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Screenrant Interview with Scott Snyder & Kyle Higgins

Screenrant
Tales from the Dark Universe: Knightfall Writers Finally Break Batman
October 16th, 2019

An Interview with Scott Snyder & Kyle Higgins
Interview by Andrew Dyce

When DC’s Metal introduced readers to the Dark Multiverse, it was obvious the concept had far too much potential for just a single series. Now that roiling sea of alternate realities too violent, too grim, too hopeless to ever survive is being given its own line prestige one-shots. These standalone stories ask the same question: what if a pivotal or iconic DC storyline had turned out differently? And it’s officially begun, with the release of Tales From The Dark Multiverse: Knightfall #1.

The first ‘what if?’ nightmare brings fans back to the story that saw Batman broken by Bane, with Azrael (Jean-Paul Valley) taking up the cowl in his place–before Bruce Wayne returned to put an end to his brutal reign. Bruce defeated Azrael, saving Gotham and sending Valley on his own mission of redemption… but what if he hadn’t? The answer to that question is delivered in Tales From The Dark Multiverse: Knightfall #1 from writers Scott Snyder (Batman: Last Knight on Earth) and Kyle Higgins (Power Rangers: Shattered Grid), and artist Javi Fernandez (Justice League). A vision of Gotham thirty years in the future, when Azrael–sorry, ‘Saint Batman’ rules with gleaming cross and flaming sword, and the most unlikely hero returns to free the city from his tyranny. Screen Rant had the chance to speak with both Snyder and Higgins about how this alternate Knightfall embodies the spirit of the Tales From The Dark Multiverse stories still to come, along with some “giant” events coming in 2020.

With Batman: Last Knight on Earth and Nightwing: The New Order under your belts, neither of you are strangers to hypothetical nightmare realities of the DC Universe. But how did Knightfall, and the question ‘what would Gotham have become if Azrael had won?’ make it onto the shortlist?

Kyle Higgins: The whole initiative really started with Alex Antone, an editor at DC, who started putting together–off of Scott’s awesome work in Metal, and the creation of the Dark Multiverse–this idea of, ‘would there be any interest in exploring some of the other worlds?’ Then from there it became a question of which other worlds? Which stories made the most sense to dive into? I think for Scott and myself both, Knightfall is one of those iconic stories from an earlier generation of Batman that definitely influenced me growing up. So the opportunity to dive in there and see what that might look like through the lens of a broken world, and had Bruce never actually returned to the mantle, what that might look like. Especially based on the idea of who Jean-Paul Valley was at that time, and how mentally ill-equipped he was for the mantle, and that role. It definitely felt like all the great makings to build out a pretty killer new character, and a ‘what if’ scenario, for lack of a better descriptor.

Scott Snyder: For me, I think Knightfall is one of the stories that really haunted me as a kid. Even the first time I read it. I really felt Bruce broken, and really felt he might not get back up. So there was always a question of massive possibility, and there is a real sort of uncertainty around it for me, just as a reader. I remember I genuinely believed he might not come back this time. So the idea of the Dark Multiverse, when we created it for Metal based on all our greatest hopes and fears are material and sort of bubble up into worlds all their own. It felt like a perfect starting place for Tales of the Dark Multiverse series. To go back to one of the stories that felt like it genuinely could have ended a different way, and take it to someplace really imaginative and dark. And then just give Kyle and Javi credit, I just helped a little bit in the plotting. All the great stuff in there from the psychology and the design of Son of Bane, to the way Azrael appears as this kind of broken king. That was all really their doing. So I was just happy to be a part of it and see it become something even more than I hoped it would be.

KH: It was a really cool, exciting opportunity. Because I really started my career writing monthly comics with Scott, with Gates of Gotham together back in 2010, 2011. Then leading into the New 52 with him and Greg [Capullo] on Batman, and then Eddy Barrows and I doing Nightwing, and trading off arcs and certain Court of Owls reveals and things like that. It was cool to kind of slip back into that dynamic here. It had been a few years but I think, not to put words into Scott’s mouth or anything, but it just felt comfortable. Like talking to an old friend again, breaking stories and building it out. So for me it was also a nice return to the DCU after spending the last couple of years in Power Rangers world… where I also built out some authoritarian, broken kings. I’m trying to keep it on brand.

Readers of Flash Forward are going to be familiar with Tempus Fuginaut, but a lot of people might pick up this one-shot and feel like they’ve missed an important story already being told. How much do they need to know?

SS: What I always say is we try to construct things that don’t require you to read beyond the issue itself. So hopefully even if you don’t know who Tempus is, you can get a sense from this and not feel in any way lost. We’re hoping that’s sufficient. But I always say, one of the things that we’re proudest of right now at DC is that we’re trying really hard to build one connected universe. The stuff that we started in Metal in 2017 really comes to a head this year in Justice League, as the story is ramping up to the end now. And more in Batman/Superman with what Josh [Williamson] is building, and what James [Tynion] is going to build in Batman, and in Hell Arisen at the end of Year of the Villain. It’s all connected. The hope is that you’ll read it and won’t feel left out at all by seeing Tempus in there. But you’ll be able to go read Flash Forward, you’ll be able to go read whatever else to get a bigger picture of this expansive tapestry, this immersive, giant soap opera we’re telling that’s going to end in something really huge in 2020.

Batman fans are almost guaranteed to be at least a little familiar with Azrael and Jean-Paul Valley, but for those who haven’t read Knightfall in years, what was it about Azrael that informed the Batman he would become, and the mission he would take?

KH: Well I think there’s two components to that. The first is purely from a kind of, ‘hey, what would that look like?’ standpoint of logistics. It was a lot of fun to take this character and see the longer he was Batman, the more of his authoritarian tendencies started to come to life. Then just before Bruce came back in the original story, he straight-up killed somebody. So extrapolating from that, ‘what might he look like had he defeated Bruce when Bruce came back to try to reclaim the mantle?’ And with the increased level of influence that the St. Dumas programming was starting to take in Jean-Paul Valley. How would that manifest in his leadership? Particularly as he is left to his own devices, and unopposed. So from a world-building standpoint that created a lot of really interesting questions and possibilities.

From a character standpoint though, one of the things that interested Scott and I the most was that this is a guy who knows deep down he was the wrong choice. I think there is a massive inferiority complex there. So as you see in the series, his relationship with broken Bruce Wayne is really the crux of this story, and of this world, and of his decision-making. I think there’s probably a part of me that remembers that era and thinking, ‘why didn’t Bruce call Dick to become Batman?’ Then there was the whole prodigal son storyline that came after that, where Dick did become Batman and addressed some of those choices Bruce made. I think Jean-Paul Valley would definitely feel that, and know that he’s basically another man’s stand-in. I think if they don’t have a solid enough foundation, that can drive somebody mad. That was one of the things that really attracted us to this, and building out what this version of Batman might look like, given where his insecurities and fears in this Dark Multiverse world would really be rooted.

I expected a dark vision of the future, and a pull no punches story, based on the Dark Multiverse one shots from Dark Nights: Metal, but… boy this goes to some incredibly unexpected places very, very quickly. Was that Horror part of the initial idea, or did that line of what would be too outrageous only get drawn once you started building out the story?

SS: I think it was a fun balance. On the one hand we didn’t want it to be a straight-up ‘what if’, or show what happened right in the days after. Because it almost felt like that would be too predictable, and too familiar. We wanted to really play with the idea that it’s been a long time since Knightfall came out, so we wanted to take you to a world that would reflect that. Not just, ‘what would have Gotham become in the immediate aftermath?’ Which again is something you can imagine right off the bat. I think having Knightfall take you someplace a little bit more speculative, and more surprising. And it would give us room to create a more inventive extension of some aspect of that story. Like with the Son of Bane. Take us further, really show Bruce in a way we’ve never shown him before, take him to a darker place.

The world-building is what attracted us to taking it a little bit further down the road. I think the fun of this series–and I hope people will pick up the rest of it as well, with the other classic DC stories imagined in darker iterations–they allow you to revisit some of your favorite work, but do so in a way that opens up completely new worlds. Really explore the core aspects of those stories while staying true to what those stories were about, and what Batman is about for this one, what Superman is about for The Death of Superman. Trying to say something important about the heroes in the context of the stories they were revisiting. But do it in a way that allows us to really flex these muscles creatively, and create characters that you’ve never seen before.

I mentioned Tempus Fuginaut earlier, and not to get into spoilers, but Tempus puts this Dark Multiverse tale into the context of a coming “crisis.” That word isn’t used lightly, so how much should fans read into that?

SS: Yeah… I think they should read a lot into it! These books are not meant to be–we don’t want to mislabel them, or position them in any kind of false way as a ‘prelude’ to a giant Crisis or anything like that. But what they speak to in terms of something coming, I think it’s been a drum beat that you’ll see, again, across the DCU. Both in Year of the Villain and Hell Arisen’s ending, and Batman, and Justice League, and a lot of the things that were doing in the whole line. We are planning something really big, and a giant story. Greg and I are really excited about it. And without sort of spoiling anything about it, I can just say we wanted to be able to read everything independently and enjoy it, and then at the same time feel like it will all be rewarded. My motto for 2020 is, and this is a piece in what we’re building to, is that everything matters. The idea that we want you to feel like everything you’ve read will be rewarded. There’s nothing that you’ve read, whether it goes all the way back to Metal, whether it’s Flash Forward, whether it’s Leviathan or Doomsday Clock, that isn’t revisited in a way that fits into a larger plan or a larger tapestry. We’re trying really hard to make something connected and fun and completely enveloping in that regard, that’s cumulative.

Because one of the fun things that… I think the Marvel Cinematic Universe is the first time I’ve seen it done outside of comics, but at its core, one of the few things that comics has that other mediums generally don’t–save that one or two examples–is their connectivity. You can immerse yourself in a world where these superheroes coexist, and the stories come together once in awhile to make something huge and amazing. That was always a great joy for me, as a kid especially, feeling the payoff and being like, ‘oh wow, this is all part of one thing!’ Or, ‘oh that’s right, that story happened over here, and this hero is talking about it because it affected him in a way I didn’t expect!’ All of that stuff to me is part of the joy of comics. I think it’s important to remember that in a world where everything is immediate, and total consumption of singular mythology–everyone binges one show or one thing and it’s done–comics go on, they continue. And the fun of it is living in that huge, immersive world.

So this is one giant story leading to something huge, and every part of it is relevant in that regard. We want you to feel like you can buy in as much or as little as you want, and enjoy whatever aspects of this you choose.

For you Kyle, how does it feel to create the most disturbing version of Batman in easily the last decade? Is this a case of the student becoming the master?

