Making An Az Of Himself

March 18th, 2009 by | Tags: ,

Azrael is the member of the Batsquad I know least about.  He was long gone, continuity-wise, by the time I started reading comics.  The first issue of the new Azrael: Death’s Dark Knight didn’t make me regret that one bit.

It’s not that the book is bad.  It’s just that I don’t care for Azrael.  I can’t exactly pin down why.  The guy’s self-righteous, yes, but self-righteousness is Batman’s stock in trade.  And yes, he does go crazy and try to kill people pretty regularly, but Superman does that as well.  Azrael actually succeeds in killing people, but of course, that’s what the Secret Six do and I love them.  That’s what back-from-the-dead Jason Todd does, and I like him.

That’s right.  Old Azrael ranks below Jason Todd in the Bat hierarchy. 

Azrael fans: What, if any, selling points does this guy have?

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12 comments to “Making An Az Of Himself”

  1. Man, I don’t really know. I always thought his hallucinations of St. Dumas was pretty cool. The saint of Azrael’s sect would show up in his visions and basically tell him how worthless he was before vanishing again, basically ruining Azrael’s day.

  2. I like that he was in one of the worst-conceived Batman stories ever, and has had maybe two entire issues of combined middling to average quality over his entire existence!

    I dunno about the new guy. I like that he’s the Third Batman, but I don’t know if I want to read the comic.

  3. The original Azreal was awkwardly moved into position to basically be the darker, more Image-influenced Batman that folks in the mid-90s thought they wanted. His entire character was based around that premise and when they tried to spin him off as his own character after the fact they realized they’d failed to make him interesting. Only reason he lasted as long was because the then-Bat Editor was writing him.

    Haven’t read it, bhe premise of the new one seems to be taking two of the ideas from Morrison’s Batman run (the last of the three Batcops and the cursed suit of armor from the Ressurection of Ras Al Ghul) and combining them. That right?

    Kinda fitting, another “Dark Batman” taking up the mantle of Azreal. But I see it’s written by Fabian Nicenza, which will mean the worst kind of continuity wank.

  4. He looks really cool.

    Other than that I got nothing.

  5. The reason I liked Az was he was the blatant Batman fuck up. Batman came back and took the cowl from him and basically said “of my bad I guess it was stupid of me to ask you the stand in for me, you being a naive young adult with now life experience who has been brainwashed since birth to be an unthinking killing machine. I was supposed to help you not kill people. Well here’s a couple of million in a swiss bank account, why don’t you go find yourself away from Gotham” That basically was the premise of the first half of his series. He meet Ra Al Ghul, found out he was part monkey, meet is mom, fought the Order again and came close to kissing a girl. it went down hill when the quake crossover happened and he had to be tied to the Bat universe again. They introduced Nichals Sctrach who was supposed to be his Joker I guess. Scratch sucked but after that not bad he was in Gotham, Batman told him to fetch and he did, but then O’neil left new writer came in they decided to move him away from Gotham but never really came up with a valid reason so the end of the series was basically him outside of town slowly going crazy fighting the ghost of St. Dumas which was a plot point that was handled in the first part of the book. Really bad stuff, and when I say he went nowhere in the last couple of issues he really went nowhere.
    I like Az for the same reason I like Tim Dick and Cass, They’re apart of the Bat-Family. Batman need a Robin and to some extent they all fill this roll. I like the beginning when they’re still new to the fold and Batman shows up in every issue to say you’re doing good or you missed that,then slowly but surely they’re out on they’re own. But invetiably there comes an editorial manadate to make so and so they’re own character. Tim moves to Keystone City. Dick gets his own city. So on and so forth. But with Az and the rest of them, after leaving Gotham, you’re just Batman lite and a city that isn’t a degenerate cesspool, and they become redundant.
    Some people make the arguement that Gotham city doesn’t need a whole Bat family to keep it safe, but looking at battle for the Cowl speaks differently.

  6. @Tekkamansol:
    “The reason I liked Az was he was the blatant Batman fuck up.”

    Well, yes, I can see that. Stephanie Brown is my Bat fuck up of choice, though. I don’t need another blond wannabe.

    Battle for the Cowl seems to make the point that Gotham needs Batman, not a whole group. The minute Batman seems to be absent everything goes to hell, no matter how many other vigilantes are around.

  7. That is true, Gotham need Batman, but Batman needs his crew. Well maybe it’s a stretch but his crew is better when working with Batman. The beginning of the batgirl series where she’s constantly trying to prove herself and Batman and Oracle awlays show up to tell her she’s doing okay. From there you have Tim you proved to be capable on his on to the point where Batman is just there to show his still in Gotham but need not say anything about the way he operates. Azrael didn’t get that chance until the very end because when he got his series they tried to distance him as far away from batman as possible. But when he finally got the “Agent of the Bat” tilte he was still capable. he wasn’t Tim or Dick but that’s why he was Azrael. Then Denny left and they just got rid of him terribly.
    I like Spoiler too, I even liked her as Robin for a bit, but the one thing I always saw that writers did with her was make her stupid. Not an idiot but make it seem like she really didn’t get why the work the bat family does is important. It was just stupid fun without ramafications. I think that’s why people didn’t like her. You’d have Tim and Bats saying this isn’t a game and she just didn’t get it. Also the issue where Batman stops her from being Robin after she has a run in with Zsasz and she trys to seriously hurt him to get away was weak.
    It was like she was setup to fail, which of course she was so we could get War games, but still she didn’t receive half the train Jason, Dick, or Tim got from Bats, so of course she won’t be up to his standards.
    Just like Huntress and Azrael.

  8. Like an earlier commentator, I dug his costume (although in my case I’m talking about the old, original (?) one).

  9. Hm…too soon to tell. Wasn’t planning to pick it up, but once I started reading it at the shop, I did get into it. Now I just want to know what happens next. Not sure it’d work as a monthly, but for a mini about the Third Batman, I am curious to see what becomes of him. I did find the scene funny when he’s like, “Lose the bat symbol” and everyone just stutters a response in surprise to do what he wants. “Could it have been That was easy?” “And should we worry?” lol, Dunno much about the first Azrael beyond a few descriptions from people, but this new one is a lot more assertive than the first one.

    Probably cuz I’m Catholic, but I am curious to see what they spin off from the “Dark Knight of God” angle here. I wasn’t around during the first Azrael series nor was I around before the Huntress joined the Birds of Prey, so I haven’t read of any characters that were motivated or influenced by their religion. I’m surprised Lane is catholic (or something like it), but whatever he is, the guy’s definitely got a religious spin on him. More than anything, I’m just curious to see what Nicieza will do with regards to that. I had read an interview sometime ago where he said the book would have a Code of Da Vinci feel to it. My morbid curiosity wishes to see how badly this will go. The book does have all the signs of “wow, this is a bad idea that’s gonna explode in everyone’s faces in the worst way possible.” lol, color me intrigued now.

  10. “found out he was part monkey”

    This. This is why Jean-Paul is the best Bat-family member. He’s a part-monkey raised by relious zealots who uses a sword made of fire. Awesome. Bring back Monkey-Bat!

  11. … flaming sword?

    created by Denny O’Neil

    never checked out his solo series so that’s all I got

  12. Funnily, Azrael was one of my favorite heroes and I was annoyed that Denny O Neil supposedly killed him off in one of the crappiest cliffhangers ever-we were never told what became of his body.
    To complicate things, we now have a new Azrael with no mention of the original one. I hope that the new guy will be interesting but I would have prefered if they brought back the original one and tell what became of him all this time. Perhaps maybe Jean Paul will return as either an ally or foil of Michael Lane.