gotham tagged posts

Knightquest – The Search

jltask5coverJustice League: Task Force
Knightquest – The Search
Issue No 5 – October 1993
Death In The Caribbean
Outfitted with a wheelchair ready for battle, Bruce and Alfred head to the island of Santa Prisca in search of Jack Drake and Dr. Shondra Kinsolving. Upon arrival, they are attacked by local assassins but are saved by Bronze Tiger. After checking into a local hotel that caters to drug dealers, Bruce meets up with Gypsy and Bronze Tiger who spy on the locals to find that Jack Drake is not doing well while the locals shoot a bazooka directly at the hotel to kill Bruce and Alfred!






jltask6coverJustice League: Task Force
Knightquest – The Search
Issue No 6 – November 1993
Bronze Tiger and Gypsy are ambushed as they try to uncover Bruce and Alfred from the rubble of the hotel, unbeknownst to them that they are safe by way of a tent in the chair off grounds. Bronze Tiger and Gypsy meet up with Green Arrow to face Asps, kidnapper of Dr Kinsolving and Jack Drake. Though they are able to rescue Kinsolving, she willingly boards a helicopter with Asp not wanting to leave Drake in his current state. Bruce charters a yacht more determined then ever to rescue to the two.






shadowbat21coverBatman – Shadow of the Bat
Knightquest – The Search
Issue No 21 – November 1993
Bruce Wayne: Part 1 – The Hood
Now in London, Bruce and Alfred seek out local vigilante The Hood to break into MI5 to steal the file on Dr. Kinsolving and Jack Drake’s kidnapper, Benedict Asp. They come to find out that Asp is described as a ‘freelance psychic consultant,’ and his intentions with Dr. Kinsolving are to use her long dormant healing powers to harness and reverse, causing death instead. In London, Asp is to hold a ball which Bruce intends to attend.






shadowbat22coverBatman – Shadow of the Bat
Knightquest – The Search
Issue No 22 – December 1993
Bruce Wayne: Part 2 – A Day In The Death of an English Village
Attending Asps’ ball as Sir Hemingford Grey, Bruce gets closer to finding Dr. Kinsolvng and Jack Drake. Using her powers, Asp demonstrates the death of a small nearby village. When she steps out, Bruce recognizes her but not him in his disguise. The Hood, along with an agent from MI5 also close in on Asp.








shadowbat23coverBatman – Shadow of the Bat
Knightquest – The Search
Issue No 23 – January 1994
Bruce Wayne: Part 3 – The Curse of the Bat
Not pleased that Sir Hemingford Grey seems to know Dr. Kinsolving, he orders his men to dispose of him. Bruce however holds his own and is saved by the Hood after he crashes in having discovered the death of the nearby village. Hood promises not to tell anyone that Hemingford, Bruce, is actually Batman and Bruce vows to bring down Asp for his crimes.







legendsof59coverBatman: Legends of the Dark Knight
Knightquest – The Search
Issue No 59 – March 1994
Quarry – Part 1
Bruce continues in his pursuit of Dr. Kinsolving and her captor, Benedict Asp when their secret is revealed; they are brother and sister who can harness their power only when in each others presence!








legendsof60coverBatman: Legends of the Dark Knight
Knightquest – The Search
Issue No 60 – April 1994
Quarry – Part 2
Asp threatens to kill four heads of state through his combined familial powers. Afraid that Bruce Wayne may become a target, Alfred leaves Bruce and heads back to Gotham to ask Batman if he can look after Bruce, but Jean Paul is reluctant. Bruce plans to be captured by Asp in an attempt to get closer to the duo.







legendsof61coverBatman: Legends of the Dark Knight
Knightquest – The Search
Issue No 61 – June 1994
Quarry – Part 3
Going according to his plan, Bruce is captured by Asp during a hurricane hitting the island. Asp figures out that Bruce Wayne is really Batman and Dr. Kinsolving uses her powers to heal Bruce, but in doing so mentally reverts herself to the state of a child. Asp disappears and is assumed dead.