It’s pretty cool. Well, I don’t know if it’s the most disturbing of the last 10 years because you haven’t seen what’s coming next. But I also would say that it’s rare in life that we ever get to revisit eras that are ostensibly over. And for me, like I said, to come back to work with Scott again, to work on something like this where I’m able to come back and show what I’ve been doing for the last 5 years–especially all the world-building I did in Power Rangers–it was really really cool and gratifying. I feel very honored and lucky to have the trust of not only editorial, but Scott as well. I know how hard it can be sometimes to let people come in and play in your world– like I said, I literally just spent all of last year doing that with Shattered Grid, and running all of that–so I totally recognize that.

It’s very special to me to be able to come back and work on this. So hopefully people pick it up, and dig what we’re exploring here. And stick around for not only the rest of Dark Multiverse, but as Scott eluded to, all of the big things that are coming in 2020.

CBR Interview with Kyle Higgins

CBR
Dark Multiverse: Knightfall’s Kyle Higgins Talks Batman and a New Crisis
October 15th, 2019

An Interview with Kyle Higgins
Interview by L.D. Nolan

Running from 1993 until 1994, “Knightfall” remains one of the the most iconic tales in Batman’s long history. After sustaining a backbreaking injury at the hands of Bane, Bruce Wayne gives up the mantle of Batman to Jean-Paul Valley/Azrael for a time. However, Valley proves too brutal. Wayne eventually has to return and defeat his former protege in order to protect others and once again become the Dark Knight. However, Scott Snyder, Kyle Higgins and Javier Fernandez’s Tales from the Dark Multiverse: Batman — Knightfall #1 imagines a world in which Valley beat Wayne and remained Batman.

Announced earlier this year, Tales from the Dark Multiverse is a set of one-shots set in the worst-case-scenario universe first introduced during the Dark Nights: Metal event. The book picks up 30 years after Wayne fails to take his mantle back from Azrael and explores the dystopian world resulting from such a cataclysmic change, as well as the new Batman’s extreme methods.

CBR caught up with co-writer, Kyle Higgins to talk about the new “Crisis” teased in the book, why Azrael fails as Batman, writing fascism, and world-building for the newest world in the Dark Multiverse.

CBR: My first question for you is about something right towards the start of this issue in the preview that CBR ran. Tempus Fuginaut, who’s heavily involved with Flash Forward teases a new Crisis. What can you tell me about that and how it fits into these one-shots?

Kyle Higgins: I really kind of started my career at DC. I started at Marvel, but my big breaks came at DC, and those were in conjunction with Scott Snyder, working on Gates of Gotham. And then I transitioned for the New 52 to Nightwing and Scott transitioned to Batman. Anyone who remembers that era probably would remember that we often interlinked arcs. So there’s a natural fit here as to why he and I decided to do this initial one-shot to kick off all the Dark Multiverse one-shots that are forthcoming.

And that particular point that you just keyed on about the tease of a new Crisis, perhaps the biggest yet, is absolutely a component of that… I can’t say anything specific about it, but what I can say is that it’s there for a reason, and it’s not a coincidence that Scott and I did this issue together.

Azrael really struggled with being a hero when he first took over for Batman during the original “Knightfall.” Why do you feel that he fails at being Batman?

There’s kind of two components to that. The first is that he was really kind of designed and set up to fail. From a narrative standpoint, if you look at the era that that story was built during, and you look at old interviews that Denny O’Neil gave, he talks about this kind of proliferation of antiheroes. Whether it be Lobo, Punisher, Wolverine, the popularity of these antiheroes of that era is what really sparked this idea for the Bat office, which was “okay well let’s explore this and let’s show people what a Batman that kills looks like, ultimately as a cautionary tale as to why it’s so significant that the Batman as we know him, Bruce Wayne, Batman does not.” So that was kind of the initial set up for what became the “Knightfall” event in the comics.

As far as in-story reasons, I just don’t think Jean-Paul was really equipped for the task at hand. And if you look at a lot of his conditioning under the Order of St. Dumas and his background, he did the best he could with the wiring that he had. But I think that as the pressure mounted and what it means to try to be Batman in a city like Gotham, some people are kind of cut out for that and others aren’t.

I mean, you look at quarterbacks in the NFL, and the ones that come in with immense talent and are playing off of that talent purely for a period of time. They might have success early on, but eventually, there’s enough tape on them, that opposing defensive coordinators figure out how to scheme away a lot of that natural ability, and they’re forced to actually figure out how to play at a higher level within a scheme and that’s where you see careers go off the rails, or you see them rise above… I just don’t think Jean-Paul Valley had the fundamentals. He didn’t have a strong enough foundation that would have made him the type of Batman that could have risen to the challenge.

So, going off of that: your Knightfall picks up a long time after Azrael defeats Batman. Were there any stories from that time that were kind of floating around in your head that you didn’t get to tell. Maybe of successes, maybe of failures? Because as you said, he wasn’t quite equipped for that role.

To me, because of the answer I just gave, I was only interested in exploring this era that was. I think it’s in the solicit. It’s about 30 years after he became Batman. When someone’s not equipped for it, but is either enabled, or, well, I don’t want to get into how and why he was able to, in our version here within the Dark Multiverse, stay as Batman, but to me looking at what that kind of darkest timeline with a Jean-Paul Valley who does not have the right foundation and perhaps moral compass to rise to the mantle that he’s taking on… showing the extreme of that after a significant amount of time [had] passed was the best way to explore it. I wasn’t as interested in jumping in and looking at a few months after the point of divergence and what that would look like.

To me, looking at how the city would have changed, how his support structure would have changed how the very idea of Batman would have changed some 30 years later, that started getting exciting for me.

A lot of that change is that Azrael is kind of running an almost pseudo-theocracy. And in your previous work — I’m thinking specifically of Nightwing: The New Order, which dealt a lot with fascism — what draws you to these stories about authoritarians misusing their power?

Without getting political or anything, I think they’re very timely right now. I think they often make for really compelling cautionary tales. In something like Nightwing: The New Order, or even my Power Rangers work with Lord Drakkon, the idea of someone, for the greater good, doing what is necessary, but ultimately what is necessary undercuts why they got into the work in the first place, that to me is always, like I said, a fascinating kind of cautionary tale.

And in the case of Jean-Paul Valley and the setup of this story, it was pretty ripe for that exploration. Like I said, this is someone who has not equipped morally or mentally for the task at hand, and when left to his own devices, this is a story of how things can go incredibly wrong.

I guess I hadn’t really thought of that before, that I have explored some of those kind of authoritarian tendencies in past work. But, again, I do think that there’s something very — we write about what we’re afraid of. At least I do. And there are definitely things in the world that we live in right now that, again, without getting political, echo some of those fears.

How do you view Azrael’s relationship in Knightfall with the rest of the DC Universe? What’s his relationship to all the other characters who are kind of floating around. Superman? Nightwing?

I don’t want to spoil too much here, but that was something that Scott and I talked quite a bit about. What does the outside world look like? And the idea of cutting Gotham off from the rest of the world as a result of what has happened in the rest of the world… Azrael definitely believes that the ends justify the means, and that he has kept Gotham standing, and he has turned this city into a paragon of virtue that the rest of the world could only ever dream of becoming through strong moral conviction and willpower. But so much of what the rest of the world has become, you could argue, is actually a direct result of Azrael cutting Gotham off from it. So, there’s a little bit of a chicken and egg kind of question at the core of this story.

There are little hints throughout the issue as to what things look like. Whether outside of Gotham, whether it be other heroes or other threats, different types of plagues. Even just kind of the status of Lazarus Pits in the larger DC Universe. To me, that wasn’t the core of the story. And this a story with a pretty limited amount of space. I mean, larger than most one-shots, but still, to build out an entirely new status quo, you have to really kind of pick your battles as far as where you decide to focus your page real estate for world-building. So again, we kept things pretty tight on what Gotham looks like in this world. But I think eagle-eyed readers will see hints about the fate of different characters throughout.

You have worked on a lot of alternate worlds and continuities or things that give you more room for play. When you’re writing something like Tales from the Dark Multiverse, what storytelling possibilities does that open up for you?

Well, I definitely pride myself on finding the most interesting through lines within a kind of higher concept. And a lot of alternate timeline stuff really allows for that, because at their core there tends to be a point of divergence or a higher concept that, for lack of a better term, a quote unquote “elevator pitch,” right? This is a story of where it’s this but in this era, where this happened and then that naturally leads to questions. Well, how did that come about? What is this person? As you just said, what happened to Superman? What happened to these people, and then it allows for really interesting world-building opportunities.

I kind of really spend a lot of time figuring out the world- building and in the most efficient and, hopefully, emotionally resonant way. It’s kind of like a tumbler lock, where each pin is a different possibility within a concept, and you have to get them all to kind of lineup right for the lock to open. I just really enjoy that challenge. And the “what if?” of it all, to me, is always a lot of fun to play around with. You can take it to an extreme that you couldn’t in standard continuity and use that extreme and the exploration of that extreme status quo to ultimately make whatever kind of emotional or thematic point interested you in the story in the first place.

Is there anything else you’d like to add just as we finish up?

It’s always fun to come back to Gotham, and I’m really proud of the issue and really happy to be working with Scott again and hopefully people will pick it up, give it a chance. The other Tales from the Dark Multiverse stories are all very exciting. And I think this is a really cool line that’s coming up and hopefully people won’t sleep on it.

Comic Talk: Mike Manley

Comic Talk Magazine
August 1993
Issue #7

First off, can you tell me how you ended up getting involved with Batman?
After issue 25 of Darkhawk, I decided that I was going to leave the title because I had done 25 issues straight. I figured 25 issues in a row is a pretty long run by today’s standards. I was getting a little burned out and didn’t want to start doing poor quality work. So I wanted to leave after issue 25, which was the biggest selling issue, probably since the first issue.
I’d known Archie Goodwin for several years, so I decided to go over to DC to see if they had any Legends of the Dark Knight for me to do. I figured what I would do was float around and see what else I could pick up. Archie gave me the Legends of the Dark Knight annual to do, which, in turn led to other people seeing samples of my work – specifically Neal Pozner and Dennis O’Neal.
Than one evening at around 7:30 at night, Dennis calls me up and goes, ‘Would you like to do Batman?’ I thought about it for about 30 seconds and said, ‘Yeah, sure!’ It was great because they asked me, so I felt very flattered.

 

Have you always wanted to do Batman?
I would say he was one of the characters from when I was a real fan, back in my teens, that I liked. Specifically, what Neal Adams did on him. I was a super big fan of his stuff; I used to blatantly imitate his stuff. I used to draw so much like Neal Adams that it hurt.
Maybe I’m different from some other people, because it was rare that I would fall I love with a character because the artist that I like is doing the book. Since Neal did a lot of Batman stories, I ended up liking the character.

