DOC: You, or someone else?
SP: HE CANNAE KNOW THAT!
DW: I’d rather not say
DOC: I’ll let you in on something...your delays in responses
are a giveaway that you have what we call internal stimuli. I’m not
trying to judge that. But if you have to hesitate like that when
there are life and death decisions to be made, and even if they’re
distracting you with positive ideas, you’re going to falter. I see
it all the time. And if you don’t take charge of this right now,
then one of your fellow heroes or friends or family will try to
protect you by whatever means necessary. It doesn’t have to get to
SP: Aye, he means well, but he doesn’t know our kind.
DW: *pause* You don’t make this easy
DOC: Nothing over a sword ever is, right?
Recommended reading: 2015 Black Knight solo series
Saving the world doesn't necessarily mean you go home happy. How's the mental health of your favorite superhero? A comic aficionado and a board-certified psychiatrist look at the various neuroses of your favorite heroes and villains and provide options for treatment.