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Encyclopedia > Azrael (comics)
Azrael


Cover to Batman: Sword of Azrael #1 (1992).
Art by Joe Quesada and Kevin Nowlan. Image File history File links Download high resolution version (400x620, 72 KB)Cover to Batman: Sword of Azrael #1. ... Quesada at the February 7, 2007 midnight signing of The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born at Midtown Comics Times Square, New York. ... Cover by Kevin Nowlan for Powerline #3 Kevin Nowlan is an American comic-book artist. ...

Publisher DC Comics
First appearance Batman: Sword of Azrael #1 (October 1992)
Created by Denny O'Neil
Joe Quesada
Characteristics
Alter ego Jean-Paul Valley
Affiliations The Sacred Order of Saint Dumas
Batman Family
Notable aliases Batman
Abilities Special armored costume.
Artificially enhanced physiology, combat skills and intelligence.

Azrael (Jean-Paul Valley) is a fictional character from DC Comics. He appeared originally in the 1992-1993 four-issue limited series Batman: Sword of Azrael, created by Dennis O'Neil and Joe Quesada, and later as a supporting character in various Batman-related titles, before gaining his own self-titled series (also by O'Neil). He is named after the the traditional Angel of Death and shares the name Azrael with a Teen Titans character introduced years earlier, making him the second Azrael in the DC Universe. DC Comics is one of the largest American companies in comic book and related media publishing. ... In comic books, first appearance refers to first comic book to feature a character. ... Dennis ONeil (A.K.A. Denny ONeil) is a comic book writer and editor, principally for Marvel Comics and DC Comics in the 1970s. ... Quesada at the February 7, 2007 midnight signing of The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born at Midtown Comics Times Square, New York. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Azrael (comics). ... Cover to Batman Allies: Secret Files & Origins 2005. ... Batman (originally referred to as the Bat-Man and still referred to at times as the Batman) is a DC Comics fictional superhero who first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939. ... Alice, a fictional character from the work of Lewis Carroll. ... DC Comics is one of the largest American companies in comic book and related media publishing. ... The limited series is a term referring to a comic book series with a set finite number of issues. ... Dennis Denny ONeil is a comic book writer and editor, principally for Marvel Comics and DC Comics in the 1970s, 80s, and 90s, and Group Editor for the Batman family of books until his retirement. ... Quesada at the February 7, 2007 midnight signing of The Dark Tower: The Gunslinger Born at Midtown Comics Times Square, New York. ... Batman #1 Spring 1940 Art by Bob Kane and Jerry Robinson. ... A Gothic angel in ivory, c1250, Louvre An angel is a supernatural being found in many religions. ... Teen Titans redirects here. ... Cover to the History of the DC Universe trade paperback. ...

Contents

Fictional character biography

The Sword of Azrael

Jean-Paul Valley, a university student in Gotham City, was unaware that he was the latest in a line of assassin-enforcers for "The Sacred Order of Saint Dumas", a sinister secret society, and had received training and mental conditioning to prepare him for his role since before he was born. He was a test tube baby, and his genes had been spliced with those of animals prior to birth. Furthermore, for most of his pre-university life he had been brainwashed with "The System", a deep level of psychological conditioning. Valley only learned of this upon the death of his father, who was also his predecessor, at which time his conditioning was activated and he was called upon to take up the mantle of Azrael (named for the angel of death). When he was sent by the Order to kill a weapons dealer, his path crossed with Batman. He was shown the error of his ways and he decided to fight with Batman against the criminals of Gotham, rejecting his "birthright" and seeking Batman's help in breaking his conditioning to forge a new destiny of his own choice. The Gotham skyline with the Bat-signal. ... It has been suggested that this article or section be merged into Azrael (comics). ... A secret society is an organization that conceals its activities from outsiders. ... In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a technique in which egg cells are fertilized outside the mothers body in cases where conception is difficult or impossible through normal intercourse. ... For other meanings of this term, see gene (disambiguation). ... An iconic image of genetic engineering; this autoluminograph from 1986 of a glowing transgenic tobacco plant bearing the luciferase gene, illustrating the possibilities of genetic engineering. ... Brainwashing, also known as thought reform or re-education, is defined by Dorlands Medical Dictionary as any systematic effort aimed at instilling certain attitudes and beliefs in a person against his will, usually beliefs in conflict with his prior beliefs and knowledge. ... Conditioning is a psychological term for what Ivan Pavlov described as the learning of conditional behavior. ... Artistic depiction of the angel of death Azrael (in standard Arabic transliteration it is Ezrail or Ezraeil عزرائیل) is typically known as one of the names of the angel of death, and is an English form of the Arabic name Ezrail or Ezraeil, the name traditionally attributed...


Knightfall

Main article: Knightfall

Valley played a pivotal role in the "Knightfall" story arc (1992 - 1994), in which he stood in as Batman after Bruce Wayne was defeated and paralyzed at the hands of Bane. Against Bruce Wayne's orders, Valley fought and defeated Bane, but his performance as Batman was influenced by his Azrael conditioning; he grew increasingly violent, allowing the villain known as Abattoir to fall to his death, thereby also allowing one of Abattoir's still-living victims to die. Valley also refused to recognize Robin as his partner. Upon his return to fitness, Wayne was forced to fight the technologically-enhanced Valley to reclaim his identity. After a prolonged battle on Gotham Bridge, when Azrael nearly killed Nightwing, he was defeated when Wayne tricked Valley into removing the bat-armor, forcing him to finally realize that Wayne was the true Batman. Valley, disgraced, left Gotham and became Azrael once more. Cover to Batman #497: The breaking of the Bat. ... This article or section does not cite its references or sources. ... Batman (originally referred to as the Bat-Man and still referred to at times as the Batman) is a DC Comics fictional superhero who first appeared in Detective Comics #27 in May 1939. ... Paralysis is the complete loss of muscle function for one or more muscle groups. ... Bane is the DC Comics supervillain best known for having broken Batmans back. ... Abattoir is the alias of Arnold Etchison, a fictional character from DC Comics. ... Timothy Tim Drake is a fictional character in the DC Comics universe. ... Dick Grayson is a fictional superhero in the DC Comics Universe. ...