 

How do you see Batman? Do you see him more as a grim and gritty Dark Knight, or as a reasonably well-adjusted caped-crusader? Or as something entirely different?
It’s something that I had to ask myself because I hadn’t read Batman comics for a very long time really – besides the ones that Neal Adams and Dennis O’Neal did. Occasionally, I would look at the title of someone like Michael Golden or somebody that I liked worked on it.
That was my reference point, basically, until Frank Miller and then with David Mazzucchelli did Year One. That seems to have set the tone.
Adams came back and established the creature of the night, the dark aspect of the character, being spooky and creepy. I imagine it will take a few issues to get my own feeling of the character because in a way, I’m working off of the inspiration of the artists that I admired as a teenager. That’s what’s firing me right now.
I don’t really know. He’s pretty much a dark, grim character. I think he has a pretty bent personality in some ways. He’s obsessing over this one event so much that he’s willing to put himself through this torture and pain, mentally and physically, to avenge the death of his parents.
It also has to do with what Doug Moench has in store for the character. At this point I have just received the script for Batman issue 500 and I will be starting on it in the next week or so. I’ve talked briefly with Jordan Gorfinkel, Dennis O’Neal’s assistant, and Doug. It’s like everything is speeding along so fast you just have to grab on.

 

What’s it like coming in at the tail end of a rather exciting timeline?
There are four or five Batman books right now, so different parts of the story take place in different titles. I get a script from Doug Moench and it’s like a telephone book. It’s huge compared to the plots I usually get from Marvel.
So there is a big of an adjustment working from a full script. That’s going to take a rearranging of the creative process at the beginning.

 

Are there any other differences you noticed in making the switch from Marvel to DC?
Well, I would have to say that for me, I would say that DC wants me to be the best Mike Manley on the character. They all seem to be very encouraging and very excited to see what I’m going to turn out. I hope I don’t disappoint everybody and send the sales into the dumpster.
I think there is a difference in personalities of the people that I’m working with, just like when you change any job. You go from one job to another. You have to get to know the people at the job and then you develop a rapport and a routine with them.
I’m really looking forward to collaborating more closely with Doug Moench and Dennis O’Neal on this stuff. It’s hard to say how things are going to turn out because at this point, I have drawn only seven pages for Legends of the Dark Knight Annual. I am also inking an issue of Shadow of the Bat that my good friend Bret Blevins is doing. In fact, he’s the guy who recommended that I go see Archie. Bret Broke his contract at Marvel, went to DC and got a good reception there. They gave him Legends of the Dark Knight issue 50, which is retelling the first meeting of Batman and the Joker. He was very ecstatic about the way things were going, so he said, ‘You should go. You should call Archie, you should go see him!’
So I did, although it did make me feel a bit strange because I did know Archie to a degree socially. I felt like, ‘I don’t want to call him up and ask for a job.’ [Laughter] That’s what I did anyways.

 

You mentioned that you want to collaborate with Moench. Do you want to write any Batman stories on your own?
At this point it’s too soon in the creative process for me. I think what I really want to do now is concentrate on the art side of it. I think that they have the plot for the next eight or nine stories at this point. I would imagine to Batman issues 510 to 512. I just want to concentrate on the artwork right now. I think if I was to concentrate too heavily on the plotting, it would become too much.
Sure, I would like to do a Batman story myself somewhere down the road or stories with other characters. But I’m quite happy at this point to be able to pencil and ink my own work on a monthly basis and I’m trying to take my work up a level or two. That’s very difficult when you have to produce a certain amount of pages per day. Day in and day out, week after week, you can’t fall behind work or books start missing shipping.
I think if I was to try and write…I’m so booked now, even besides Batman, with other special projects, I really don’t have the time.

 

So you’re going to ink Batman as well?
That’s a goal I made for myself after doing that on and off with Darkhawk. Nothing against other people that I’ve worked with, Ricardo Villagran is a great guy. I have had other people from time to time on the book, but there is a certain satisfaction that you have when you finish the artwork yourself. If you mess it up, at least you mess it up. If it’s successful, then you feel good. I look at the inking really as the drawing.
The way comics are set up today, they specialize everybody so that you have guys that just pencil, guys who just ink. You have guys who pencil who, if you asked them to ink their work, would be absolutely lost. I try to take after more the old school where most of the guys inked their own work. Besides the layout, the inking is the most important stage. Because after you erase the page, the pencil is gone and all you have left is the ink. If the inker isn’t very good, if the inker you’re working with loses your drawing or the emotional quality of your work, it can seriously alter the impact that you’re trying to give the reader on the page, besides destroying the drawing.
I guess you’re aware Batman gets a new costume as you come on the book.
Yeah, he’s getting a new costume. I’ll be working on that now. Issue 500 is split into two parts. Jim Aparo is doing he first part and that’s going to be inked by Terry Austin. And then, starting right on the first page that I do, he’s in his new costume.
How long he will have the new costume, I don’t know because I’m just as surprised as everybody else at this point. I don’t know the full story.

 

Graham Nolan told me that the new costume was a little difficult to drawn.
It’s pretty complicated. But if you draw them 400 times over the course of a year, you can generate ‘em out of your imagination, no problem. It’s just part of the job.

 

Batman is going through a lot in this story. What did you think when you heard about all the stuff that was happening to him?
I think they’re doing a real smart thing. They had a great success with The Death of Superman. With competition being the way it is in the marketplace today, you’ve got to come up with some good ideas to capture the readership. Everybody has a lot more choices today. I think what they’ve come up with is great so far and I think that some people may have guessed what it is while some people won’t have guessed at all.
I think the best thing about Batman is that he’s such a basic, simple character that so many people can do so many different takes and interpretations on him. I think that’s why he’s lasted 50 years. There are a lot of characters who are interesting, but they lasted 50 years.
It’s the same with Superman. Maybe it’s a little more difficult with Superman, because you can’t make him a dark Superman. It might be a little bit harder to do certain things with a character like that. Whereas Batman is a vigilante and I think that those are timeless characters. They can appeal to a lot of different people in a lot of different ways.

 

Do you think Batman goes far enough in his dealings with criminals? Do you think he should be a bit more ruthless or is he fine as he is?
The Batman of old of new?

 

The Batman of new
It’s hard to say. I think it really depends upon what each creator, what each writer or each artist is going to bring to the character and what kind of story they’re trying to tell. If you’re trying to tell a story of a guy who’s slowly, inch by inch, losing it, he may slip. He may go a little too far; he may whale on somebody a little too hard.
That is something that has also been done a lot. Part of the problem that people face in this business now is that you get on a character like Batman who has been around so long, you have to ask yourself, ‘What haven’t they done with him?’ There’s been so much done with him.
Also, I think with the movies and things like that, there’s a certain amount of restriction as to what they can do with the character.

 

Is there anything else you want to say about being the artist on Batman?
I guess I’m going to try harder than ever to do the best I can because the competitions stiff. If you can’t hack it you can be replaced easily.

Comic Talk: Graham Nolan

Comic Talk Magazine
August 1993
Issue #7

Can you tell me how you ended up drawing Detective Comics?
I decided I was finished with Hawkworld and wanted to move onto other projects. I had sent some Xeroxes to Denny and kept calling him. They were in-between artists, so they had an opening on four issues.
Then, I guess on the strength of that, they asked me if I wanted to do Vengeance of Bane. When an opening finally came through on Detective Comics a few months later, I was the first one considered.

 

You did some design work on Vengeance of Bane didn’t you?
Yeah, I designed him. I designed Bane and the ‘terrible trio.’ I guess they don’t have a name do they? Now they’re known as ‘The terrible Trio.’ [Laughter]

 

Did you have any input into the creation of Bane or his personality?
No, he was pretty much fleshed out already.

 

Have you ever gone to one of those infamous Batman-summits?
No, we had a mini-summit at the last Great Eastern show, but it wasn’t really a Bat-summit. It was more like a Detective summit. It was Scott Peterson, Chuck Dixon, and Scott Hanna.

 

You came into Knightfall in about the middle. What did you think about what was going to happen to Batman?
I knew what was going on from Vengeance of Bane because Bane was created and designed before the Knightfall storyline. I knew from the beginning.

 

Did you think, ‘wow that’s terrible,’ or ‘wow, that’s great?’
What he goes through, which I’m not at liberty to say, has evolved from the basic idea to hat was finally decided upon. It’s gone through some changes. I really, really like the final product. It’s better than what the original ideas were.

 

How do you see Batman? Do you see him as a grim and gritty Dark Knight, or a caped-crusader super-hero?
A little bit of both. I think Batman is the ultimate hero in the DC Universe because he has taken adversity in his lie and channeled it into something positive. He’s dedicated his life to making this decayed city a better place for those who live there. So to me, he’s the ultimate hero. He sacrifices so much for everyone else.

 

Do you think that Bruce Wayne is as important to Batman as Batman is to Bruce Wayne?
Absolutely. They’re not two different people. They’re the same person.

 

Are they? Can’t anybody put on a Batman costume and be Batman?
No, absolutely not. Batman is a persona created from a tragic event in Bruce Wayne’s life. I don’t think anybody else could possibly be Batman.

 

Well, you know Robin isn’t necessarily Dick Grayson. Robin is Tim Drake or Jason Todd or whoever else puts on the costume.
Right, but he’s not the same. They are two different types of people. Robin is an extension. If there isn’t a Batman there wouldn’t be a Robin. So Batman’s influence could shape a Robin, but there’s nobody to shape a Batman other than Bruce Wayne.

 

Okay, so what’s it like doing Detective Comics?
It’s been great. I love it. If there wasn’t a Batman, there wouldn’t be a Graham Nolan cartoonist, that’s for sure. Because when I was a kid and the TV show was on, that influenced me a lot, as well as the comic books. Batman was a seminal influence on me, so it’s something I always wanted to do. Having the opportunity to work on it with such talented people such as Scott Hanna, Chuck Dixon, and Scott Peterson really is a thrill.

 

Wasn’t Detective Comics the title you always wanted to do?
Yes, it is actually. Detective Comics were the first Batman comics I ever read. Also, the first appearance of Batman was in Detective, so it’s his home. Also, DC gets its name from it. It has a long history. I’ve big shoes to fill working on it.

 

Do you have any input to the story so far?
No, most of the story and the direction were all hashed out at the last Bat-conference. I wasn’t involved with that. I guess for the next batch of storylines I’ll have some input. At least I can offer suggestions and input. Whether they use them or not, who knows?

 

Is there anything you would like to say to the people reading Batman comics now or to those who will pick them up as Knightfall rolls along?
I think people that are reading it, especially the older-time Batman fans, are in for a real treat. We’re making an concerted effort to bring Batman back to the greatness that he should have.
He’s been portrayed in recent years as a psychopath and a nutcase. It seems to me that he’s becoming a lot more heroic. I think the old-time fans will really enjoy seeing Batman as a great hero again.
I think the new fans will enjoy it too. They’re hopping on a great storyline. The whole Knightfall series should have a lot of impact.

