TITLE: Batman: Sword of Azrael – Book One
YEAR: October 1992
COMPANY: DC Comics
Script: Dennis O’Neil
Pencils: Joe Quesada
Inker: Kevin Nowlan
Letterer: Ken Bruzenak
Colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
Assistant Editor: Bill Kaplan
Editor: Archie Goodwin
Who would have known that Azrael (Jean-Paul Valley) would one day become Batman?
It was wise planning on the part of Dennis O’Neil and staff to carefully plan events prior to the “Knightfall” story arc in the “Batman” related comic book titles by introducing us to Jean-Paul Valley and Azrael in the mini-series “Batman: Sword of Azrael”.
And what a fascinating, violent and dark comic book series it came to be.
Featuring a script by Dennis O’Neil and artwork by Joe Quesada and Inking by Kevin Nowlan, the story kicks off with an introduction to Azrael trying to take down a mob boss, who uses special bullets that would tear through the protective garment.
The man escapes while riding his horse through a parade route and crashing into a popular newscaster, killing her and a few others. Including many injured. And as the man gets home, visiting his son Jean-Paul, a university graduate student of Computer Science at Gotham City University. Before dying, his father tells him of how to dispose of his body and to open a package that he had left him.
Because the parade was being televised, many are discovering what happened to the newscaster and for Bruce Wayne, knowing the newscaster, he wants to find out who was responsible. What he does know is that police found a discarded protective body vest with bullet holes through it. And seeing where the accident took place, above from the building nearby is where Carleton LeHah lives and investigate.
Meanwhile, Jean Paul goes to get the package his father had left him and it takes him to Switzerland where he is greeted by an ogre looking person. Immediately, Jean Paul is attacked and hit and they learned how weak Jean Paul is and how he must prepare to become Azrael, the new harbinger of death. An assassin-enforcer for “The Sacred Order of Saint Dumas”, a secret society. And he had been brainwashed with The System for the longest time to fulfill this new role.
As for Bruce Wayne, he and Alfred start to look for leads of where this individual is hiding but they also are interested in knowing more of The Sacred Order of Saint Dumas. But it appears another person is looking for Jean Paul as well.
For those looking for the origin of Azrael but also the first appearance of Jean Paul Valley, “Batman: Sword of Azrael” is an awesome read but also goes to see how Jean Paul would come to respect Batman but most importantly, how this timid college student became the powerhouse known as Azrawel.
Definitely a first issue and also a series worth reading!