Shining Knight

Shining Knight


caption=Shining Knight and Victory
Art by Mike Harris.
character_name=Shining Knight
real_name=Sir Justin
publisher=DC Comics
debut="Adventure Comics" # 66 (September 1941)
creators=Creig Flessel
alliances=Justice Society of America Seven Soldiers of Victory All-Star Squadron
aliases=Justin Arthur
powers=Expert with an enchanted sword that can cut through any object or matter; rides on winged horse "Winged Victory".|

Shining Knight is the name of three fictional superheroes in the DC Comics universe.

Character history

ir Justin

Created by writer-artist Creig Flessel in "Adventure Comics" #66 (Sept. 1941).

This was Sir Justin, a member of the Knights of the Round Table in King Arthur's Court who was given, by the wizard Merlin, a magical suit of armor and sword, as well as a winged horse named Victory. During one of his adventures in Arthurian England, he became trapped in an avalanche and was buried under several feet of snow and ice, freezing him in suspended animation. He thawed out in the 1940s and fought crime using skills he gained as a knight, and took on the civilian alias of Justin Arthur. During his career as a superhero, he met a boy who looked up to him and vowed to be his sidekick, taking the name Squire.

Shining Knight soon joined the superhero groups the Seven Soldiers of Victory and the All-Star Squadron, as well as serving as personal bodyguard to Sir Winston Churchill during World War II.

Justin had a relationship with the second Firebrand, who was apparently killed by the Dragon King (the body was never found, but she is assumed deceased). After this, Justin was amnesiac for quite some time until his memories returned in Stars and S.T.R.I.P.E.. He rejoined with the remainder of the Seven Soldiers and got his revenge on the Dragon King. During this appearance, Justin employed new high-tech armor which was voice-activated to expand and collapse.

His appearances have been sporadic since then, but he has been seen as a member of the JSA Reserves.

Among the artists associated with this version of the character is Frank Frazetta, who drew eight stories in 1950 and 1951.

Gardner Grayle

During DC's "Silver Age" crossover event (not to be confused with the actual Silver Age of Comic Books), Dick Giordano and Geoff Johns created a new Seven Soldiers of Victory to fight an Injustice League that had possessed the bodies of the Justice League of America.

Gardner Grayle, who would later become the Atomic Knight, took an experimental suit of armor and called himself Shining Knight for this one mission. This version of the Seven Soldiers with Batgirl, Deadman, Metamorpho, Blackhawk, Adam Strange and Mento only served in one mission and the Shining Knight armor was destroyed.

ir Ystin


caption=Artwork for the cover of "Seven Soldiers: Shining Knight" #2.
Art by Simone Bianchi.
character_name=Shining Knight
publisher=DC Comics
debut="" #1 (August 2005)
creators=Grant Morrison (writer)
Simone Bianchi (artist)
alliances=Seven Soldiers of Victory
Knights of the Broken Table
aliases= Sir Ystin
powers=Unusually strong and resilient to damage, swordmanship, can fly on winged horse "Vanguard".|
In 2005, a new Shining Knight debuted in Grant Morrison's "Seven Soldiers" megaseries. This new DC Comics version is a creation of Grant Morrison and Simone Bianchi, based on Flessel's Golden Age Shining Knight.

This new Shining Knight is also named Sir Justin (in the story, the knights of Camelot speak Welsh, so sometimes the Welsh equivalent "Ystin" is used) and has a winged horse but is much more out of place in the modern age.

Ystin is clearly a Celtic mythology version of the original Shining Knight (who was based more on the quasi-medieval setting of Sir Thomas Malory). The story explains that Camelot is a recurring archetype. Ystin comes from about 8,000 BC, long before the 6th century Camelot of Sir Justin.

Ystin, a long-haired 'schoolboy' of Camelot, is knighted and dubbed the Shining Knight by Sir Galahad, just before the fall of Camelot. Unbeknownst to Galahad, Ystin is actually a girl who is in love with him. Ystin and her winged horse Vanguard confront Gloriana Tenebrae, the Sheeda-Queen, who takes them to Castle Revolving, the floating fortress of the Sheeda. Gloriana casually informs the young knight that she has stolen the sword Excalibur, one of the Seven Imperishable Treasures. Ystin breaks free, steals Excalibur, and escapes from the Castle - only to fall to earth in modern Los Angeles, some 10,000 years later. There, she is confronted by Guilt, a Sheeda Mood 7 Mind Destroyer, who 'kills with words'.