Knightfall – Who Rules The Night

detective664coverDetective Comics
Knightfall Part 12
Issue No 664 – July 1993
Who Rules The Night
To prove supremacy, Bane takes Batman’s unconscious body into the heart of Gotham and throws him from a roof into the town square for all to see. Disguised as medics, Alfred, Tim and Jean Paul arrive at the scene in an ambulance to take Batman back to the cave to stabilize him. Robin calls in a favor from Commissioner Gordon for medication to aid in Bruce’s condition. Meanwhile upon hearing the news about Batman Joker sees no need to work with Scarecrow anymore and turns on him.





showcase937coverShowcase ’93
Knightfall Part 13
Issue No 7 – July 1993
Face 2 Face Part 1 – Double Cross
As Alfred and Robin look after Bruce, Robin recounts an event a few weeks prior where he felt just as helpless when Two-Face returned to Gotham. While investigating, Batman is set up and a bridge is blown, sending the Batmobile into the river.







showcase938coverShowcase ’93
Knightfall Part 14
Issue No 8 – August 1993
Face 2 Face Part 2 – Bad Judgement
An exhausted Batman is captured by Two-Face as his body is fished out of the river. Batman is brought to the original Gotham City Municipal Courthouse where the trial that scarred him, turning him into Two-Face occurred. Robin is able to figure out where Batman is taken and crashes the party, enabling Batman to gain the upperhand and initialy saves Two-Face from falling from the building after a bad decision made by Robin. Meanwhile Batman begins to become conscious.






Knightfall Part 15
Issue 498 – August 1993
Knights In Darkness
With Batman out of commission, Bane begins to attack and absorb gangs in Gotham as well as capture Catwoman and want her to pay tribute to him.  and Tim create a mock car wreck and ask Dr. Shondra Kinsolving to be Bruce’s personal Doctor in aiding in his recovery. Bruce asks Tim to go to Jean Paul and ask him to become Batman with the explicit instructions not to go after Bane. The duo meet Comissioner Gordon letting him know that the Batman may be injured but is not out of the game just yet and will make Bane pay.






shadowbat16coverShadow Of The Bat
Knightfall (Interlude)
Issue No 16 – September 1993
The God of Fear – Part 1
Note: Though not a numbered issue of the Knightsaga, this issue is considered a part of it due to being a mission with Jean Paul as Batman prior to batsuit modifications. Scarecrow uses his fear toxin to get a group of Gotham University students and staff. Meanwhile Anarky escapes believing that Batman is the cause of the city’s problems and must be stopped.







shadowbat17coverShadow Of The Bat
Knightfall (Interlude)
Issue No 17 – September 1993
The God of Fear – Part 2
Discovering that one of the students is the son of the first man that he ever killed, Scarecrow uses him as a special part of his plan. At 10 at night, the Scarecrow has the students release his fear toxin throughout the city and claims himself the ‘God of Fear.’ In discovering Scarecrow’s plans, Anarky devises a plan to ry and take down both Scarecrow and Batman at once.







shadowbat18coverShadow Of The Bat
Knightfall (Interlude)
Issue No 17 – September 1993
The God of Fear – Part 3
With both Batman and Anarky after him, Scarecrow gives the people of Gotham City 2 hours to declare him the ‘God of Fear.’ Being caught on a rooftop, Scarecrow throws the student over the building as bait; Anarky saves him while Batman goes after Scarecrow who is able to overcome his fear toxin. He ten lets Anarky know that next time they meet he will kill him for standing in his way.







detective665coverDetective Comics
Knightfall Part 16
Issue No 498 – August 1993
Lightning Changes
With the city in chaos, Robin and Jean Paul as Batman go into the city to start breaking up street crimes and make the presence of Batman known. Jean Paul begins to go a bit too far with his brand of justice and is reminded that Batman does not go the way of brutality. Robin sticks by Jean Paul to keep an eye on him deciding against telling Bruce. Batman shakes down ‘Tough Tony’ Bressi to get a lead on Bane. Meanwhile Bruce pays Dr. Kinsolving a visit next door at Jack Drake’s home where he witnesses her being kidnapped. In trying to stop it, Bruce is further injured.





