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Black Knight (Nathan Garrett) over a white background

Black Knight

(Nathan Garrett)


Power Level:
Game system: DC Heroes Role-Playing Game
“Do you like unusual powerful super-villains ? We know you do !! That’s why we’ll bet you’re gonna flip when… ‘the BLACK KNIGHT STRIKES !’”
(Cover caption, Tales to Astonish #52).

Context

The Black Knights in super-hero universes are so innumerable that I’ve lost count. That’s how numerous they are. But *this* Black Knight is the one who appeared in the Marvel Universe in 1964, as an enemy of the early Avengers. He uses an arsenal of technological gadgets and has a flying horse.

This Black Knight was later revealed to have ties both to Marvel’s 1950s Black Knight (though they were Atlas Publishing back then), before passing on the Black Knight identity to his nephew, the heroic Black Knight (Dane Whitman) who would join the Avengers.


Background

  • Real Name: Professor Nathaniel Garrett.
  • Marital Status: Single.
  • Known Relatives: Dane Whitman (Black Knight III, nephew), sir Percy of Scandia (Black Knight I, ancestor, deceased), Lady Rosamund (ancestor, deceased), Eobar Carrington (ancestor, deceased), unnamed sister (deceased).
  • Group Affiliation: Masters of Evil I ; post-mortem : possibly Legion of the Unliving III.
  • Base Of Operations: Mobile.
  • Height: 6’ Weight: 195 lbs.
  • Eyes: Blue Hair: Black


Powers and Abilities

Garrett was a scientific genius. He was comfortable with both traditional engineering and genetic engineering despite being chiefly known as a biologist.

A man of many talents, he quickly trained himself to become a solid equestrian and knight. He deftly handled the special lance he had designed and built. He also trained as an athlete, becoming strong and agile.

Power Lance

As the Black Knight, his main weapon was his Power Lance. The Lance looked more or less like a short jousting lance. It packed a number of weapon systems in its frame. Offensive capabilities originally included :

  • A heat beam (also described as an acetylene torch). It could melt a large hole into the side of an armoured money transport within seconds. Given enough time it could cut through two feet of solid steel.
  • A set of three bolo balls with super-strong steel cable (and some sort of launcher).
  • A “.45 machine gun” in the control handle.

Black Knight (Nathan Garrett) attacks an armored truck

Later developments for the Power Lance included :

  • A quad-barelled ionic cannon.
  • A launcher — apparently a magnetic cannon — which could be loaded with large cartridges such as :
    • Micro-rockets, often fired in volleys.
    • The “Wrapper”, an ensnaring projectile that looked like four steel tentacles.
    • A metallic lasso.
    • Red-hot spinning buzz-saw blades (!).
    • A cluster of a dozen doughnut-shaped and -sized pods draining electricity from the target’s systems. These were magnetically guided to their target, and thus an excellent weapon to take out Iron Man.
    • An air-to-air expandable buzz-saw blade. This unique weapon was a spinning, barbed disk shot out of the lance and expanding as it flew through the air, becoming gigantic and spinning increasingly quickly. It was chiefly an anti-aircraft weapon.

Other gear

The Black Knight also packed ancillary weapons –

  • a revolver-shaped paralyser pistol that could freeze living beings in mid-movement.
  • an improbable “itch ray” (yes, really), a compact pistol kept in a leg holster.
  • a stun ray that proved potent enough to stun Thor when used at point blank (also a compact pistol in leg holster for quick access).
  • a “dissolvo-ray” (looking like a red 50’s sci-fi raygun) in a saddle bag.

The Knight also wears medieval-style chain mail. This suit of high-quality, lightweight metal seems to be very-well padded and is said to be insulated. The helmet has a mirrored visor. The Knight once used this visor to blind Giant-Man by reflecting the sun behind his target right in Pym’s eyes.

The Knight also invented a hologram machine. It projected realistic images of himself to have Iron Man waste his power reserves on phantoms. It was a large machine requiring a lot of power, though.

Black horse in the cherry tree

Garrett’s mighty, black, flying, winged horse is his greatest achievement. Not only can it fly, but it’s damn fast and can go pretty high. The horse seems to have full warhorse training (loud noises do not startle it, it will attempt to throw off somebody trying to commandeer it, etc.).