Guilt informs her that the Sheeda broke Camelot and created a nightmare kingdom in its place, ruled by the undead King Mordredd. Without the goodness of Camelot to inspire them, the kingdoms of Avalon (which took up all the world) committed suicide. Guilt taunts Ystin, saying that if Ystin had not run away, the war might have been won. However, when Ystin saves a homeless man from some thugs, Guilt evaporates. Ystin, newly enlightened, seeks out the police.

The police contact two women: Agent Helen Helligan, a metahuman specialist for the FBI, and Doctor Gloria Friday, an expert on pre-Atlantean civilization. With Friday's uncanny grasp of ancient Welsh, they learn of Ystin's predicament. Suddenly, as the clock strikes midnight, Friday reveals that she is really the Sheeda-Queen, and promptly incapacitates Ystin before poisoning Helligan.

Back at Castle Revolving, Gloriana reveals that Ystin is not the last of the Knights: in the final days of the Age of Camelot, the Sheeda kidnapped Galahad and broke his spirit, remaking him as a degenerate brute. For the Sheeda-Queen's twisted amusement, Ystin and Galahad are made to duel each other. Ystin attempts to reason with Galahad, but he is beyond her reach and mercilessly attacks her. Just then, the Queen gets a whiff of Ystin's menstrual blood and reveals that Ystin is really a girl. Gloriana then leaves Galahad to torture Ystin into joining the Sheeda side. Ystin pleads with Galahad one last time, before resolving that her mentor and the man she loves is truly gone. With one mighty strike, Ystin kills Galahad. With tears in her eyes, Ystin vows to come after Gloriana and exact revenge.

There is a subplot concerning Vincenzo the Undying Don, the leader of the Los Angeles underworld, who acquires Vanguard from the police. He also owns the second of the Seven Imperishable Teasures, the Cauldron of Rebirth and Plenty. Ne-Bu-Loh and Spyder, servants of the Sheeda-Queen, kills Vincenzo in the hopes that he will lead them to the Cauldron. He does, remarking when he emerges that 'These are the end times, when we make peace with what we are'. Vincenzo and his servitors all die, but Vanguard escaped to Gorias, to get reinforcements for the final battle.

In "Seven Soldiers" #1, it is revealed that Ystin's original given name is Justina (or more accurately, Ystina). Following the defeat of the Sheeda, Justina abandons her facade of being a boy and enrolls in a 21st century school. She laments being stranded in our era and failing her king and fellow knights. However, she is informed by the magician Ali Ka-Zoom of sketchy records of a great queen called "Ystina the Good" who helped restore the Sheeda-ravaged world centuries ago. Whether she eventually returns to the past and assumes this role remains to be seen.

Ystin is also seen in the battle for Metropolis in Infinite Crisis #7 attacking The Riddler

Ystina makes a brief appearance in week 50 of the maxi-series "52", helping dozens of heroes battle the rage-maddened Black Adam. Fellow 'Soldier' Manhattan Guardian assists in the battle.

Note: Ystin made a small cameo appearance in one panel of "Seven Soldiers: Frankenstein", hiding behind a Sheeda helicopter.

Other versions

In the 1996 miniseries "Kingdom Come", there is a background character named Shining Knight II, this version is more futuristic then his predecessors and comes with a giant, metal dragon named Dragonknight.

An older version of Justina has appeared in "Teen Titans" #52 as a member of the Titans Army from the Titans Tomorrow future.

In other media

A DC animated universe version of the first Shining Knight appeared in "Justice League Unlimited" in the episodes "Task Force X", "Dark Heart", and "Panic in the Sky." He was often paired with Vigilante and had a larger role in the episode "Patriot Act", voiced by Chris Cox.


* [ Don Markstein's Toonopedia: The Shining Knight]
* [ Shining Knight: a 1940's Superhero]

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