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The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Character
Taleb Beni Khalid
Black King of Checkmate

Taleb Beni Khalid is a DC Comics character who holds the office of "Black King" in the chess-themed international security organization known as Checkmate.

Taleb Beni Khalid is an Israeli Arab who is a Druze. The Druze are a distinctive and highly cohesive religious group and ethnic group. They are a distinct religious sect that emerged from within Islam hundreds of years ago. Today Druze serve prominently in the security and armed forces of Israel and neighboring nations.

Despite the fact that the Druze are a well-established, ancient group with between 450,000 to 1 million adherents worldwide, Taleb Beni Khalid is the first Druze character in mainstream American comics that we are aware of.

From: "Checkmate #11-12: 'Let the games begin'", posted 23 March 2007 by Opmegs on the Scans_Daily blog website (http://community.livejournal.com/scans_daily/2007/03/23/; viewed 30 June 2007):

opmegs (opmegs) wrote in scans_daily, @ 2007-03-23 22:10:00

[Scanned pages from Checkmate #11:]

So, Checkmate lately has actually been really good. The first arc was a bit odd, but hit its stride well afterwards.

However, people's big complaint has been that they feel Fire's involvement makes no sense. However, it's been pretty obvious since Infinite Crisis that Waller's been blackmailing Bea over something. It's implied that it's her false past, but the last two issues prove it's not that at all.

We first see Bea visiting her father in his villa, when she's suddenly called away for a board meeting...

Checkmate #11, featuring Taleb Beni Khalid: Black King of Checkmate

Waller's acting nervous because, despite Checkmate being an international UN organization, she's been privately serving the US's interests ahead of Checkmate's. One of the other instances of this has been her new Suicide Squad, which Checkmate's already encountered at least once.

Meanwhile, there's suspicion being pointed at Waller. Khalid, the Black King, primarily suspects things, given Waller's interest in his own personal Knight, Fire.

Checkmate #11, featuring Taleb Beni Khalid: Black King of Checkmate

What's he talking about? Mr. Terriffic's knight, Jagger, is the son of the previous Judomaster. Also known as 'he who was cameo'd having his back broken by Bane in IC#7"

Checkmate #11, featuring Taleb Beni Khalid: Black King of Checkmate

This is just one of the first such moments that makes Khalid, a non-superhuman, one of my favorite characters in the new Checkmate.

Checkmate #11, featuring Taleb Beni Khalid: Black King of Checkmate

Now, interspersed with this was a bit of back and forth between Fire and Jagger. But that's not really important. They arrive at the rendevous in Santa Prisca, Jagger standing watch as Fire does the pick up.

Jagger rushes in, and Fire says something about Computron attacking her. Of course, her continued attempts to totally incinerate the head. Given his build, Computron's data could be recovered even after he's been killed. However, the green fire also attacts the attention of Bane. When he confronts them, Jagger tells Fire to run as he holds Bane off.

[Scanned pages from Checkmate #12:]

Anyway, they get back, and when Jagger explains the situation, he points the finger directly at Fire for purposely sabotaging it and hiding who really ordered the elections in Santa Prisca rigged. She confesses, and is put into a cell to await court martial for her murder of Computron.

Refusing to give up on Fire, Khalid goes to talk with her father about his theories regarding his identity and compliance in Operation: Condor. He brushes them off, with the lovely line: "Beatriz was never a hero. She was a patriot and an agent of the Brazillian government. And as such, she would never go along with a witch hunt like this! You can see yourselves out."

So what's Khalid do? Give up? Hell no. Meanwhile, we find out what Operation: Condor actually is.

Checkmate #12, featuring Taleb Beni Khalid: Black King of Checkmate
Checkmate #12, featuring Taleb Beni Khalid: Black King of Checkmate
Checkmate #12, featuring Taleb Beni Khalid: Black King of Checkmate

Yes, Khalid freaking owns.

...And in case anyone was wondering what Waller thinks of all this...

Checkmate #12, featuring Taleb Beni Khalid: Black King of Checkmate

Next up? A crossover between Checkmate and the currently rogue superteam, the Outsiders!

-OM (who has an unhealthy ammount of hetero-platonic man-love for Mr. Khalid here)


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Webpage created 30 June 2007. Last modified 30 June 2007.
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