CVM 1993 Knightfall Feature

CVM
October 1993
Issue 86

When the Bat Breaks…The Knight Will Fall
By Neil Hansen

“…and down will come Batman, costume and all…”

Two new additions to the Batman mythos have turned the caped crusader’s world upside down. One, a villain named Bane, has broken Batman’s back in a quest to ultimately humiliate the spirit of Batman; causing the second, a hero called Azrael, to take over the role that millionaire Bruce Wayne created to fight the forces of evil.
Holy setbacks Gotham City! Will Batman be able to get out of this, or is this the beginning of the end? Readers have already seen Superman killed fighting Doomsday; the world doesn’t seem to be safe for superheroes anymore. Why?
In actuality, the DC creators wanted to explore what it would be like if someone else became the Batman. “To get a different Batman,” said Doug Moench, writer of the Batman comic, “obviously, the original Batman had to step down for a time and a new one had to take his place. Of course, the Batman costume, which has been a classic for so long, also needed a new look. What kind of twist could be done on that? What would the classic design look like if it were altered for the nineties?”

The Beginning of the Break
The genesis of the story called, ‘Knightfall,’ where the old Batman was forced to step down, and the new Batman took over, started two and a half years ago.
“I was having lunch with Peter Milligan, and at the time he was writing Detective Comics,” said Batman group editor Dennis O’Neil, “and we were just talking over story possibilities. He mentioned that it would be a good idea to put someone else in the Batman suit for a while. Peter left meetings,” revealed O’Neil. “I had about four or five of them. We decided that we needed a new villain for this. The only villain that was even close was maybe the Joker; but he’d been used a lot. And even then, he was not emotionally right for this storyline, the way it was developing.”
“The Joker is much more of a psychological villain, “ said Moench, “than a physical villain, and we wanted a physical villain. Bruce Wayne had to be physically unable to continue as Batman to bring about a new Batman.”

The Bane of Batman’s Existence
Bane was created as the instrument of batman’s downfall in a one-shot called Batman: Vengeance of Bane, written by Chuck Dixon and drawn by Graham Nolan and Ed Barreto.
“I don’t remember who exactly said what, said O’Neil, “but most of the credit would go to Chuck Dixon, because he actually wrote the story and filled in the blanks; and without all of those blanks being filled in, you don’t have a very good character.”
Bane was connected with the ‘Venom’ storyline created in Legends of the Dark Knight #16-20, written by O’Neil himself. “I had created him for a completely different story,” O’Neil remembered. “When I wrote that story for Archie Goodwin (Legends of the Dark Knight editor), I certainly didn’t think it would have any ‘life’ beyond those five issues, but that was the one piece that was just serendipity.”

O’Neil’s experience with Batman first started as a writer. He was instrumental in first bringing the character back to his grim roots in 1970 (Detective Comics #395) with artist Neal Adams, following the demise of the popular but campy Batman television series of the 1960’s. Through this foundation, subsequent writers like Frank Miller built on this base, amplifying the grimness that O’Neil originally instituted. Moench, who wrote Batman from 1982 to 1987 had to play catch-up when he returned to the title using Miller’s increased grit and appreciated the fact that O’Neil wanted to go the same way.
“It does feel a little odd,” said Moench, “but I think I’m up to speed now, and I have been since ‘Knightfall’ began. It was strange getting back into it because I no longer read the book after I stopped writing it, so I had to read all of the back issues. One of the good things about it was that, after I left, Batman had been done in the way that I wanted to do it – and did do it to a certain extent, but not as much as I wanted to. At the time, I guess they weren’t ready for a dark, gritty Dark Knight kind of thing which Frank Miller’s book (Batman: The Dark Knight Returns) convinced them that was the way to go. So, before Miller did it, that was the way that I had wanted to go. The editor, Len Wein, kept saying, ‘No, no no! It’s perfect like this!’ and I kept saying, ‘I don’t think you quite know what I mean.’ O’Neil’s critical slant is closer to what I’d wanted to do all along.

The Avenging Angel
The character of Azrael taking over as Batman will push the grit to the limit. In creating Azrael, O’Neil said, “Again, we’d decided that we needed someone fresh.”
For instance, Nightwing, the first Robin and leader of the Titans, was given the thumbs down for the role. However, O’Neil had a bit of a struggle in creating the new character.
“I first looked at animals,” said O’Neil, “trying to think of what’s the natural enemy of the bat. I did some research – which is something writers get to do and pretend that they’re working – and found that the only natural enemies that bats have are men. That seemed to be a dead end, so from there we began to look at mythology. I don’t know how I stumbled onto Azrael, who was an angel of vengeance in two different mythologies, but once we had that – the idea of an angel of vengeance – the rest of it kind of fell into place.”
Azrael, like Bane, didn’t originate in the regular Batman continuity of titles, but began in a four-issue mini-eries called Batman: Sword of Azrael, written by O’Neil and drawn by Joe Quesada and Kevin Nowlan (Quesada, who designed Azrael, is also designing the new Batman costume).
“There was no way to bring them onstage in the current continuity,” O’Neil pointed out, “without bringing everything to a screeching hault, and we didn’t want to telegraph our intentions that far ahead. I’m not sure that the way we did it was the right way, but there was no other way, those two books came out after there had been an awful lot of Batman out, the second movie – so they didn’t get as much attention as they probably would have, even if they weren’t going to be important to later continuity.”
Unfortunately, sales on the Azrael and bane titles weren’t as high as O’Neil thought they’d be.  “We were a little disappointed,” O’Neil said, “at the reception of both, because we felt that they deserved better. On the other hand, we couldn’t put a blurb on the cover that said, “This is going to be rally important, dear reader, buy this book!”
However, initial disappointments on the two books turned into big money for comic book dealers.

“I’ve seen Batman: Sword of Azrael #1 go for as much as $25,” O’Neil said. “If I had to do it again, maybe we could have found a way to bring Bane on stage. I work with consummate craftsman, and I will stipulate that even if you never saw those books and will never see them, there’s plenty of information in the stories themselves. You have everything you need to know about those guys if you read Batman and Detective Comics. That’s one of my criteria for doing comics. I don’t think it’s fair to the reader to force them to go outside of what they’ve just bought in order for them to understand what they’ve just read.”

Building Batman
Before Knightfall, there had been complains in fandom that the Batman titles lacked continuity, but O’Neil claimed it’s always been there.
“It just hasn’t been the kind of continuity that Mike Carlin does in Superman, said O’Neil, “where one story ends and the next book picks up ten seconds later. There’s a lot of reasons for that, one of which is that I keep wanting to put emphasis on the story with continuity as a part of that; so I insist that stories have a beginning, a middle, and an end, and that THAT be finite. A writer is really going to have to work to convince me that he is going to need more than three issues to tell a story, so we do that, but I think of it as a mosaic. At the end of the year, all of the features fit into one big picture.  We don’t ever contradict unless we screw up, which is a distinct possibility, albeit a distant one. I was being facetious of course. We make mistakes all the time. But, if Tim Drake’s father is kidnapped in one book, he stays kidnapped in the next book; and we can generally figure out that these three issues took about three days of Batman’s life, and that’s this week. The next story takes about two days, so that winds up the week. I’ve got on my computer an outline for the next year,” O’Neil continued, “which never gets more detailed than who the villain is, and if the villain doesn’t exist, it says, ‘new villain,’ which when we’re dealing with something like Knightquest or Knightfall, then there are other things. Where is Jack Drake’s health at a given time? Has Bruce recovered at al by whatever issue it is we’re dealing with? We can maintain that continuity that we spoke of earlier. I’m not going to say it fits seamlessly, but pretty close to it, so at the end of the year you can make sense…assuming that these guys lead very busy lives! I would say that we have continuity working through the strengths of my creative people.”

With Knightfall, and later, the Knightquest storyline demand the other kind of continuity,” said O’Neil, “stillnot as tightly as Mike does it, but a lot more. Even having said that, we ry to keep the story self-contained enough, that if for some reason Batman isn’t available to you, but Detective Comics is, you’ll get enough of the backstory and surrounding information in Detective Comics to understand what is going on here and now.”
However, fandom has noticed similarities between the physical powers of Bane against Batman and the physical powers of Doomsday against Superman. According to O’Neil, this is just confidence.
“If I had known that Mike was going to do his storyline this year,” O’Neil commented, “I would have considered delaying mine. We were both working independently. There was no reason for me to check what he was doing and vice versa. By the time that we figured out that we were both working on major continuity-altering storylines, it was too late to do anything about it. I read Superman as it comes out. I don’t really read other editors’ stuff except as a reader, but I want to enjoy it. Therefore, I don’t look at scripts or artwork ahead of time. Again, if Batman or Robin makes an appearance, I have to look at it, and complain if necessary.”

The Changing of the Guard
Knightfall reaches its penultimate chapter in Batman #500. Among the creative changes that occur are the changing of artistic guards from Jim Aparo to Mike Manley. Aparo moves to Green Arrow after a long run on Batman related comics.

“I left Darkhawk (for Marvel Comics) with #25,” said Manley, “and I was lining up to do some special projects stuff, and Brett Blevins, who’s a really good friend of mine, left his contract at Marvel to look around and see stuff. He went over to see Archie Goodwin (Editor of Legends of the Dark Knight), who we both know at DC, and Archie gave him some work. Bret was saying, ‘You should go see Archie.’ He gave me Legends of the Dark Knight Annual, and a couple people were in the office – Neal Pozner, Mike Carlin – and they asked me if I would be interested in doing some stuff.”
“Then one night,” continued Manley, “at 7:30, Denny O’Neil called me up and asked if I wanted to do Batman. I thought about it for about 30 seconds and said ‘Yeah!’ I had no idea about Batman #500. I hadn’t read Batman in years. His first artwork is chapter 1 of Knightquest: The Crusade,” which focuses on the adventures of the new Batman.”
“I was sort of coming in at the end,” Manley said, “the beginning and the middle because it’s the end of the first part of the storyline they had come up with. I was the new kid on the block. It’s in the middle of the storyline, and it’s at the beginning of the whole big new thing with Batman. Maybe in a way it’s a good thing I haven’t read Batman comics in years, because I’m trying to come at it from a fresh perspective. It’s enjoyable, and I feel I have a lot of freedom. My preconceptions of the character are basically the stuff Neal Adams did when I read as a kid, and the stuff that Frank Miller did himself, and with David Mazzucelli. That’s the stuff I have in my head. It’d be like, if I did the Fantastic Four. I’d think about what Jack Kirby did. I think all creative people do that when they come on. If you were going to do Spiderman, maybe you’d go back and reread the old Steve Ditko and John Romita issues. Maybe for a young guy, it would be Todd McFarlane.”
Still, Manley has admiration for his predecessors.

“I didn’t sit down [when I was hired],” Manley explained, “and think I was following in Jim Aparo’s footsteps. I feel that if it’ a new character, it’ll be different from what Aparo did. I fondly remember the Aparo stuff from when I was collecting the Neal Adams stuff too. I used to confuse his stuff with Neal Adams stuff when I was a kid. He was one of the best guys in the field. He had a great flair for storytelling. I think to some extent, Neal was a better draftsman, coming from the old strips, but Aparo had a lot of dynamic storytelling to his stuff. He’d chop up panels. He was very good at layouts and treating the whole page as a unit.”
“One of the things that I’m trying to do with Batman,” continued Manley, “is bring up the elements of Gotham City and work very hard on the backgrounds. I’ve really cut down on my workload, and I am just working on Batman, not two, three or four projects at the same time.”
Knightquest: The Crusade will be seen in both Batman and Detective Comics, but what will happen to Bruce Wayne?”
“Denny will take Bruce off in Knightquest: The Search,” said Moench, “and Justice League Task Force, for a three-part story in which Bruce Wayne is trying to solve the mystery of Dr. Sondra Kinsolving and the adduction of Robin’s father.”
“We thought we’d have to logically deal with Superman,” said O’Neil,  “so a scene has been written by one of Mike’s guys. We’ll have to deal logically with Nightwing, so that will pop up here and there. We’re dealing with Green Arrow in Justice League Task Force. Our version of Batman is that he is not a very public guy. I don’t think there are a dozen people in Gotham City who have decent photographs of him, and he certainly doesn’t hang around talking to crowds. What the world knows is that he’s changed clothes. A few people in Gotham City – Gordon, Bullock, and Sarah Essen – will react to his personality change. Gordon will be shocked by it, and wonder if he’s gone over the line. Bullock will applaud it like he’s finally figured what to do with the lowlife scum: beat them senseless.”

What Makes A Hero?
“A lot of heroes in movies,” continued O’Neil, “and in other comics, commit whole slaughter pretty casually. That’s another idea that we’re playing with in this series.”
O’Neil to use Bruce Wayne and Azrael to explore different aspects of the same theme. “We decided to not just let Bruce be an invalid,” said O’Neil, “but to tell a story of a different type of heroism. In real life, I have not a great deal of admiration for somebody who charges a machine gun nest because that’s adrenaline, but someone who is in great pain, gets up and makes their life work despite that: that’s a real hero. The story will start in Justice League Task Force #5 and 6, then Shadow of the Bat #21-23 – that’ll be written by Alan Grant and done by the regular shadow team – and I will finish it up in a three-parter in Legends of the Dark Knight, again emphasizing that each of these will be self-contained stories in which a problem will be solved. I would like to believe that anyone who reads just one of these stories will be perfectly satisfied and feel they’ve gotten their money’s worth. If you read all three of them, you get the big picture and find out all the details. “A model for this sort of thing,” continued O’Neil, “is a Dashiell Hammett book called The Dain Curse, which is made up of three novellas, and they were each published separately. Nobody ever knew that they were all part of a large novel, so therefore, everybody who read them – they were serialized in Black Mask (a pulp magazine) – got their money’s worth. Then Hammett pulled them all together with very little rewriting into one novel, and you’d say, ‘Oh yeah, man! Now I really see what this is about!’ That’s what we’re trying to do with Knightquest: The Search. We will have failed if we don’t provide lots of action, melodrama, and larger than life characters; but underneath that, [we’re dealing with] heroism. Is it the very violent action that Azrael does? Is it the thing that Bruce Wayne is doing?”
While O’Neil couldn’t divulge the length of Knightquest, or the permanence of the changes, he did disclose, “We’re going to build it to a dramatic conclusion. We’re exploring the character of Azrael. To some degree, we are waiting for feedback. We’re seeing how readers feel about it. We’re seeing how readers feel about it, and how we feel about it.”

Anniversary Shakeups
Between the publicity of the death and resurrection of Superman in Superman #75 and Adventures of Superman #500, and the current goings on with the Caped Crusader with the new armored Batman debuting in Batman #500, violent occurrences and radical changes seem to be the new milieu for DC superheroes anniversaries.
“Mike Carlin and I arrived at our ideas completely separately,” said O’Neil, “without so much as ten seconds consultation, but I can pretty much figure out why we did it. We both have the same problem to solve, and that is that we have characters that are half a century old. In my case, I made a guess based on my 26 years’ experience that maybe we were getting routine.  I know that movies and television shows would draw attention to the character, and we’d get hepped on that, but all of that was going to be over now. It’s deadly to let a character like Batman or Superman go on autopilot, and it’s easy enough to do that. Both characters have had stretches in their history where it’s happened. You still collect your paycheck, and sales don’t slide dramatically, but you want to keep the stuff fresh.”
“The trick,” O’Neil continued, “is to keep it interesting for you.” Then, if the writers or artists have interest or are having a hard time doing their jobs, that’s probably going to have a lot of interest for the reader. There’s always people who hate what you’re doing, but if you didn’t do this shakeup once and a while, there would be a danger of the characters repeating themselves, going on autopilot. That would be the death of them.”
O’Neil described how he handled that major shakeup. “What we’ve attempted to do,” he explained, “is preserve the essence of the character, that core identity, what made him a hero in the first place. Then, either allow the externals to evolve or every once and a while give the externals a kick in the slats to make them evolve, to keep them contemporary. If we’re doing our jobs right, we’re doing stories that appeal to a twelve-year-old or a fifty-year-old. When I started in this business, there were all sorts of rules. Some of them made sense. Some of them were simple rules someone that of at the time; but we had far less freedom to deal with the essence of the character then. Any changes that happened during the 50s, 60s, and 70s, happened as a sort of evolution. It happened when people weren’t really watching. Now, we are allowed to actually tell dramatic stories, and dramatic stories always involve change.”

Knightsaga

Prelude to Knightfall
Sword of Azrael
Vengeance of Bane

Knightfall
The Broken Bat
Who Rules the Night

Knightquest
The Crusade
The Search

Knightsend
The Story
Aftermath

knightfall_logosmall

Dennis O’Neil & Archie Goodwin AOL Chat

America Online Fan Chat with Dennis O’Neill and Archie Goodwin
Reprinted in Azrael #3
April 1995

On December 19, a week before Azrael #1 htit the stands, DC Comics held a question and answer session on AOL (America Online) With series writer Dennis O’Neil and editor Archie Goodwin fielding the questions. For those of you who missed the session, here’s the skinny on what went on…

What will be the driving premise behind Azrael?
Dennis: The driving premise will be a young man , striving to discover his identity and his place in the world. We’ll also play with the difference between men and angels, and men and super heroes.

Do you think the dark hero is a fad, or do you see this type of hero lasting forever?
Dennis: Batman has been a dark hero for 55 years. I don’t think dark is a heroic category. The coloration of the hero proceeds from the premise. In Azrael’s case you have a dark premise, someone who is driven to acts of violence by forced that are beyond his control.

Do you think that Azrael is freer now that he doesn’t have to be Batman?
Dennis: No, he is still a slave to the system, a victim to old compulsions. Some of what the series is about is Azrael’s attempt to free himself.
Archie: I think he’s in the process of earning that freedom.

Do you think it will be difficult to make Jean Paul a character readers can sympathize with – or even understand? He was pretty gone by the end of Knightfall and many of us just didn’t care anymore.
Dennis: We’re starting from way behind square one with Azrael. Normally, an audience’s feeling is neutral at first. We know in this case that a lot of people actually dislike him. To make him a hero, and a likeable one, is the biggest challenge we face. It’s one of the hardest things I’ve tried in 29 years of writing comic books.
Archie: From the time we Sword of Azrael it seemed Jean Paul had the potential to be more than just the role he was given in Knightfall. This book will let us realize that potential.

Will Azrael be a Batman book like Robin, or a spinoff, like Catwoman?
Dennis: A spinoff like Catwoman.
Archie: Bit interacting with Bats a couple times a year.

How will Jean Paul suppress his will to kill, or will he?
Dennis: That’s what the first story arc is about, his quest to control that. That is his particular ‘grail.’

What role will Oracle play in Azrael and the DCU?
Dennis: In the DCU an increasingly important one. In Azrael she will be a continuing character.

Will Azrael wander forever or find a city to adopt and continue to fight crime like Batman?
Dennis: Eventually, he will find a home.
Will there be any guest stars lined up for Azrael’s first year?
Dennis: Batman is in issues #1 and #2, Ra’s Al Ghul in #5, and Robin and Nightwing eventually, although I can’t say exactly when.

Who will be Azrael’s enemies?
Dennis: Initially, The Order of St. dumas. That will take us through the first six issues. After that, we’ll see.

Will Azrael meet Bane again, and on what terms?
Archie: I don’t think they’ll be dating.
Dennis: It is quite likely that Azrael will run up against all of Batman’s enemies.
Archie: Actually the Batfolk HAVE Bane plans; enough to keep him occupied for a bit.

What role, if any, will the homeless people play in the Showcase ’94 story?
Dennis: There are no plans for them.
Archie: Although Jean Paul’s initial situation gets close to that in a way.

Will there be any crossovers like Batman VS Predator?
Archie: We’re getting Azrael up on his way. That takes time. Maybe in the second year.

Whatever happened to the dwarf guy [Nomoz] from Sword of Azrael?
Archie: I don’t know, I hope Dennis can get sveral issues out of answering that sometime soon.
Dennis: Azrael will meet him again sometime between issues #7-12.

Will we meet Jean Paul’s mother?
Dennis: Very interesting question. The question of Jean Paul’s mother will have a lot to do with his problems.

Will Azrael be meeting the more mystical side of the DCU? Such as the Spectre, Phantom Stranger, Fate, or will he stay urban and dark?
Dennis: Anything is possible. He will certainly meet the same characters that Batman runs into.
Archie: Since I edit Fate, I’d like to see it happen, but not until both are more clearly established.

Will Jean Paul destroy The Order of St. Dumas?
Archie: He may only wound them.

How will the rest of the DC Universe react to Azrael – a hero who they fought beside before but didn’t know it?
Dennis: It will depend on the individual characters. They will have an individual response if and when they meet.

A Somewhat related question having to do with Knightfall – is there a future for books like Knightfall? And will there be any more?
Archie: Only if the storyline justifies it. Our job, in part, is to come up with stories that do.
Dennis: There is a future as long as there are enough people who buy it and want to see more of it.

Speaking of Question, will he be making an appearance in Azrael?
Dennis: Very likely.

Will Azrael make an appearance in The New Adventures of Batman and Robin?
No, that series is now also done with production.

Any suggestions for up and coming writers?
Archie: Read outside of comics. Write, write, write, submit and don’t get discouraged.

