New Excalibur #12

Issue Date: 
December 2006
Story Title: 
The Last Days of Camelot – part 3

Frank Tieri (writer), Michael Ryan (penciler), Rick Ketchum (inker), Pete Pantazis (colorist), Tom Orzechowski (letterer), Sean Ryan (assistant editor), Nick Lowe (associate editor), Mike Marts (editor), Joe Quesada (editor-in-chief), Dan Buckley (publisher)

Brief Description: 

As Dane Whitman confesses his fears about his predecessor to Merlin, he faces Sir Percy. After coming to blows with each other, Percy reveals that he wasn’t envious of Dane using the blade; he was worried for him. The blade exerts a much stronger evil influence in this era. Percy informs him that there were in fact eight Black Knights before him, which had to be killed as they had been corrupted by the blade. While the others prepare for battle against the dragons, Sage and Wisdom follow the trace of the dead scout. During their journey, Sage informs Wisdom how, during his drunken cavorting the previous night, he failed to score with her, but might very well have driven Guinevere into Sir Lancelot’s arms, starting the affair that will doom Camelot. Arriving at the dragons’ lair, they find the dragons slain. In the meantime, Camelot finds itself attacked by what appear to be dragons. The heroes fight valiantly but find themselves outmatched. The return of Sage and Wisdom turns the tide, as Sage orders Merlin to conjure some Formosan herb. Using it, they can put the creatures to sleep. Sage reveals that the creatures aren’t dragons, but alien Makluans. With Camelot saved, the heroes return to the future, and Merlin and Percy hint at something important coming up for Dane Whitman.

Full Summary: 

Dane Whitman visits Merlin in his chamber. He apologizes when he sees the strange magical images that Merlin has conjured. Merlin makes them stop and Dane asks him what that was. He thought he recognized…

Nothing he should concern himself with, the wizard replies. Not yet anyway. How can he assist him? he asks, while he feeds his owl. A knight is what he can assist him with. Sir Percy, Merlin remarks. It’s obvious the way Dane looks at him. He doesn’t trust Percy. Dane explains that he believes his predecessor to be dangerous and that the sword’s taken control of him. And Dane would know this because? Because in the past it has taken control of him, Dane admits.

And yet he still wields it, Merlin observes. That blade always seems to find its way back to him. Does he ever wonder why? Does he ever wonder why, when Sir Percy appeared to him as a ghost centuries later and continuously told him to destroy the sword, he has never done it? What if he told him it was right not to destroy it, Merlin continues… that the sword must never be destroyed, that it is one of the single most important objects man has or ever will possess. What if he told him that Percy’s ghost was lying? That he will become so corrupted by the sword that it will affect him beyond the grave… to the point where he would rather see it destroyed than held by another? Dane wouldn’t be surprised by any of this… would he?

No, Dane admits. Deep down, he’s always known. But if Merlin knows Percy will lie about the sword, that he will try to destroy it, why does he still allow Percy to possess it? Why doesn’t he ask Percy himself, Merlin suggests to an astonished Dane.

Pery reveals himself, apparently having witnessed the entire exchange. Without a word, he hits Dane. Merlin remarks that they apparently have some issues to work out and he has someplace to be. As he teleports away, he warns them not to break anything.

Dane gets up, looking coldly at the other man. The first punch the other day was free. This one wasn’t. He hits back.

Merlin has joined the King and the rest of Excalibur at the stables where they retrieved the scout’s horse. King Arthur explains that the scout himself was reduced to smoldering bones. Clearly, he must have found the dragons’ lair. For all the good it does them.

It does them plenty of good, Merlin points out. The scout wasn’t the only one who found the lair. He reads the horse’s mind. Half a day’s journey in a cave by the sea… the dragons, he announces. Is she seeing things or is he doing some crazy Vulcan mindmeld with the horse, Nocturne asks Juggernaut. What’s he gonna do next, Cain remarks. The Macarena with some cows? Annoyed by their lack of respect, Captain Britain orders them to be quiet.

Merlin announces that it is already too late. The dragons are already on their way. Sage suggests that something of value might nevertheless be learned from examining their lair. Arthur announces that he hasn’t got the men to spare. Sage replies that she will go. Patronizingly, Arthur thanks her, but he cannot permit it as the journey will be far too dangerous. Removing his hand from her shoulder, Sage coldly reminds him that she isn’t one of his subjects. She’s going. But if it makes him feel better, she’s taking Wisdom with her.