Knightfall – Part 17
Issue 499 – September 1993
The Venom Connection
Bruce and Alfred ready for a trip to Santa Prisca to rescue the kidnapped Dr. Kinsolving and Jack Drake. Bruce tells Jean Paul to keep up the good work while he is gone. While in flight, Bruce and Alfred discover that Selina Kyle has stowed away on the Wayne jet. After taking down some of Bane’s men, Jean Paul returns to the cave and designs new gauntlets as an addition to the costume to become tougher.






detective666coverDetective Comics
Knightfall – Part 18
Issue No 666 – September 1993
The Devil You Know
With Bane’s men in custody, Batman devises a plan to find where Bane is hiding out. Batman breaks out Bane’s main henchman – Zombie, Trogg and Bird, leading them to believe that Bane helped them escape. He follows them to the hideout to encounter Bane, not realizing Bane is ready for him.







Knightfall – Part 19
Issue No 500 – October 1993
Dark Angel
Note: This issue was released with two covers, the newstand version (Shown to the left), and a foil die-cut variant, seen in black and white below.
Showing supremacy over ‘the imposter,’ Bane dangles the new Batman over a building in the same square where he threw Bruce. Batman is able to overcome serious injury from the fall but blames the suit for his failed encounter. Allowing ‘The System’ to take over, Jean Paul designs a new batsuit that he feels will be better suited for him over the classic batsuit. Meanwhile Nightwing meets with Robin to discover Bruce gone and Jean Paul as the new Batman, wondering why he was not asked to stand in.
In the second part of the story, Jean Paul is now clad in his new batsuit and ready to take down Bane, publicly. As the police watch, Mayor Krol intervenes and asks the police to stand down and let Batman take care of Bane. The battle ensues throughout Gotham until Jean Paul discovers Bane’s weakness is his dependency on Venom. Once he shuts that off, he unleashes his new suits full arsenal on him, leaving Bane begging Batman to take his life as he declares him the real Batman. Robin also congratulates Jean Paul, letting him know he has earned the right to be Batman now before heading off into the night.

Previews Interview with Dennis O’Neil

Previews Magazine
October 1994
Volume IV, No 10

DC’s Killer Angel

Dennis O’Neil is doing monthly comics again after doing them for over 25 years. As usual, he’s handing the editorial chores over to long-time friend and co-worker Archie Goodwin, and teaming with artist Barry Kitson on Azrael – a new ongoing monthly that will shed plenty of light on yet another dark and fascinating corner of the Batman mythos.

Interview by Michael R. Smith

“If man’s an angel,” ruminates a character in The Killer Angel, Michael Shaara’s Pulitzer Prize-Winning account of the battle of Gettysburg, “Then sure, he’s a murderin’ angel.” What Shaara applied metaphorically to the whole human race is literally true for Azrael, the avenging angel of the Order of St. Dumas, first introduced two years ago in DC’s Sword of Azrael miniseries. Then, he was a brutal and remorseless assassin conditioned from birth to serve as the Order’s defender and all-around hitman. At the time, DC couldn’t reveal just how important Azrael would be to the future of everyone’s favorite Dark Knight detective, but the book was a sensation, anyway, due in large part to the strength and execution of the story and the exceptional artwork of Joe Quesada and Kevin Nowlan.

