Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Dark Knight, Shining Knight, Atomic Knights, the Knight...I'm sure he's on here somewhere...

It's easier to recap someone's origin in one panel if you leave things like 'reincarnation of Hawkman' out.  Just sayin'.Further down the list of 'Knight' characters at DC comes the Silent Knight. Created by Robert Kanigher and Irv Novick, the Silent Knight first appeared in Brave and the Bold #1 in 1955; and was part of a stable of medieval adventurers including Robin Hood and the Viking Prince. While barely a footnote today, Hawkman fans may remember the Silent Knight as another past life of Carter Hall, which insures that he (and probably his girlfriend) died a bloody, pointless death. Yay!

That said, this story is damn funny.

Brian of Greystone is the meek, unassuming alter ego of the Silent Knight. As typical of the time, he's fighting for the girl, in direct competition with his own alter ego, like Superman or Green Lantern were back then. Object of his affection Lady Celia gently gives Brian the brushoff, so she can give the Silent Knight her scarf before the tournament.
Now, there's probably like two other guys in his country with his build, and one of them has Tourettes, so you can see why he has to zip the lip.
Of course, 'ruffians' meet Celia in the forest, to separate her from her jewels; and Brian arrives as the Silent Knight to save the day. Why is he the Silent Knight? Committment to a bit. Even wearing a full-face metal helmet, Brian was afraid his voice would be recognized if he spoke, which makes me imagine him as sounding like the Squeaky-Voiced Teen from the Simpsons.

True to his chivalrous code, the Knight sets aside his lance, since it would give him an 'unfair' advantage over the ruffians. Then he simply pummels them. Celia longs to hear the voice of her hero, which is kind of jumping to the conclusion that the Silent Knight can talk at all. Let me tell you about another unstoppable masked badass that never spoke; his name was Jason Voorhees.

It would explain why he keeps the mask on around you, Celia.

The couple makes their way to Camelot, where peasant and King Arthur alike put the smart money on the Silent Knight to take the tournament. But, a surprise awaits: sorceress Morgan le Fey, who arrives with a champion of her own. I would've sworn it was "Morgana" rather than Morgan, but that's just because I'm used to the Marvel version. This version seems if not less evil, more civil, and less slutty.
This is the weirdest Betty and Veronica ever.
As the tournament goes on, both the Silent Knight and Morgan's unnamed champion are plowing through their competition, until it comes down to them in the final match. Morgan boasts that S.K. is going down, prompting Celia to put the Knight's ass where her mouth, that's an unfortunate phrasing, but leave it: Celia bets the Knight's services on the match.

Unaware that he's on the verge of being traded like a carton of smokes, the Knight begins his joust, which goes remarkably badly, and he is unhorsed. Down to his sword, he struggles against Morgan's champion (who does not come off his horse, which is a bit unsporting) until the champion breaks the Knight's sword. Beaten, Silent Knight can only watch as the champion 'unmasks':
I...I was beat by two midgets in a suit?
Morgan may have won by sorcery, but she has won, and now the Silent Knight is hers, to do with as she will.
Seriously, throw in Reggie cockblocking Archie somehow and a Jughead cameo, and this'd be an Archie digest.
Still, Morgan's not going to be a bitch about it, or make the Knight do anything creepy and weird: he just has to run a few chores for her, in the middle of the night, several miles away: bringing back an apple. As usual, it's a golden apple guarded by a dragon, but the lady asked nicely. Although, now that I think of it, giving a sorceress like Morgan a golden apple is probably like selling plutonium to terrorists. Celia sees the Knight return and give Morgan the apple, and is pissed.

Morgan agrees to release the Knight from service, if he'll do just one more little thing: fish a necklace out of a lake. The lake is described as "half a league to the south," and I looked it up: a league was about 3 miles, which makes me wonder why no one else had found these things. The Knight seems pretty confident going into this one, considering he jumps into said lake, in the middle of the night, wearing his full suit of armor and helmet. How in the hell he can see out of that helmet underwater is a mystery, a bigger mystery than the giant sword-wielding hand sticking out of the lake.

Silent Knight duels with the hand, until it's struck by lightning...which, even though he threw his sword to knock the giant sword into the lightning (?), probably would've electrocuted a guy covered in metal in a lake in a thunderstorm. The Knight effortlessly picks up the necklace from the bottom of the lake, which is kind of impressive, since again, middle of the night, full armor, no lights, at least twenty feet down...that's not the fun part, though.

Returning to Camelot, our "tireless knight" no doubt soggy and reeking of ozone, the Knight gives Morgan the pearl necklace (please, no jokes), earning himself his freedom, a kiss on the helmet from Morgan (that's literal, no jokes there either), and upwards of six hours of nonstop verbal beatdown from Celia. Probably wishing he was the Deaf Knight right about now...
Oh, I've been there man.  I have been there...
I tried to tell my wife about this one while she was watching So You Think You Can Dance, and as expected, she said she wished I was the Silent Knight.

In other news, this might be the bulk of my posting for this week: the wife is getting better, the Oldest is well enough to demand Burger King since I brought home some of the Fantastic Four toys (pretty nice, all told), and the Youngest is craftily licking every piece of silverware in the house so I don't miss out on intestinal cramping. Thoughtful little guy...Youngest was sick on himself last night, so I'm hoping he's about put this one behind him.

I still have one more thing I'm hoping to finish tomorrow, but we'll see.

Origin panel art from Trevor Von Eeden and Larry Mahlstedt, text by Mike Barr, from DC Blue Ribbon Digest #26, which also reprinted "The Sword in the Lake!" A title having absolutely nothing to do with Arthurian legend, oddly enough, written by Bob Kanigher, art by Irv Novick.

1 comment:

SallyP said...

He goes diving into a lake wearing FULL ARMOR? I MUST find this. It sounds like a Monty Python sketch!