She leaves the stable and Dazzler asks where Wisdom is. With a smirk, Nocturne informs them that he didn’t make it back to his own room last night. The others jump to the obvious conclusion regarding Sage and Pete.

Back in Merlin’s chamber, Dane kicks Percy in the face, as he announces that he was taught by Captain America. Meaning, he’s been shown moves Percy doesn’t even know yet. In other words: he is out of his league.

Percy reaches for the Ebony Blade. Bringing swords to a fistfight? Figures that’s Percy’s style, Dane scoffs. Dane reaches for the blade. Percy grabs his arm and actually pushes the sword’s handle into Dane’s hand. Touch it. feel it, he orders Dane, and Dane begins to understand.

The sword feels… different. More powerful. Taking the sword away, Percy explains that it is still new. Its hunger is still fresh. Not like in Dane’s time. Does he think he could handle this? He never knew, Dane admits… and he didn’t’ want him to, Percy explains. Does Dane think Percy doesn’t know what the thing is doing to him. That it will eventually cost him his soul? Then why…? asks Dane. Because someone has to, Percy explains. Someone who can. He has to tell Dane a secret. He isn’t the first Black Knight…

Riding along a beach with Sage, Wisdom believes he has made a romantic conquest that night. After all, he woke up in her room. Poor, poor deluded Peter, she sighs pained, before setting him straight. She found him lying in a pool of his own body fluids in front of Queen Guinevere’s chambers. Sage took pity on him, not wanting to see Pete take another thrashing and hid him in her room. He slept on the floor by the chamber pot.

Another thrashing? asks Peter, not recalling where he got his black eye from. That’s from King Arthur, Sage reveals, and several knights after Pete tried to stab the King with a carving knife. Sarcastically, she congratulates him for getting his butt handed to him, by one of England’s greatest legends.

Pete still doesn’t recall and Sage mercilessly reminds him how, after his pedestrian attempt to seduce her failed, he turned to Guinevere. Arthur was not amused. Neither is Pete. He remarks Sage should have left him in front of Guinevere’s chamber. He’d have loved to face Arthur again without his knights…

Sage reveals it wouldn’t have been Arthur leaving the Queen’s chamber. It would have been Lancelot. He and the queen left together after the feast. She was distraught over Pete’s unpleasantness and needed a shoulder to lean on… first time too, she believes. Pete gets it, but Sage nevertheless spells it out. Pete Wisdom is responsible for driving Guinevere into Lancelot’s arms, which will one day cause a civil war, which will weaken Arthur so much that he will die in battle with Mordred, destroying Camelot. But, she adds, has Pete actually caused this? Perhaps, perhaps not. They cannot really know. That’s the thing about time travel. Why they must be careful not to make drunken fools of themselves and create a greater catastrophe that the one they’re here to prevent.

Holding his hands to his ears as if not wanting to hear anymore, Pete pouts that she should be thanking him. Now they don’t have to change the history books. Time travel… nothing but a big headache… Speaking of which… haven’t these Neanderthals invented Aspirin yet? Not for another 1400 years, give or take, Sage informs him promptly, eliciting a moan.

Back at Camelot, the heroes and knights are waiting at the battlements, fully armed. Captain Britain chitchats with King Arthur, mentioning that he will meet him in the future, though Arthur was sort of dead at the time. A rather one-sided conversation, the King imagines. Brian hurries to reply it wasn’t the case and adds it was always an honor for him to meet the king. Even more so since seeing him action. Arthur interrupts him, assuring Cap that if they are indeed the saviors Percy claims them to be the honor is his.

Nocturne notices that Juggernaut is tense and asks if he is okay. He usually doesn’t do tense. He brushes her off brusquely, something Dazzler doesn’t miss either. TJ tells her that for the first time in a long time Cain is actually afraid.

Inside the castle, Percy continues his tale, revealing there were eight men to hold the blade before him.

Percy’s tale:

Each was honorable, good, yet each was driven mad by the sword… and each eventually had to be put down. After the last of them, Arthur’s own cousin, the formerly gallant Sir Reginald, fell, Arthur and Percy were the only ones deemed noble enough to wield the blade. But Arthur is the king and, if Merlin were to be corrupted by the blade, no power on Earth could stop him, so Percy was the only one left, the burden had to be his.