Any chance Nightwing will go up against Azrael?
Archie: I’d like to see it, but no immediate plans unless Dennis says otherwise.
Dennis: Nightwing will certainly meet Azrael. I don’t know if it will be in a combative situation. Super heroes don’t have to fight every time they meet.

Super heroes don’t have to fight every time they meet.

Video

Batman The Animated Series Style Fan-Made Knightfall Video
Created by Allan Agustin

Azrael: Agent of the Bat (1998-2003)

aotb47Issue No. 47 – December 1998
A Man of Wealth and Taste – Batman sends Azrael to watch over Senator Halivan, a key figure in the relief support funds for Gotham City. The charismatic rockstar Nicholas Scratch befriends the unsuspecting senator in order to kill him. His first attempt is failed only to personally kill Halivan himself.

 

 

 

 

 
aotb48Issue No. 48 – January 1999
Scratching The Surface – Things aren’t looking good for Azrael as Nicholas Scratch frames Azrael as the killer of Senator Halivan. With crowd amateur footage of Scratch and Azrael fighting on a stage Batman orders Azrael to burn his suit.

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb49Issue No. 49 – February 1999
Gotham City Must Die – He’s been framed for murder and rejected by his mentor, as well as being stripped of his very identity. As Gotham City’s relief funds teeter on the brink of destruction Azrael tries to sway remaining votes of senators who could make or break the decision.

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb50Issue No. 50 – March 1999
Resurrection – With Azrael framed Batman gives Jean Paul a new costume to wear and finally accepts him somewhat as a team player asking him to look more into Nicholas Scratch to find out what just what exactly his true motives are. The question remains though whether or not the system will work with a different costume.

 

 

 

 

 
aotb51Issue No. 51 – April 1999
Miracle Run – With his old costume destroyed Jean Paul has no choice but to dawn the new suit given to him by Batman. Not long after putting it on he is attacked by Scratch’s men, and than hit by lightening which awakens and breathes new life into the new Azrael.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

aotb52Issue No. 52 – Devil Down Below – May 1999
Azrael continues his month long chase of Nick Scratch into Gotham and has a run-in with Calibax who is taking out civilians left and right in the city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb53Issue No. 53 – June 1999
Jellybean Deathtrap – Azrael is asked to go after the Joker who has set up shop in a small section of Gotham he is now claiming his territory. Calibax and Nick Scratch still roam the city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb54Issue No. 54 – July 1999
Step Into The Light – Azrael finally meets Oracle face to face and gains an adopted sister in her. I guess that would make her further flirting with him awkward. Meanwhile someone is dancing and killing the homeless in Gotham.

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb55Issue No. 55 – August 1999
Misery Dance – Azrael faces off and takes down the mysterious dancing surgeon in Gotham. Along the way he saves Barbara from getting killed, and helps out Dr. Tompkins.

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb56Issue No. 56 – September 1999
The Night Fortold! – The new Batgirl shows up to help out Jean Paul and Dr. Tompkins. Jean Paul finds out where Nick Scratch is and infiltrates, only to be found and captured. How Scratch was able to gain his manipulative powers and turn his life around is revealed.

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb57Issue No. 57 – October 1999
Scratched Out! – His costume taken away, Jean Paul is powerless as Scratch’s followers beat him pretty severly. Waiting in the wings, Nightwing, Robin and Batgirl quietly take over 3 dozen guns from Scratch’s followers. Jean Paul tricks Scratch into giving him his costume, enabling his powers to come back, defeating Scratch and showing his followers who he really is.

 

 

 

 

 
aotb58Issue No. 58 – November 1999
Jean Paul’s day of judgement comes as he comes face to face with Saint Dumas, the man responsible for the Order of St. Dumas himself.

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb59Issue No. 59 – December 1999
Batman puts Azrael on yet another protective mission, this time to ensure Catwoman makes it to him with information that he thinks may be able to help Gotham City, and his most important mission yet. That is if Catwoman is able to make it to the city.

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb60Issue No. 60 – January 2000
Evacuation – Batman sends Azrael along with the new Batgirl on a mission to evacuate an area of the city where the final battle against the Joker and Harley Quinn is to ensue.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb61Issue No. 61 – February 2000
It’s the holiday season and Azrael and Batgirl unwrap more of the Joker’s hideous plan as he ruins the festivities for everyone. No Man’s Land continues with the clown prince’s kidnapping of the Christmas spirit.

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb62Issue No. 62 – March 2000
It’s a new year and Jean Paul wants to make changes in his life. Making a promise to Dr. Tompkins he won’t hurt anyone for 24 hours. Bruce Wayne buys a church to be used as a second hospital and Brian returns!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb63Issue No. 63 – April 2000
The Quakists – Huntress comes to town to stake out a group calling themselves the Quakists. Nick Scratch has a plan up his sleeve as he tricks Brian and Jean Paul into thinking he has reformed. Jean Paul drugs the two in a plan to brainwash Jean Paul by secretly giving him his old Azrael suit back.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb64Issue No. 64 – May 2000
Fugitive – Believing that he has killed again, Jean Paul is on the run at war within himself. He tries to enlist help from Dr. Tompkins who wants him to give up being Azrael altogether for a normal life as a gentleman.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb65Issue No. 65 – June 2000
The Witness – Azrael’s a fugitive and only Batman can help him. Using good old fashioned detective skills, Batman finds that Scratch not only poisoned Azrael and Brian, but also strangled the man Azrael was accused of murdering.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb66Issue No. 66 – July 2000
New Order – Jean Paul celebrates his birthday – his first ever – and his new life without Azrael. Lilhy returns to Gotham with a faux Azrael, killing for artifacts from the Order of St. Dumas. Meanwhile Batman comes across information that the woman who Jean Paul came from is still alive.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb67Issue No. 67 – August 2000
Maternal Instinct – With Oracle and Batman’s help, a book from the Order of St. Dumas is translated revealing that Jean Paul’s mother may still be alive. With the blessing of Dr. Thompkins, Jean Paul is on his way by plane to an area where his mother is believed to be. Meanwhile, Lilhy and her new Azrael are keeping close tabs on Jean Paul as she sends her Azrael to follow him.

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb68Issue No. 68 – September 2000
Mirage – With the plane crashed in the desert, Jean Paul runs into none other than Nomoz who assists him as they are taken to a mercenary military base. Jean Paul meets the woman who may possibly be his mother, only for her to be shot in trying to save him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb69Issue No. 69 – October 2000
Jean Paul, Nomoz, the General, and the faux Azrael make their way through the desert only to be hunted down by the generals men. Jean Paul dons his Azrael costumes and he and the new Azrael team up for survival.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb70Issue No. 70 – November 2000
Prophet Part 1 – Cry For Atonement – Jean Paul heads back to the desert in search of Dr. Leslie’s brother Jeremiah with Bruce’s blessing. Jean Paul accepts help from General McGog and searches for Jeremiah who has taken the faux Azrael under his wing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb71Issue No. 71 – December 2000
Prophet Part 2 – Brothers – Taken hostage by Jeremiah and the faux Azrael, Jean Paul and his driver are interrogated. In amn unconscious haze, Jean Paul figures out where this new Azrael came from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb72Issue No. 72 – January 2001
Prophet Part 3 – Hell & Back – The faux Azrael shows mercy on Jean Paul and sends him off to the desert, General McGog’s men are slain when they go after Jeremiah as he begins to plot his holy war.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb73Issue No. 73 – February 2001
Losses (One of Three) – Homecoming – Jeremiah and faux Azrael start going on a killing spree more fueled by Jeremiah’s revenge than his supposed holy war. Jean Paul makes his way back to the ruins of the order where Nomaz has nursed him back to health and provides him a plan back to Gotham.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb74Issue No. 74 – March 2001
Losses (Part Two of Three) – Accused – Jean Paul and Batman team up to stop Jeremiah’s holy war which has now made its way to Gotham. Jeremiah also makes plans to have his Azrael kill Lilhy as she sets up a meeting with him and Jean Paul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb75Issue No. 75 – April 2001
Losses (Part Three of Three) – Fallen Angel – Jean Paul is shot by Lilhy, Jeremiah and faux Azrael escape to the ruins of The Order of St Dumas where Jean Paul must save Lilhy. Now in yet another suit, Jean Paul fights the faux Azrael to the death

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb76Issue No. 76 – May 2001
There Shall Be A Beginning – Still in the mountains for a month and a half mourning the death of the faux Azrael, Jean Paul decides to set up new quarters in the quarters of a cavernous mountain owned by The order of St. Dumas. With Batman’s blessing and Harold’s help, this will be Jean Paul’s new base of operations just outside of the small town of Ossaville.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb77Issue No 77 – June 2001
Poison Road – Azrael meets Mr. Prymm, the man responsible for much illness quickly spreading throughout Ossaville and neighboring small towns as he spills toxic wastes into the water system. Harold outfits Jean Paul’s gloves with a flaming shot they refer to as ‘Angel’s Wrath.’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb78Issue No. 78 – July 2001
The Amazing Adventures of Captain Death! – Somebody’s up to no good working the graveyard shift in a town obsessed with a 15 minutes of fame movie character called Captain Death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb79Issue No. 79 – August 2001
Driven To Extremes – Azrael thwarts a school bus hijacking and, of all things finally wins over Bruce when he tells him he is proud of him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb80Issue No. 80 – September 2001
Deadly Faux – After Azrael is framed for a robbery Oracle and Jean Paul do some digging to find out that it was set up by the Sobek Society and its head, Garm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb81Issue No. 81 – October 2001
Azrael becomes a victim of a series of tests by Garm, but there’s no immunity for Jean Paul at the end. Once Jean Paul reveals the secret of his power Gram flees

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb82Issue No. 82 – November 2001
What makes Azrael Tick?
Azrael Works – Garm’s thirst for knowledge about Jean Paul leads him to dig up the grave of the faux Azrael for further dissection. With the help of Oracle, Jean Paul makes his way to Garm’s lighthouse to recover the body.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb83Issue 83. – December 2001
Joker’s Last Laugh
Twisted Sister – The Evil Men Do… – Lilhy’s decides to visit the Joker in a maximum security prison where she, as wlel as the inmates, are gassed with Joker’s laugh toxin. After speaking with him she decides that she is unsure if she is evil and tries to burn down an retirement home. In the end Azrael stops the fire from escalating and gives Lilhy a question to ponder.