It is remarkably smart and loyal. The horse once busted its rider out of prison (!) which may mean super-equine intelligence.

Unliving knight

When he came back with the Legion of the Unliving, the zombie Black Knight seemed about equal to his living self. He did not have any weapons (but sported decaying chain mail armour), and could keep fighting until its body was thoroughly destroyed.


History

Professor Garrett was a famous American research scientist of British ancestry. He had been awarded high honours as a biologist. He apparently studied in Oxford and spent his early decades in England.

In the UK he learned that he was of the lineage of Scandia, an ancient British family best known for Sir Percy of Scandia. Back in the times of King Arthur, Sir Percy was Merlin’s secret agent as the famed Black Knight.

A spell cast by Merlin made sure that Sir Percy’s wraith would be able to call on his male descendants if the evil Mordred returned. The ghost would inspire them to wield his legendary Ebony Blade and to become the new Black Knight.

Though it is not clear, it would seem that Garrett was called to the Garrett castle in the English countryside. The scientist found the secret basement, and was faced by the wraith of Sir Percy clad as the original Dark Knight. Professor Garrett, however, could not draw the Ebony Blade from its holding place, and left in shame.

Under the bed

During the early 1960s Garrett became a Communist collaborator, selling science secrets to the East. His greed had always exceeded his patriotism, and it is possible that his bitterness over being judged unworthy of the sword of his ancestors played a role. Another hypothesis is that he became a Communist sympathiser whilst studying in Oxford.

During the early 1960s Giant Man (Dr. Pym), back then an anti-Communist crusader, caught Garrett with Red Chinese agents. The professor was jailed. The Soviets paid the enormous bail so he wouldn’t talk, and he was flown to what I presume is now Slovenia .

Black Knight (Nathan Garrett) vs. Giant-Man (Henry Pym)

Bored senseless in some Alpine village, Garrett noticed a statue of Pegasus. Thus did he decide that it would be cool to create a living, flying winged horse. Succeeding, he gleefully created the identity and gear of an evil knight to go along with his genetically engineered chimera. The rogue scientist eventually returned to the US to become a robber and a bandit.

In 1964 he staged an encounter with Giant-Man. Garrett used Pym’s impulsive nature to have him end up dangling from an experimental helicopter. Revealing that he was Garrett and out for revenge, he did his best but could not defeat Giant-Man.

This was due to his opponent’s unexpected ability to shrink to the size of a ant – and then the arrival of the Wasp (Janet van Dyne). The Knight had to flee.

Masters of Evil

The Black Knight, the Melter (Bruno Horgan) and the Radioactive Man (Chen Lu) were soon recruited by Baron Heinrich Zemo for his revenge scheme against the recently-returned Captain America. The henchmen were there to hold off the rest of the Avengers, whom they had previously fought on an individual basis.

Black Knight (Nathan Garrett) spreading glue over Manhattan

The Black Knight struck first. He flew across New York City while spraying large quantities of Adhesive X to bring the city to a halt. The first clash was inconclusive. When Zemo’s so-called Masters of Evil attacked anew, the Avengers switched enemies. The ever-unlucky Black Knight ended up facing Thor. Though he kept the thunder god occupied for a while, he was defeated.

However, Garrett’s surprisingly intelligent steed somehow managed to find him in prison (!). It then flew close enough to Garrett’s cell for its master to reach a saddle bag. Within seconds, the rogue researcher was flying away on horseback. The Knight soon reequipped himself, and decided to take his revenge on the Avengers.

Die die Iron Man

Knowing that Iron Man worked for Tony Stark, he attacked Stark Enterprises. Though he was using his new launcher and a powerful energy cannon built into his lance, he found that many of his weapons were ineffective against the armoured champion.

However, his doughnut-shaped electricity-draining cluster projectiles emptied much of Iron Man’s power reserves. Nevertheless, the Knight was unhorsed and captured.

In prison, Garrett was eventually reunited with the Melter. They were both given their gear back and put into a special cell, so their equipment could be studied by visiting scientists. Zemo sent his new allies, the Enchantress and the Executioner, to free them.

