Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #1

Fabian Nicieza doesn't really write in the current DC comics style. Sure, he has the violence covers, but he spends alot of time establishing character and background that doesn't really matter in a lot of the other Bat-books these days. This issue is almost an info-dump as a faction of the Order of St. Dumas sets up their new Azrael. I'll admit that I was a big fan of the previous Azrael, I own every issue of Denny O'Neil's run on that character. I was all prepared to not like this, but Nicieza actually has me pretty interested here. The story is only marginally tied into the current Battle for the Cowl mess, and he really uses Morrison's run as more of a jumping off point than anything else. The new Azrael is one of the three crazy batmen recently manipulated by the Black Glove to try and take out Batman, but this one is looking for the "right" fight. He's lost everything and everyone in his personal life, so he's quick to accept when the Order offers him the chance to become the new Azrael. In fact, his only sticking point is that he won't wear the bat-symbol on the suit of sorrows, implying he still has some issues after his time as an imposter Batman. The story seems to stand pretty well apart so far, which makes it more accessible and interesting. I do have an issue with the group of assassins who show up at the end of the issue. I think I recognize Merlyn (who is supposed to be captured in Green Arrow and Black Canary's book right now). I have no idea who the others are and I would hope their names would come up so that I could figure out who they are or what they can do. Especially for the chick who is on the cover of #2!

Frazer Irving's art is a great fit here. I like seeing him handle new characters, so his design for Azrael looks great. This is a good fit, as was Klarion. I didn't think his style fit as well on Iron Man: The Inevitable and Silent War, but it looks great here.

Good (a low one though, due to the info dump nature of the story)

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