Thursday, September 29, 2016

The Silent Knight

One of the "lost" characters from DC Comics is The Silent Knight. One of the three characters to kick of the "Brave and the Bold" comic back in 1955, he lasted until Issue #22. He reappeared in the 80's, brought back by Roy Thomas during a "Crisis On Infinite Earths" crossover in All-Star Squadron #54 & 55, along with his costars Golden Gladiator & Viking Prince. He has since by retconned to be an incarnation of Hawkman and an ancestor of Jonathan Kent, neither of which I'm thrilled with.

What I like about this character is that he works both with superhero and Arthurian tropes. Brian is the son of a Lord, Sir Edwin, who shares power with Sir Oswald. Oswald kills Edwin in the first story and Sir Grot, an aged knight, is charged with training Brian. Knowing that Brian will be killed if he's perceived as a threat, Grot makes sure to demean the lad in front of Sir Oswald.

One day, Brian finds a suit of armor in the Forest Perilous, a place known for being enchanted, and puts it on. He's soon fighting off bandits to save Lady Celia, who knows Brian. Fearing that he might be recognized by his voice, Brian doesn't speak and is thus dubbed The Silent Knight.

Brian hides the armor in the forest, where he goes to retrieve it when he needs to. He maintains his secret, even though Lady Celia drops hints that she knows, even going so far as to protect Brian's identity at least twice. Sir Oswald seems to suspect Brian every now and then, but is always thwarted in his attempts to find out the true identity of his nemesis. Later stories move away from Sir Oswald and focus more on the Knights of the Round Table, culminating in The Silent Knight being proclaimed the greatest knight in the land.

I've read all of the Brave and the Bold appearances, as well as his guest spot in All-Star Squadron, and I have to say, I really like this character. The stories are straight forward and well done, working well in the anthology title. If you can find them, I'd recommend picking up these issues.

If you want to hear me talk more about this character, I was on Ryan Daly's Secret Origins Podcast to talk about his appearance in Issue 49.

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  1. I never minded the Hawkman ret-con, since no one was doing anything with Shining Knight, I didn't know about the Kent thing, that makes very little sense.
    I've read the early Brave&Bold issues myself and enjoy these lesser known characters, seperates the men from the boys fandom-wise

  2. I have an issue with the Hawkman thing simply because DC said, at one point, EVERY character that even possibly has some kind of hawk as a symbol in history HAS to be Hawkman reborn. That's kind of lazy, if you ask me, especially since they didn't flesh it out more than that.

  3. Honestly, I'd enjoy reading this character just as a Medieval story with no DC connection. Not speaking to avoid any voice recognition is a very interesting take on the "I wear headgear/mask so you don't recognize what I'm saying" trope. This character deserves more love and could really have some great stories. Heck, I've got at least 2 or 3 ideas I could use for him because it's such a neat concept. Also..I have wings on helmet so I MUST be a past life of Carter Hall? No. Just no. Helmets had tons of decorations on them. There was no point for that retcon.

    1. The "silent" part makes even more sense since Brian was training to be a knight, meaning that they would have heard his voice coming out of a helmet already. So even the idea of, "maybe the helmet will disguise my voice" wouldn't have worked.

    2. If I ever see him in a back-issue bin, I'm definitely picking up the issue.

    3. Good luck with that. I don't think they're that common.