The four criminals attacked the Avengers in New York City. Meanwhile Zemo was busy with Captain America in Latin America, a battle during which the Nazi was accidentally killed. The mighty Thor took the Black Knight and the Melter to another dimension, where they were soon defeated.

Garrett was apparently soon free again, but only to fall prey to Doctor Doom’s technology. He was among the score of villains who attacked New York City during the wedding of Sue Storm and Reed Richards, drawn there by a mind control beacon.

The fall

In 1968, to have his revenge, the Knight captured Iron Man’s friend Happy Hogan. He took him to a British castle rebuilt 30 miles out of Washington, D.C. to lay an ambush. A lucky shot weakened Iron Man early during the battle, and a ploy using holograms of himself also worked well. But the Invincible Iron Man nevertheless prevailed after playing possum.

Using the last of his transistorised strength, he unhorsed the Knight as the villain was about to throw him from a great height. Both men fell. Iron Man used the last of his power to angle for a small river, but the less well-armoured Black Knight only managed to hit some branches to slow his fall into the woods.

Black Knight (Nathan Garrett) testing his lance

Professor Garrett was gravely wounded. Though he managed to drag himself to a nearly empty farmhouse, he realised that he was about to die. He called his only relative, his nephew Dr. Dane Whitman. Garrett confessed everything to his nephew, and asked him to redeem the identity of the Black Knight before he passed away.

Whitman swore to do so. He would soon use his uncle’s flying horse and other technological achievements to become the new, heroic Black Knight.

Post-mortem

Decades after his death, the Black Knight was seemingly reanimated by the Grim Reaper. The Reaper chose Garrett as his Legion of the Unliving was made up of foes killed whilst clashing with the Avengers – Baron Heinrich Zemo, the Red Guardian (Shostakov), Nebulon, the vampire Amenhotep, Inferno (Conroy), Count Nefaria, the alien Star-Stalker and Necrodamus.

However, some of those people have since been proven to never have died. Also, the tabard Nathan Garrett’s supposed zombie was wearing was wrong; The supposed revenant told his successor Whitman that he repudiated him.

This Legion of the Unliving eventually turned against the Reaper. They torn him to pieces for ripping them away from their oblivion, then disappeared.


Description

See illustration.


Personality

Originally he’s just a somewhat grandiloquent villain out for money and revenge.

During the second half of his career he starts gaining a sliver of characterisation. The Black Knight seems to be into role-playing of a kind, and to be big on the whole ’evil knight‘ image. Thus, he goes out of his way to find authentic castles in a moonlit forest, set dastardly traps, utter haughty threats, etc.

Though he’s still chiefly driven by profit, getting to be in character and to operate in appropriate places and circumstances also seems to be a big draw.

One imagines that Garrett’s choice to be a greedy bad guy came from the humiliation of not being able to draw the Ebony Blade. I would guess he was crushed by not being judged worthy by the enchantments holding the blade, and decided that he would eventually become some kind of new Mordred if he could not be the new Black Knight.

Creating a winged horse is likely what led him to click into his role.


Quotes

“I have always believed that anything is possible — anything, as long as a man has enough talent ! I knew it could be done, once I found the key ! By injecting portions of an eagle’s blood cells into a stallion… I’ve achieved the impossible !”

“Let’s see what good your giant size will do when you feel the bite of my flying bolo balls !”

“Bah ! I have no need to re-load ! I still have weapons enough to deal with you !”

“Here it is ! The Avenger’s rocket hunter plane ! A fitting target for my invincible lance !”

“I — I know I was wrong, boy ! But it’s too late for me now ! But it’s not too late — for you ! You must swear to use my research for good… as I used them for evil !”


DC Universe History

Nathan might have been lured to Terror Castle by Dzamor, much in the manner June Moone became the Enchantress? Like June, instead of becoming a superhero various thwartings of Nathan’s activities led him to become a supervillain.