Dane realizes why Percy hit him the day before. He wasn’t worried about him taking the sword; he was worried about the sword taking Dane. He has seen eight fellow Black Knight brothers buried, Percy elaborates. He had no desire to bury another. Calling him “brother” and shaking his hand, Dane assures him he won’t. Percy, however, warns him that the day is still young and tells him to look outside: A swarm of dragons has arrived and attacks the castle.

Sage and Wisdom have arrived at the dragons’ lair. Pete lights their way with hotknives, hoping the dragons aren’t there. They’d be dead then, Sage points out practically. He isn’t worried about a few overgrown lizards, Pete scoffs. Sage schools him, explaining that in every culture dragons have been a force to be reckoned with. She doubts they would fret much over a hung-over Englishman. Pete is about to retort but Sage tells him to enhance the light. She’s seen something. Before them is a pile of slain dragons, hundreds of them. But if they are dead, then what exactly is attacking Camelot?

Speaking of which, the heroes, Merlin and the knights are fighting valiantly. Nevertheless, though Excalibur has delayed Camelot’s fall, the king worries that their presence will change nothing. Captain Britain insists that something will turn the tide. The cue for the two Black Knights to join the fray. Dane explains they had some family issues to resolve as he joins the battle. Which brings Cap back to his recruitment spiel, asking if he won’t consider joining the team. Oh, shut up and fight, the Knight retorts.

That’s the spirit, Juggernaut remarks as he throttles a dragon. Sure, they are all going to die horribly that day, but at least they can take some of those pumped-up geckos with them.

The next moment, Juggernaut is snatched up in the jaws of a purple dragon. Nocturne hurries to his side, scales the beast and attempts to possess it. She disappears, only to be spat out from the dragon’s jaws a moment later. Cain catches her and they both fall with Cain taking the brunt of the impact.

The barely conscious Nocturne begins to mumble that they are not dragons. No, they bloody well aren’t! comes the voice of Pete who just returned with Sage. The living computer orders Merlin to conjure up some Formosan Herb. Ignoring the oddness of her request, the wizard complies. He tosses the herbs at the dragons, who instantly drop.

While the others still wonder what just happened, Sage begins to explain what happened at the dragons’ lair.

Sage’s narration:

She and Wisdom were baffled to find the real dragons slain, but everything became clear as day when they found the spaceship. They are aliens, Makluans, to be precise. Does the name Fing Fang Foom ring any bell?

The present.:

Foom and other Makluans like him are dragon-like beings who once invaded China around this time period. It stands to reason that there might have been other ships sent as part of a global invasion. Formosan herb was used to put them to sleep in China.

The knights begin to cheer, as Excalibur saved them. Later, Arthur, Merlin, Guinevere and Percy accompany them to the lake for the Lady of the Lake to return them. Final goodbyes are said. Dane asks Percy to keep an eye on things there and Percy suggests he do the same on his side, calling Dane “brother.”
As they leave, Merlin asks Percy if he believes Dane is ready for what now awaits him. Is he ready to discover what being a Black Knight truly means? Percy is optimistic. The heroes step into the lake and one artist begins to draw the picture of them that Percy took along to the future.

Characters Involved: 

Captain Britain, Dazzler, Juggernaut, Nocturne, Sage, Wisdom (all Excalibur)

Dane Whitman / Black Knight

Sir Percy of Scandia / Black Knight of the past

King Arthur



Knights of Camelot


in Percy’s narration:

previous Black Knights

Story Notes: 

The Vulcan mindmeld is a form of telepathy first shown in the classic Star Trek series.

The story ignores that Captain Britain’s feelings for Merlin who manipulated him for most of his life and with whom he left at decidedly bad terms [Excalibur (1st series) #50] would probably be too complicated for him to demand his teammates show him respect.

The history books in the Marvel Universe must be quite different from ours if King Arthur and his court are considered factual history rather than legend.

Captain Britain and Dane Whitman met King Arthur in the “Otherworld Saga,” a storyline published in the British Hulk comic [#1-63].

Issue Information: 

This Issue has been reprinted in:

Written By: