Wednesday, July 7, 2010

BLACK KNIGHT: EXODUS #1 - December 1996

The Bond

Credits: Ben Raab (writer), Jimmy Cheung (penciler), Andy Lanning (inker), Richard Starkings & Comicraft (letters), Tom Zuiko (colors)

Summary: A time warp sends Black Knight and Sersi to the Middle Ages. Black Knight overtakes the body of his ancestor Sir Eobar Garrington, who is traveling to Akkaba with fellow knight Bennett du Paris. Paris hopes to uncover an ancient power there. The knights try to exploit Sersi’s powers, but Garrington defends her. Garrington’s decision creates a rift with Paris, who soon discovers one of Apocalypse’s minions in the desert. Apocalypse unlocks Paris’ potential and transforms him into Exodus. Meanwhile, Sersi convinces Garrington to release his soul and allow the Black Knight to overtake his body. With his memories restored, Black Knight recognizes Exodus as a villain when they meet again. Apocalypse tests Exodus in a fight with Black Knight and Sersi, but Exodus refuses to kill them. Apocalypse retaliates by placing Exodus in a cocoon. Black Knight eventually finds Exodus’ body in the Swiss Alps. His fellow knights promise to safeguard the body.

Continuity Notes: According to this issue, this is the second time Black Knight traveled through time and overtook his ancestor Garrington’s body. He recognized Exodus in Uncanny X-Men #307 based on Garrington’s memories from his first time travel adventure. Why exactly Black Knight overtakes someone’s body and Sersi keeps her own isn’t clear. The issue ends with a scene that’s supposed to mirror the opening from Cable #30. The context is very different though, as Cable #30 heavily suggested that Black Knight and his knights were arriving to kill Exodus, and now we learn that they’re there to protect him. Sersi is also in this scene, but she wasn’t in Cable #30 (unless we’re to believe she’s one of the background knights).

Review: This might star two of the Avengers, but I’ll count it as an X-book since it came from editor Kelly Corvese’s office, and it resolves some mysteries from the X-titles. Apocalypse is retroactively attached to another character, as we learn that he’s responsible for unlocking Exodus’ powers. I’m not sure what exactly this was supposed to add to Exodus as a character, but the X-books seemed determined to add Apocalypse to virtually everyone’s backstory in the ‘90s. I assume this one-shot was at least partially motivated by a desire to keep Exodus’ continuity straight and resolve some of the vague hints about his past. The story doesn’t exactly match the spirit of Cable #30, but the argument could be made that Raab isn’t contradicting that story; he’s just adding a twist to what we thought we knew. As for Black Knight’s recognition of Exodus in Uncanny X-Men #307, which many fans have cited as a continuity error, that depends. Was Black Knight’s first time travel adventure before UXM #307? If so, it fits (even though Paris wasn’t “Exodus” when Garrington knew him, he’s still recognizable as the same person). A footnote pointing towards Black Knight’s first experience in Garrington’s body would’ve been nice. The actual content of the story is a mixed bag. Cheung’s still doing a scratchy Image/manga pastiche here, and while it works on a few pages, the issue as a whole isn’t impressive. Raab at least seems to have some idea on how to tie Exodus’ continuity with Black Knight’s, but the stiff “Now begone from here!” dialogue is tiresome.


Matt said...

I always thought Bob Harras should've written this story, since he was the X-Men editor for many years, and the writer who made Black Knight the most interesting he'd ever been in Avengers. I think he created the Black Knight/Sersi relationship, too, and he was still writing Avengers during "Bloodties", when Black Knight recognized Exodus. It really seems like he would've been a perfect fit. But I guess he was busy being editor-in-chief by this point.

The Estate of Tim O'Neil said...

I have always believed Exodus was a much, much better character - or at least has always held a great deal more potential - than anyone gives him credit for. This was touched on a little bit recently in Carey's Legacy, but I believe someone someday is going to grab the character and do something cool with him.

Brooke and Scott Church said...

Funny thing is I just found this issue about 3 months ago when I bought someones collection. I never had even heard of it.

I love that your doing this with the random X Books that were put out at the time. I have to make sure I have all of these (So far I've had everything reviewed).

It gives us a good look at all the crap they were just pushing out.

Rob Bartlett said...

I gotta say, I never cared much for Black Knight. When you're an Iron Man Clone, a Captain America Clone, a Captain Marvel Clone, and a Gambit Clone, you really have no conceptual center.

ray swift said...

And the question that needed to be ask: What Exodus did from the first time we had seen him that will justify our interest him enough for this one-shot to be born into the world?
Except greed, that is.

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