Azrael, the character, was a pretty neat concept, uh…except for that whole taking over the Batman’s job thing all those years ago.
The Angel of Vengeance created by the Order of
St. Dumas, who were an off shoot of The Knights Templar worked pretty well as a concept on its own and his costume design was pretty cool in the dark superhero, fallen angel sense.
Jean Paul Valley, the last Azrael, played at being Batman, went on to have adventures of his own and eventually became an Agent of The Bat before falling into obscurity and not being heard from again.
It seems though, that with Batman “dead” and a “battle for the cowl” going on we have to have an Azrael running around since we had one the last time Batman/Bruce Wayne was off the stage.
This time though we get a sort of hand-me-down Azrael.
What's up with the boots?
It seems that there is a splinter group of The Order of
St. Dumas called the Order of Purity and they forged the Suit of Sorrows, recently seen in DETECTIVE COMICS and BATMAN stories.
It is a suit of armor forged from the “melted blades and breastplates of dozens of good slain soldiers.”
The Order of Purity’s “own” Azrael defended its order for years but the suit had certain side effects on its wearers, fell into the hands of Ras Al Ghul, etc. etc.
Michael Lane, former Marine, former GCPD Patrolman, current emotionally troubled super hero to be, and oh yeah…one of three candidates trained by the military and the GCPD to take Batman’s place “should he fall in battle.”
I thought the military was too busy working with Lex Luthor to “protect” the world from Kryptonians?
Also, with all the Batman inspired heroes running around and the GCPD gets involved with the military to create Batman replacements?
You’d think Commissioner Gordon would just have Robin, Nightwing and the like on speed dial incase Batman “fell.”
Well, maybe Gordon didn’t know about the project, hopefully.
All three candidates went a little loony and wouldn’t have made great replacements anyway…so…let’s put one in the Suit of Sorrows to make them even crazier and he’ll definitely be ready to take over as
Now that's an Azrael who'll strike fear into the hearts of evil doers!
Either way and anyway, Lane is tapped by the Order to don the suit and become the new Azrael, which he does almost before they finish their sales pitch and he goes straight into action, like any unbalanced superhero should.
Irving’s art is good with its painted backgrounds and water color-like haze but it doesn’t seem to fit AZRAEL, mostly because the strongest images of Azrael, to me, were the Quesada inspired dark angel-like, cowl wearing, flaming arm sword bearing, dark and menacing, demonic looking character.
This new Azrael though is more of a street wise looking character with all the required tattered t-shirt and combat boot “hero of the streets” overdone look.
Well what can you expect from a hand-me-down, splinter group’s Azrael.
We just should expect more from DC than this shoddy work, re-birthing an old character to sell a few more comic books to a few of us who actually remember the real Azrael.
AZRAEL: DEATH’S DARK KNIGHT is just another throwaway side tale to the quickly becoming throwaway main tale that is BATTLE FOR THE COWL.
I mean c’mon, who else deserves the cowl other than Dick Grayson/Nightwing?
What’s there really to battle over?