Detective Comics #667 (1993). Art by Kelley Jones.
Detective Comics #667 (1993). Art by Kelley Jones.

Image File history File links Cover to Detective Comics #667. ... Image File history File links Cover to Detective Comics #667. ... Cover of Detective Comics #27 (May 1939). ...

Azrael

As Azrael, Valley wore a costume in blood-red and gold coloring. He sometimes carried a flaming sword, but also used two retractable daggers hidden in the gauntlets of his costume. He unlocked his superhuman skills by tapping into "The System", which placed a serious strain on his mind, and at times seemed to be driving him insane. Inmates at Bedlam Asylum, as portrayed by William Hogarth Insanity, or madness, is a semi-permanent, severe mental disorder typically stemming from a form of mental illness. ...


Agent of the Bat

The subsequent Azrael series, chronicling Valley's battles against the Order of St. Dumas, ran for 100 issues between 1995 and 2003. Starting with issue #47, it was retitled Azrael: Agent of the Bat in an attempt to boost sales by tying the series in with the rest of the Batman mythos, including Azrael as part of the team of Batman, Robin and the new Batgirl (Cassandra Cain), and he also changed his costume considerably for a time (see Costumes section below), although this ploy ultimately failed. Azrael returned to his original costume and battled supposed hallucinations that were supposed to represent both his father, and the creator of the order which spawned him, St. Dumas. // For the Derek Sherinian album, see Mythology (Derek Sherinian album). ... Art from Wizard Magazine (2006), featuring Barbara and Cassandra as Batgirl. ... Cassandra Cain, is a fictional character in the DC Universe, and was the most recent Batgirl. ... A hallucination is a sensory perception experienced in the absence of an external stimulus, as distinct from an illusion, which is a misperception of an external stimulus. ...


Toward the end of the series, Azrael was supposedly having supernatural occurrences somehow influencing his life, sometimes seeming to be miracles. This, however, was never legitimately explained. He also seemed to be on the verge of physiological self-destruction and yet survived longer than it was presumed he should have been able to.


Azrael was seemingly killed in the series' final issue, having been shot with two specially-coated bullets while battling archenemies Nicholas Scratch and Carlton Lehah. However, his body was apparently never recovered. DC Comics have strongly emphasized on his character profile that his status is unknown, hinting he may return.


Powers and abilities

The source of Azrael's powers is a post-hypnotic training regimen known only as The System. The details of The System are unknown, but it is known that training begins before birth and includes genetic modification in addition to post-hypnotic suggestion. The end result is a human being who is superhumanly strong and fast and has a split personality triggered by the donning of the Azrael costume. The split personality is apparently coached to believe it is an actual biblical angel. His weapons include wristmounted swords which ignite flames and can also be launched from the gauntlets. Azrael also dons a bullet and flameproof armor.


It is implied towards the middle of the series that all Azraels have been imparted with some form of The System, but that the training regimen and genetic modification has been updated and changed significantly in the Order's 500 year history. The System also somehow separates an Azrael's civilian identity from his powers, in that they are only super strong or super fast while in costume.


Costumes

Azrael's original costume consisted of special red and gold armor. After becoming an "Agent of the Bat", he donned silver and black armor with a red cape and a stylized red bat symbol on the chest. Later on, he donned red armor with golden gauntlets, boots, shoulder pads and a blue cape. On page 73 of the updated edition of Batman: The Ultimate Visual Guide to the Dark Knight, Scott Beatty implied that Azrael's changing costumes were reflections of the changes in Azrael's life from an agent of St. Dumas to an agent of the Batman to his own man.

A comparison of Azrael's three costumes from Batman: The Ultimate Visual Guide to the Dark Knight, Updated Edition by Scott Beatty. Copyright DC Comics, 2005
A comparison of Azrael's three costumes from Batman: The Ultimate Visual Guide to the Dark Knight, Updated Edition by Scott Beatty. Copyright DC Comics, 2005

Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 582 pixel Image in higher resolution (2338 × 1700 pixel, file size: 877 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)Description - A comparison of the three different costumes worn by Azrael Source - Scanned from parts of pages 72 & 73 of Batman: The Ultimate... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 582 pixel Image in higher resolution (2338 × 1700 pixel, file size: 877 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg)Description - A comparison of the three different costumes worn by Azrael Source - Scanned from parts of pages 72 & 73 of Batman: The Ultimate...

Previous Azraels

Valley was also not the only Azrael. A Chinese man, supposedly given the same training as Valley, and an identical costume, was briefly under the control of a former member of the Order of St. Dumas. Earlier on in the Azrael series, another man, presumably either American or European in ethnicity, was supposedly selected and trained in the same way as Valley and the Chinese Azrael, to be Valley's replacement. He was defeated by Azrael, and supposedly fell to his death, only to resurface in Gotham at one point wearing one of Valley's 'Batman' armors and engaging in underground fights. The exact whereabouts of this man are unknown.


External links

  • Azrael's Bibliography

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