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb84Issue 84 – January 2002
Wahoo!
A former baseball player goes on a killing spree and only Azrael can stop him. The player, Wahoo!, turns out to be a metahuman who Azrael very easily defeats.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb85Issue 85 – February 2002
The Sentinel
Spartan has fought in America’s shadows for so long that it’s warped his judgement of his country’s ideals. At his grandmother’s request, Azrael must catch Spartan before the local law does. In the midst of the chase Spartan and Azrael team-up to save a woman from falling off of a cliff.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb86Issue 86 – March 2002
Rescues
A crooked police officer in the jail holding Spartan until trial decides that he is going to execute him himself. Azrael is called upon to take matters into his own hands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb87Issue 87 – April 2002
Kenny
Jean Paul cuts a deal with sister Lilhy – in exchange for a second chance for the Spartan, he must bring track down a particular metahuman for her. Meanwhile, Barbara is worried about Jean Paul’s increasing strength and brings him to see Dr. Tompkins for some testing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb88Issue 88 – May 2002
Nightwing Begins the Search!
Lost and Found – Azrael takes on more than he can handle as he is ambushed by the metahuman and his brother. Barbara calls on Nightwing to find Jean Paul as Dr. Tompkins find out that Azrael’s chemistry is coming to the point of death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb89Issue 89 – June 2002
Double Trouble
Sibling Rivalry – Jean Paul and Nightwing take on two two metahuman brothers while Nightwing begs Jean Paul to go back to Gotham.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb90Issue 90 – July 2002
What Goes Around…
Denial – After delivering the metahumans to Lilhy Jean Paul visits Dr. Tompkins only to find that he could die any day. The news sends him into a frenzy as he storms out to Wayne Manor, specifically the bat cave for a version of his old bat suit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb91Issue 91 – August 2002
Bruce Wayne: Fugitive – Rogue Agent!
Confession – in a battle between Jean Paul and Batman in the Batcave Jean Paul destroys the bat computer while Batman tracks down Jean Paul to his home base in the mountains in Ossaville. While confronting him there, Bruce finds that Jean Paul is once again being driven mad by the spirit of St. Dumas as the mountain is triggered to explode.

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb92Issue 92 – September 2002
Deliver Us from Evil!
New Boss – The devastating explosion leads Batman to conclude that Jean Paul is dead, giving Jean Paul and St. Dumas the opportunity to plan their next move; leadership of the ‘new’ order of St. Dumas . To do so however requires Jean Paul to take down its new leader and sometime ally, Lilhy. His hallucinations of St. Dumas order him to belittle Lilhy and make her his servant.

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb93Issue 93 – October 2002
Hollier Than Thou!
Reordered – After trying to poison Jean Paul Lilhy flees to Palm Springs where she meets up with Carlton LeHah whom she asks to kill Azrael as the demon Biis. Still dressed in his old Batman suit, Jean Paul is on a one-man spree cleaning up crime in Gotham again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb94Issue 94 – November 2002
From the heavens Above…To the Hell Below!
Endgame – Azrael is asked by a politician to go on a rescue mission in Santa Prisca only to return and find that he now has an ally in rebuilding the Order of St. Dumas. Jean Paul expresses his disdain to Nightwing, Robin, Oracle, and Dr. Tompkins for never truly accepting him to bending to Batmans will, making each of them take a look at themselves.

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb95Issue 95 – December 2002
Hero of the people!
The Azraelites! – Azrael’s madness finds himself ambushed by his oldest foe, Carlton LeHah as the demon Biis. Jean Paul defeats him without his suit on and gets LeHah to serve him before going after Two-Face in an abandoned bowling alley.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb96Issue 96 – January 2003
Two-Faces of Evil
The White Place – After easily defeating Two-Face Azrael saves a child from the burning bowling alley with much love and praise from the press. He seen receives warning in a vision from St. Dumas that his new politician friend may be using him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb97Issue 97 – February 2003
Snow Angel
Angels In Disguise – An hour before the Christmas Eve press conference Jean Paul is told that it is cancelled, only to have Nicholas Scratch impersonating him in a baggy white Azrael costume. Jean Paul almost gets mugged walking the snowy streets of Gotham and brings a man to a church to keep him from freezing to death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb98Issue 98 – March 2003
Patricide
Combat – With the strange malady that afflicts Jean Paul pushing him closer to the brink of death, and madness, Dr. Tompkins has hope that she may find a cure for Jean Paul in the most unlikely of places. Jean Paul visits Brian for the last time to retrieve his Azrael suit to have a one-on-one with the demons that plague his head – the spirit of St. Dumas and his father.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb99Issue 99 – April 2003
Last Respects
Lost & Found – Batman is defeated in battle against Azrael, and then saved after almost drowning in a freezing river. Nicholas Scratch inpersonates Azrael again at a press conference while Dr. Tompkins takes Jean Paul to meet Shondra Kinsolving in hopes that she can cure him of the illness that should have killed him long ago, as well as his loss of sanity.

 

 

 

 

 

 
aotb100Issue 100 – May 2003
Fallen Angel
Full Cycle – More than a decade after his debut, the life of Jean Paul Valley comes to an end in this issue that finds Azrael coming full circle as he is shot by Carlton LeHah as Biis, falling to his death from a balcony. This all happens after he promises Dr. Thompkins that this evening will be the last that he dons his Azrael suit – how true those words become.

Azrael (1995-1998)

v01Issue No. 1 – February 1995
Fallen Angel …Some Say In Fire… – In this first issue we find out what has become of Jean-Paul Valley after Bruce Wayne has reclaimed the mantle of the Bat and banished from The Batcave and Wayne Manor – he’s homeless, broken, and has virtually no memory. Not only that, thanks to The System, he is also hallucinating situations to be much more than they are. Jean Paul befriends a now homeless former psychiatrist named Brian. Batman and Robin make a short cameo in the issue as Batman decides that Jean-Paul is still his responsibility. At the same time, it seems that The Order of St. Dumas is trying to train someone to become the new Azrael. The issue ends with Jean-Paul sitting upright in a bed at a homeless shelter which is being burned down by thugs he has encountered twice in the issue.

 

 

 

v02Issue No. 2 – March 1995
Fallen Angel: 2 …Some Say In Ice… – Batman saves Jean Paul and gives him a nice care package – 100,000.00, information on how to find The Order of St. Dumas and his Azrael costume as Batman is sure that Jean Paul may need it on his journey. Jean Paul seeks out Brian to accompany him on his journey to the order in Die Eistathedrale (Translated Ice Cathedral). The order is made aware of Jean Paul and Brain’s presence and sets out to murder him by sending their hopeful replacement to finish the job common hired thugs could not.

 

 

 

v03Issue No. 3 – April 1995
Fallen Angel: 3 …The Proposition – Jean Paul makes his way to the Ice Cathedral and meets sister Lilhy and Rollo, the Arch Bishop. St. Dumas himself tells Rollo there are people around him plotting his death. Rollo will not give Jean Paul information regarding The System, Lilhy however offers the information in exchange for slaying Rollo. In turn, Rollo makes a deal with the Azrael in training to slay Jean Paul and protect him in exchange to become the next Azrael.

 

 

 

 

v04Issue No. 4 – May 1995
Fallen Angel: 4 …Escape – Jean Paul fights the new Azrael in training and allows him to plummet to an icy grave. With Sister Lilhy’s help, he and Brian attempt to escape the Ice Cathedral as Brother Rollo and the Acolytes try to capture Azrael and sister Lilhy to be punished for treason.

 

 

 

 

 

v05Issue No. 5 – June 1995
Fallen Angel:5 …The Abduction – Azrael, Brian and Sister Lilhy escape the Ice Cathedral via an underground lake. Using Oracle, they make their way to Mobari, Africa for answers regarding The System. This leads to a meeting with Ras Al Gaul.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

v06Issue No. 6 – July 1995
Fallen Angel:6 …The Temptation – Jean Paul meets Ras Al Gaul and Talia and finds himself tested for Ras’ amusement. Ras offers Talia and a life beyond Jean Paul’s dreams if he will serve him – and is denied. Ras does respect him though and offers to help in the journey in finding out more about his past and controlling The System.

 

 

 

 

 

 

v07Issue No. 7 – August 1995
Fallen Angel: 7 …The Curse – Talia takes Jean Paul, Sister Lilhy and Brain as close to the caverns as she can. Azrael eventually meets the one who is responsible for the programming of each of the Azrael’s and is mortified to find out that he is kind of a test tube baby from pre-birth. The issue ends with Jean Paul enraged, destroying the cavern and its programmer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

v08Issue No. 8 – September 1995
Azrael At Large: The Silence – Now knowing his birth origins, Jean Paul is devastated. Sister Lilhy and Brian gather up books of alchemy that make up the background in which The Order of St. Dumas is based on and leave via hovercraft only to be shot at by possible new enemies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

v09Issue No. 9 – October 1995
Azrael, Brian and Sister Lilhy make their way back to Ras Al Gaul’s to be tended to by Talia. Azrael is still in shock and not speaking. Interestingly enough though, he seems to be controlling himself only injuring and not killing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

v10Issue No. 10 – November 1995
Arena – The Order of St. Dumas version of Azrael has made his way to a Gotham Karate match; and he’s wearing Azrael’s Nightfall Batman costume in hopes of luring Azrael out. His deal is revealed and Batman is lured out into a rooftop battle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

v11Issue No. 11 – December 1995
Azrael Rising Part 1 – Sister Lilhy and Brian meet up with batman in Gotham City where it is revealed Azrael has been sitting quietly in the Batcave for the past 3 days. Azrael leaves Alfred’s watch to visit Sondra Kinsolving where he is greeted by Alfred, Sister Lilhy and Brian, who somewhat analyzed Azrael.

 

 

 

 

 

 

v12Issue No. 12 – January 1996
Angel Rising Part 2 – Azrael rescues the kidnapped Sondra Kinsolving from Nug and Kluber, telling the scared woman she is her guardian angel.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

v13Issue No. 13 – February 1996
Demon Time (Part 1: Returned) – Lots of surprises in this issue. Nightwing spars a bit with Azrael. Sister Lithy finds herself attracted to Nightwing and kisses him, making Jean Paul feel like a jealous kid. Simon LeHah also returns as Biis.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

v14Issue No. 14 – March 1996
Demon Time (Part 2: Revenge) – Azrael faces LeHah as Biis, effortlessly defeating him. Sister Lilhy admits feelings for Jean Paul to Brian.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

v15Issue No. 15 – April 1996
Requiem For An Immortal – As Part 4 of the ‘Contagion’ series, this issue really detracts from the Azrael storyline as Azrael teams up with Catwoman and Tracker to find Fong, a man who seems immune to the virus spreading in Gotham. Unfortunately Fong thinks he is immortal and accidentally stabs himself to death.

 

 

 

 

 

 

v16Issue No. 16 – May 1996
Part 10 of the ‘Contagion’ series, it is revealed that the virus plaguing Gotham originated from The Order of St. Dumas on accident. Thanks to books taken from the trio’s visit to North Africa sent to Brian by Talia, Sister Lithy is able to find the antidote which Azrael brings to Gotham. The issue ends with Tim Drake possibly being claimed by the virus.