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Game Stats — DC Heroes RPG Print Friendly

Tell me more about the game stats

Black Knight

Dex: 04 Str: 03 Bod: 03 Motivation: Mercenary
Int: 06 Wil: 06 Min: 04 Occupation: Criminal
Inf: 05 Aur: 04 Spi: 03 Resources {or Wealth}: 005
Init: 015 HP: 020

Skills:
Animal handling (Horses): 04, Gadgetry: 08, Scientist (Drawing plans): 08, Weaponry (Firearms, Power lance): 07

Advantages:
Genius, Pet (his winged horse).

Connections:
None.

Drawbacks:
Unluck, MIA toward Boasting.

Equipment:

  • BODY ARMOUR [/BODY/ 07, Flash: 09, Shade: 03, Skin armour: 02, Limitation: Skin armour onlys vs. edged attacks ; Flash requires a light source of opportunity].
  • Power Lance [BODY 09, Heat vision (Diminishing): 12, Projectile weapon (Autofire, Ammo: 06): 06, Snare (Ammo: 01, No Reload In The Field): 11, R#02]. Those stats are for the original Power Lance ; further evolutions included:
    • A Launcher [BODY 03, Range: 05] with the following projectiles :
      • Micro-Rockets [BODY 02, Projectile weapon: 08, Ammo: 03, Dart Bonus].
      • The “Wrapper” [BODY 09, Snare: 09, Grenade Drawback].
      • A metallic Lasso [BODY 06 STR 06, Stretching (No Fine Manipulation): 02].
      • Red-hot spinning Buzz-saw Blades (!) [BODY 04, Projectile weapon: 09, Ammo: 03].
      • Electrical drainers [BODY 02, EMP: 15, Bonus: EMP is its own AV (+1 or +0 depending on house rules) against metallic/magnetic targets ; Limitations: EMP has No Range ; Drawbacks – Grenade Drawback].
      • The Air-to-Air Expandable Buzz-saw Blade [BODY 08, Claws: 13, Gliding (Extends the Launcher’s Range): 05, Drawbacks – Grenade Drawback, Loss Vuln. (Claws and Gliding are considerably lowered when not operating at high altitudes)].
    • A quad-barelled Ionic Cannon [BODY 03, Energy blast (Area of Effect 1 AP): 14, Ammo: 04, R#04, Note: the Area of Effect can be turned off with an Automatic Action – this also make the beam much less massive and visible].
  • Paralyser Pistol [BODY 03, Paralysis: 07, Ammo: 06, Limitation: Paralysis has no AV (-0 or -1 depending on house rules) – use Weaponry (Firearms) for that].
  • Itch Ray [BODY 01, Flash: 09, Ammo: 04, R#04, Bonus: Flash is unaffected by Shade, Limitations: Flash represents severe body-wide itching ; Flash is useless against beings without a conventional nervous system ; Flash has no AV (-0 or -1 depending on house rules) – use Weaponry (Firearms) for that].
  • Stun Ray [BODY 01, Mental blast (Diminishing): 09, Sharpness (Mental Blast) (Diminishing): 04, Ammo: 04, R#04, Limitation: Mental blast has no AV (-0 or -1 depending on house rules) – use Weaponry (Firearms) for that].
  • Dissolvo-ray [BODY 02, Acid touch: 07, Range: 03, Ammo: 04, R#03].
  • IMAGES-CASTER [BODY 02, Military Science (Camouflage): 10, Illusion: 08, Limitation: Illusion only for pre-programmed images]. Those hidden systems were programmed to cast illusions of the Black Knight himself, leading Iron Man to expend his energy pointlessly against holograms. The IMAGES-CASTER has to be installed within a given building, which takes a while, requires a power source, etc..

Flying stallion

Dex: 02

Str: 05

Bod: 05
Int: 02

Wil: 02

Min: 02
Inf: 01

Aur: 00

Spi: 01
Init: 04

Powers:
Analytical Smell/Tracking Scent: 03, Density Increase: 02, Extended Hearing: 02, Flying: 07, Growth: 01, Running: 04, Ultra Vision: 03

Bonuses and Limitations:
Both Growth and Density Increase are Always On and Already Factored In.

By Sébastien Andrivet.

Source of Character: Marvel Universe.

Helper(s): Chris Cottingham, Darci, Ethan Roe.

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