Thursday, August 11, 2016

Face-Off... Black Knight or Valkyrie?



Martinex1: This may seem like a strange comparison friends, but to avoid the the flat of my blade I inquire of you...the Black Knight or Valkyrie?   It is Face-Off time!  The Avenger or the Defender?    The Lady Liberator or the noble Knight?    They both had a flying steed named Aragorn - first it was his and then it was hers!  He handled the Ebony Blade.   She had a sword named Dragonfang.   Dane was not quite himself when his blade started to possess him.  Val was not quite herself as others like the Enchantress embodied her.   Valkyrie is from Asgard and the Black Knight is from England.  In the 90s he jumped from Marvel to Malibu and led Ultraforce.  In the 90s she had a horrible costume update and a one-shot story (but deserves so much more).  So hero or heroine, what do you say?  Take a gander below to jog your memory and set the tone for today's Face-Off!
















16 comments:

Anonymous said...

Val, of course…..she was the "Captain America" (& heart & soul) of the Defenders.

Redartz said...

An intriguing 'face-off' today, Martinex1. The Black Knight has a long history at Marvel, predating the "Marvel Age" by years. He is a pretty cool character, with a nicely dramatic costume (I do prefer the open-faced helmet, as opposed to the full-head version). That said, I must cast a vote for Valkyrie. Also possessing a sharp outfit (the 90's version you showed above notwithstanding). Always found her to be a fascinating character, particularly as she found her home in the Defenders. Really enjoyed what Steve Gerber did with her in his memorable run, but also loved her characterization in the Kraft era. One of Marvel's Bronze Age high points...

Rip Jagger said...

Love both characters, both holders of the Ebony Blade, but I give the nod to Dane Whitman, the Black Knight. As he combines the supernatural with super-science and operates in both the magical and superhero realms, I've long had him on my Top Five All-Time heroes listing. Valkyrie was fascinating in her early days, Gerber in particular seemed to know what to do with her. Later she became something else entirely and I rather lost interest.

Rip Off

Doug said...

Sadly, my opinions of Dane Whitman are colored by his actions near the conclusion of the Operation: Galactic Storm Mega Crossover Event Epic Because We Demanded (no, we didn't) It storyline. When he posited killing the Kree Supreme Intelligence, I could entertain that as an option. One must consider all possibilities, after all. But when Captain America spoke against the action, and Dane did it anyway, that really rubbed me the wrong way. So much so, in fact, that when the climactic scene in Man of Steel came across the screen, I was taken back to that scene in that Avengers (or whichever of six crossover titles it was) a couple of decades ago.

I do like Valkyrie, and don't want to give the nod to her just by default of the Black Knight. And her appearances in the first 3-4 years of the Defenders were solid -- those were some good, if quirky, comics. I am interested to see how she'll be played in the upcoming Thor: Ragnarok film.

Doug

Edo Bosnar said...

Val, definitely. She's a great character and a mainstay in Defenders as others have noted (although I think she shared the "heart & soul" status there with Kyle/Nighthawk). I like BK well enough, but he's just not as interesting to me as Val.

Karen said...

I love the Black Knight's costume, probably more than Valkyrie's original costume, which was the only one of hers I thought was worth a damn. They've both been intriguing at times. But I got tired of the mopey Knight caught in the love triangle with Crystal and Sersi. Val was always pretty stand up, but I don't know that her potential was ever really fulfilled. But I'll take Val by a hair.

I've always thought that super-heroes with swords don't make much sense though -well, they didn't back in the bronze age, when heroes didn't actually kill anyone. They always had to have swords with gimmicks, like ray blasts, or they'd have to yell out things like, "I'll stop you with the flat of my blade!" which makes you wonder why they would carry a sword in the first place.

Doug, Galactic Storm seemed like a hot mess in many ways (from what I recall) but I do remember that huge split between the characters, with Iron Man and Cap leading the two opposing groups. I've long thought that it was one of the precursors to Civil War. Like you, if Cap is telling me something is a bad idea, I'm probably going to listen!

david_b said...

Agreed on all previous comments on Valkyrie.., I just remember her best when I came in during the '73 team clash fighting Swordsman, some rich dialog there, it's a shame they never were rematched.

I got into Dane more during the '80s Avengers team. He was a solid, but frankly uninteresting team player, Give me the Englehart Swordsman any-day-of-the-week.

I'd stick with Val.

Dallan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dallan said...

I love the Black Knight more than any one person should be allowed... and yet, I love Val even more! The Defenders were such a huge shaper of my young mind, that I can't not give the nod to Valkyrie.

