Story:Â Book One: Simple Sacrifices
Writer: Fabien Nicieza
Artist: Frazier Irving
As I mentioned in last week’s Pull List, I was a pretty big fan of the Jean Paul Valley/Azrael character, who was introduced in the early 90s and served as a replacement to Batman in the now classic “Knightsaga” arc. Valley went on to his own solo series, lasting for 100 issues and culminating in his death.
Now, six years after the death of Jean Paul Valley, the Order of St. Dumas have chosen a new Angel of Vengence.Â “Azrael: Death’s Dark Knight” runs alongside the current “Battle For The Cowl” mini-series, prominantly featuring the characters and plot points of this arc.Â The new Azrael is chosen to spread “God’s justice” in Gotham, trying to avert the chaos in Gotham City in a decidedly more violent manner than the core Bat-family would be.Â He’s also been equipped with the pilfered Suit of Sorrows, first given to Batman in the “Resurrection of Ra’s al Ghul” storyline, and wields what is called the “Sword of Sin”, which he uses in the first page to decapitate a man.Â Needless to say, this is not the Jean Paul Valley Azrael by any stretch of the imagination.
Nicieza manages to craft an interesting story, pulling the mysterious new Azrael right in to the thick of the chaotic Gotham, torn apart by its missing Dark Knight, and quickly reminds and establishes why he’s accepted the Azrael guise.Â The art itself looks interesting, but the characters are rather oddly misshapen, and if you see a character out of a defining costume, they’re practically unrecognizable (I’m only fairly certain its Talia on the last page!).
This is a very good starting point for one of DC’s more popular characters; let’s face it, pretty much everyone knows of Azrael!Â I really recommend this, especially if you’re following Battle for the Cowl.
Final Grade: B