 

 

 

 

 

 
v17Issue No. 17 – June 1996
Angel In Flames Part 1: A Distant Savior – Kluber and :: :: make a brief appearance seeking revenge on Azrael, only to be sent back to prison. Jean Paul leaves to meet with an old collegue of Brian’s, Mathias Orchid on a small island in the tropics in hopes of being cured of the system’s deprogramming.

 

 

 

 

 

 
v18Issue No. 18 – July 1996
Azrael encounters one of Dr. Orchid’s other patients and things get large.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
v19Issue No. 19 – August 1996
Angel In Flames Part 3: Save The Innocents – Dr. Orchid somehow separates Azrael from Jean Paul. In a fight between Orchid’s brother and Azrael, humanity comes into play and Azrael leaves the fight to save Orchid’s daughter, enabling her to leave the island as it is being evacuating while a volcano goes off.

 

 

 

 

 

 
v20Issue No. 20 – September 1996
Conclusion: Angel In Flames: A Prayer of Fire – The Orchid brothers make peace with each other and Azrael saves them both from the volcano, and the earthquakes that are being caused due to the eruption. The issue ends with Jean Paul coming face to face with Azrael asking it to let him be.

 

 

 

 

 

 
v21Issue No. 21 – October 1996
Angel In Hiding Part 1: Renunciation – Lots of surprises in this issue as Jean Paul returns to Sister Lilhy and Brian free of Azrael. Jean Paul also moves back into his old place, reenrolls in university and finally asks Lilhy out on a date. Through all of this it turns out Nomoz has been keeping an eye on Jean Paul and reporting back to Rollo who is told by St. Dumas spirit to leave Jean Paul and Lilhy be. Unfortunatly Rollo has other plans and wants to exact revenge on them and kill Nomoz, kidnapping Lilhy and Brian while Jean Paul is now defenseless to stop them.

 

 

 

 

 
v22Issue No. 22 – November 1996
Angel In Hiding Part 2 – Nomoz saves Jean Paul and the two make a compromise to save Jean Paul save Lilhy and Brian and bring down Rollo who is corrupting the Order of St. Dumas. Nomoz proves to have a bit of a sense of humor. Jean Paul asks Batman to accompany them but is met with refusal, but does offer aid and requests Jean Paul put back on the suit of Azrael once more if he is to succeed.

 

 

 

 

 

 
v23Issue No. 23 – December 1996
Angel In Hiding Part 3: Prelude To War – Disguised, Bruce Wayne helps out Jean Paul, Sister Lilhy, Brian and Nomoz as they get to North Africa. Rollo sends acolytes dressed as demons and Biis into to further scare Jean Paul as the systems programming is brought back to life by Nomoz.

 

 

 

 

 

 

v24Issue No. 24 – January 1997
Angel At War Part 1: The Fall of St. Dumas – With Jean Paul now Azrael again, the four venture back to the Ice Cathedral to take care of Rollo who is continuing to directly disobey The Order of St. Dumas. It is also mentioned that there is a Mother of St. Dumas who is even more powerful.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
v25Issue No. 25 – February 1997
Angel At War Part 2: The Fall of St. Dumas – Possibly the most fast paced issue yet, the Dwarflings are ordered to kill Azrael and Lilhy but are turned against Rolo after Nomoz reminds them how they are going against the orders laws. After careful thought of how powerful the order is, it is decided that Azrael must keep Rolo alive for it could cause economic crisis throughout the world. Rollo in turn tricks Azrael and Lilhy into taking him to where the spirit of The Mother of St. Dumas is contained where he intends to use it to destroy the planet.

 

 

 

 

 
v26Issue No. 26 – March 1997
Angel At War Part 3: Conclusion of The Fall of St. Dumas – As the story concludes Rolo has all of the Dwarflings slain leaving Nomoz the last of his kind. As the Mother of St. Dumas expands it collapses the entire Ice Cathedral, and with it the Order of St. Dumas itself. The story ends with the Cathedral destroyed, and the head of St. Dumas, along with books of it’s ways in the snow as the foursome leave.

 

 

 

 

 

 
v27Issue No. 27 – April 1997
Angel Insane Part 1: Entry – Grey Abbott is locked away in Arkham Asylum for losing it on a shopping mall Santa Clause. After relocating to Mexico City, Lilhy is now trying to keep things together as the order is no longer. It is decided that Azrael should get Grey Abbott out of Arkham in hopes that he might use his knowledge to better help mankind. Upon infiltrating Arkham, Azrael’s fire sets off fire alarms which in turn let all inmates out of their cells causing a battle between Killer Croc and Azrael.

 

 

 

 

 

 
v28Issue No. 28 – May 1997
Angel Insane Part 2: Exit – Being held captive by the inmates in Arkham, the Joker is wearing the Azrael suit and eventually sets his head on fire. Grey Abbott has somehow gained the trust of all of the inmates but halfway through changes sides and helps Azrael to escape. Abbott has other motives and wants to take Killer Croc with him and instead chooses to stay behind then leave without him.

 

 

 

 

 

 
v29Issue No. 29 – June 1997
Angel Errant Part 1: Descent – Lihy’s interest in Jean Paul seems to have faded as she has moved onto a French businessman, and Jean Paul and Brian have a heart to heart about it. Luckily Ras Al Gaul’s daughter Talia has come to seek out Jean Paul romantically before she is captured by one of her her fathers’ enemies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
v30Issue No. 30 – July 1997
Angel Errant Part 2: Descent – Ras Al Gaul has courted Azrael to marry Talia, however declines the offer and decides Azrael must die instead when he learns that Azrael’s blood is not pure what holds animal genes as well. After escaping, Azrael returns home broken, only to find that Lihy is leaving with Luc for France, leaving Jean Paul heart broken and alone.

 

 

 

 

 

 
v31Issue No. 31 – August 1997
Angel and the Monster Maker: Vampire – Depressed, Jean Paul goes back to Gotham to see Batman and ask if he needs help with anything explaining what has transpired over the past few months. Batman however has no need of him and sends him off on what he thinks is a wild chase for a supposed vampire in a neighboring city where he finds a vampire feeding on the homeless.

 

 

 

 

 

 
v32Issue No. 32 – September 1997
Angel and the Monster Maker: Werewolf – Still in the rundown city, Azrael finds himself face to face with another odd creature, this time a werewolf. With the help of Oracle, he is starting to figure out just who is behind these movie monsters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
v33Issue No. 33 – October 1997
Angel and the Monster Maker: Epiphany – Azrael finally comes face to face with the father and son monster makers, only to be practically crippled by the father turned octopus monster. Amidst the battle Jean Paul gets a serum splashed onto him that temporarily turns him into an angel with wings and all, flying throughout the city. It doesn’t last long however as he comes back down to earth and the battle between good and evil within himself continues.

 

 

 

 

 

 
v34Issue No. 34 – November 1997
Genesis – As if the monsters weren’t enough, now Azrael has to encounter a Parademon who wants his soul. Eventually he wins, but only due to him showing that he isn’t just a fighter, but has a heart, thanks in part to Azrael helping out a kid whose father no longer wants anything to do with him.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
v35Issue No. 35 – December 1997
While checking in on the young friend he met in the previous issue, Jean Paul finds that the kid sis very ill and the hospital needs a relative on hand, leading Azrael to hunt him down. In turn he teams up with Hitman who has been contracted out to find the father as well for other reasons.

 

 

 

 

 

 
v36Issue No. 36 – January 1998
Azrael and Bane – A few unexpected guests as Bane returns and is on the run with Batman sending Azrael to go after him. Meanwhile Lilhy returns using her feminine wilds to coerce Jean Paul to come back to Mexico with her. Trick or does she actually want him back?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
v37Issue No. 37 – February 1998
Having a change of heart, Jean Paul leaves Lilhy at the airport and instead heads to Florida to go after Bane. Along the way he is joined by Nomoz who, without the order has no other purpose except to help out Azrael. On the way, Bane frees his old right hand man Bird and injects him with a new and improved Venom formula and has him go after Jean Paul, almost defeating him, but not before Bane can have his turn.

 

 

 

 

 

 
v38Issue No. 38 – March 1998
Azrael continues to fight Bane until he and Nomoz are captured and brought aboard Bane’s ship en route to Santa Prisca. While captive Azrael and Bane are injected with the new Venom formula which enables them to escape, but also may addict them as well. With proof of the new Venom’s strength in Azrael, Bane shows him off to his potential buys who see the effects firsthand.

 

 

 

 

 

 
v39Issue No. 39 – April 1998
Angel and the Bane: Finally to Vanquish – Kidnapped by Bane and used as his test subject for the new venom formula, Azrael manages to escape, taking Nomoz with him into the woods where he breaks his addiction over the night. After regaining strength, Azrael goes back to defeat Bane, not just by brute force, but this time through skill and smarts.

 

 

 

 

 

 
v40Issue No. 40 – May 1998
Hour of the Quake – Returning to Gotham to hand Bane over to the authorities, Gotham is rocked with a massive earthquake just as Bane is being turned over to the Gotham police. Bane escapes through the cities destruction only to be beaten by Azrael yet again and literally dragged back to justice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
v41Issue No. 41 – June 1998
Taking a ship to Mexico to see Lilhy and Brian, Jean Paul is thrown off of the ship in a brief storm and ends up in of all places a pirate ship! Forced to combat the pirates and their leader, Azrael eventually stabs him and finds himself back in the water brought back onto the ship wondering if the whole pirate debacle was just a hallucination.

 

 

 

 

 

 
v42Issue No. 42 – July 1998
Welcome To Eden – Jean Paul finds yet another detour on his journey to Mexico when the ships motor goes out and him and a few on board are welcomed to stay on an sland paradise. The paradise turns out to be of other intentions as it’s owner has been slowly drugging it’s guests.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
v43Issue No. 43 – August 1998
Homecoming – Finally returning to Mexico Jean Paul is ambushed and put to work by Luc and his men. Eventually he is able to make his way out, but not before Luc has beaten Brian and Lilhy a bit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
v44Issue No. 44 – September 1998
Angel and the Beast: The Crash – With Luc on the run, Lilhy takes matters into her own hands and hunts him down on horseback with Azrael not far behind. Not knowing her intentions he is unsure whether he will have to take both down.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
v45Issue No. 45 – October 1998
Angel and the Beast: Deathstroke – Calibax seems to make everyone in his presence tired on his island. Azrael and Deathstroke go head to head before teaming up.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
v46Issue No. 46 – November 1998
Guardian Angel – Calibax is now in Gotham while his parents have contracted out Death Stroke to take him out. In Mexico Lilhy asks Jean Paul to help her rebuild The Order of St Dumas – he refuses and takes Brian with him back to Gotham where he takes down Calibax.