August 11, 2016 at 1:31 PM

Martinex1 said...

Thanks for the comments Dallan and all! I go back and forth on this. I think The Black Knight has a great costume and I grew up on his appearances in Avengers 62 battling the ice and fire giants alongside Dr Strange and Hawkeye. And in Avengers 71 challenging Kang and the Grandmaster in that classic's finale. I always liked him but he did start to take a strange turn in later tales including Galactic Storm and the Gatherers / Sersi tales mentioned above. I did find him on a slightly better track as the level headed leader of Ultraforce. It was interesting that they made him the star headliner. The art was 90s iffy but I did not mind the characterization.

Val has been hit or miss with me. In the early days I was turned off by her being somebody different all the time. ... Enchantress, Brunhilde, Barbara Norris, Samantha somebody, and I think one other person??? But I still give her the slight edge because she had a unique perspective. I struggle to find other characters who are quite like her. And even though she has much the same power set, tools, and accessories of the Black Knight her character is very different.

Anonymous said...

I'd have to go with Valkyrie as well, despite the "identity problems" that Martinex1 mentioned (which were frustrating, to say the least). But I always liked Val as a character, especially the friendship she had with Patsy. Black Knight always seemed a bit boring to me, and his later romance with Sersi felt kind of forced.

Mike Wilson

BobC said...

Not even close--Valkyrie all the way. Before Marvel decided to depower her over time(as they did with the Scarlet Witch, Black Panther and others) you guys might recall she fought both the Hulk and Namor to a standstill in one of the first Defenders issues. At the same time! She easily tore apart a huge machine and threw it at them, knocking both for a loop. That issue, where the Defenders were fighting The Omegatron, remains one of my all time favorite Bronze age comic books. It was fantastic seeing a female character hold her own against two of the strongest male heroes!! With another two issues or so Marvel did what they always did with female characters--depowered to the point where she was a big zero. Oh yeah, don't forget she delivered "a smashing right fist" to the Executioner in her debut in Defenders,again knocking one of Marvel's strongest for a loop. I prefer to keep thinking of her in her peak, but brief, form.

Anonymous said...

Hmm I'd pick Valkyrie, she was definitely the heart & soul of the Defenders along with Nighthawk as Anonymous and my pal Edo said. Like the Vision or Cap on the Avengers, when one mentions Valkyrie you immediately think of the Defenders. I think her early costume and characterization were the best; I've never seen that 90s version of her, but it looks horrid to me just from looking at that cover alone!


- Mike 'wait Valkyrie will be in Thor:Ragnarok? Cool!' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Dougie said...

Black Knight for me. I had a soft spot for him because he was resident in England. The 90s Avengers is post-Bronze Age, I think but I found his love triangle plot compelling. In fact,I think the Harras-Epting-Palmer era is more dramatic and groundbreaking than the Busiek/Perez era at the end of the decade. Controversy!

I liked Valkyrie in the Gerber era of Defenders but less and less afterwards. In more recent years, I think she's been portrayed as a generic Asgardian warrior-woman, which is only part of her make-up. Something of her potency was lost when Claremont made Mirage a "real" Valkyrie - a Chooser of the Slain.

Kenn said...

I agree with Karen about the whole sword-wielding super-heroes thing. It just really never worked for me. (You can assume correctly that I hate Wonder Woman opting for a sword when she has the Lasso of Truth!) That said, I have liked both Dane and Val at different points in their careers, but always wished that the Valkyrie that Gerber had brought into the Defenders might have wielded the energy-blasting spear and maybe the flying chariot of the Lady Liberator (Enchantress though she may have been), rather than the hand-me-downs of the Black Knight. And now she's slated to appear in the next Thor flick, and, thanks to casting, we will never see a representation that looks anything like the character as depicted in the comics. Maybe Dane Whitman can manage to get into one of the films or television shows? Surely an actual Defender from the comics might have a cameo in the Netflix Defenders series? Maybe Patsy (Trish) Walker will be the one.

César Hernández-Meraz said...

I like Dane because he is such a geeky boy. He is intelligent, brave and skillful, but still he gets all clumsy when he falls in love. I was also sad that he decided to go for the kill in Operation: Galactic Storm, but that was during a time when he and Sersi were written out of character (I like to think it was a consequence of that link they had and also of Proctor's presence, instead of just bad writing), so I can forgive him.

I have been thinking he would be great for the movies' universe. I hope he will be included someday.

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