Sword and sorcery-themed superhero Shining Knight’s gender has been a mystery in DC’s Demon Knights comic series. Revelations in the latest issue have earned a lot of publicity, even if they haven’t exactly cleared things up. In Demon Knights #14, a woman is ready to declare her feelings for Shining Knight. The Knight then offers this explanation:
“I think you like one… aspect of who I am,” the Knight explains. “But I’m the other too. I was born this way. I’ve kept saying, whenever anyone asks. I’m not just a man or a woman. I’m both.”
Dating back to 1941, Shining Knight was originally the chivalrous and quite masculine Sir Justin. In 2005, acclaimed writer Grant Morrison offered his take on the often true tales of women who dressed as men to fight in wars. Justin became “Ystin.” The character’s new backstory was that of a young woman who disguised herself as “Sir Justin” to gain acceptance and defend Camelot.
In any incarnation, Sir Justin has earned little fame outside of comic shop regulars. He does appear in Cartoon Network’s Justice League Unlimited, which went out of its way to feature lesser known characters. He gets the most screen time in the episode “Patriot Act,” as a part of a group of non-powered humans battling a genetically enhanced superhuman soldier.
Readers looking for a more definitive answer about the newest Shining Knight’s gender identity may leave disappointed. Writer Paul Cornell told comic news site Newsarama he will leave Ystin’s comments for readers to interpret. He leaves the book after issue #15. New writer Robert Venditti will jump ahead in time by several years, probably not dealing with any of the fallout from Ystin’s comments.