As with that project, reader’s will once again find Dennis O’Neil’s name on the splash page of Azrael, an all-new, ongoing monthly that DC will add to its Batman family of titles this December. O’Neil – THE MAN when it comes to any and all things Batman, is bringing plenty of things to the project: an understanding of the mythological underpinnings of superhero comics; an abiding love for rough-and-tumble action scenes; and the enduring command of narrative craft that can only emerge from three decades in the comic book business. He’s been described as ‘Heavy’ by his co-workers-which is ironic for a slight, introspective man with a deep commitment to pacifism and vegetarianism. But like most comic book writers, he strikes an agreeable balance between intellect and instinct; between the desire to bring depth to a work, and the action-intensive requirements of the form. Azrael clearly demands both.

Last June, we spoke about Denny about “Knightfall,” the landmark storyline that re-introduced readers to Jean Paul Valley: the bland, slightly befuddled young man who would later become the heir to Batman’s mantle as protector of Gotham City. Since then, Bruce and Jean Paul have endured the worst-and Denny has been there every step of the way. In a recent telephone conversation, he shared with us his plans for Azrael – what he’s calling the “grandest paranoid dream” ever attempted in comics. Coming from the man who created Ras Al Ghul, we tend to believe it.

Looking back, was Knightfall a success, in whatever way you define that word?
Definitely. In fact, I think it was more of a success than it’s being given credit for. It was, without a question, a commercial success. But we also tried to do some fairly difficult things with the story, and I am not aware of any failures. I mean, nobody has written me a letter shooting the whole thing full of holes. There is one criticism that really irks me though, which I’ve seen twice in print. Basically, it says that Azrael was a ‘trial balloon,’ to see whether or not the audience would accept a tougher, meaner Batman. Of course, if you simply read the stories and have some working knowledge of how things are put together – that is of how far ahead we have to plan…well, I think it’s pretty clear that Azrael could never have been created for that purpose. The whole thing had been plotted out well in advance. In the end, it was precisely what we wanted it to be: a 70+ grand, graphic novel that explored the theme of what a hero is in the ‘90’s.
So, no regrets but neither do I want to do something like it again any time in the near future. Professionally, it was the toughest two years of my life. I’m delighted that we tried it. I also feel like a tremendous weight has been lifted because the other editors and I have been living in fear that we’d somehow missed something – some crucial flaw that would deconstruct the whole damn thing. So far, that hasn’t happened.

How would you characterize the fundamental differences between Batman and Azrael, or between Bruce and Jean Paul if that makes a difference? Bruce is very aware of what he is and how that contributes to what he does. He is not moved by internal or external forces that he doesn’t already understand. Jean Paul on the other hand, has virtually no idea who he really is. He is, in the worst possible way, ignorant. Think about it: he had a rotten childhood he can barely remember; conversely, Bruce remembers his childhood, which was, up until that one critical moment, a very happy and privileged one – all too well. So they are at extremely opposite ends of the psychological spectrum.
Some critics and writers have accused Batman of being insane. But I’ve never seen it that way, precisely because of that element of self-awareness. He’s a guy who’s made a choice to let the results of a severe childhood trauma govern his life. But in our reading of the mythos, he could, and probably will, stop at some time. The difference of course, is that someone who is compulsive has no control over his actions. Batman is not deranged. Jean Paul may very well be, on some level. We also saw him manifest some classic symptoms of mental imbalance: hearing voices and seeing things that aren’t there. If anything, he’s delusional.

You’ve said that your working model for this new series is Arthurian lore, particularly the quests. Is that what Azrael is looking for: himself?
Precisely.  That is his grail. In our first Azrael story arc, Jean Paul will discover the truth about himself. Then, with his identity firmly established in his own mind, we’ll see about getting him some control over his powers. He’ll finally be able to use those powers; right now, they’re using him. I expect that the initial arc will run six or seven issues.

But if nearly all of the living members of the Order of St. Dumas were killed by Biis in Sword of Azrael, how is Jean Paull going to learn anything about it or his relationship to it?
Well, for one thing, don’t be sure that Biis wiped out the Order. As we’ll learn in the new series, the Order of St. Dumas is a VERY secret organization. There’s much more to it than what was revealed in Sword of Azrael, and learning those secrets is part of Jean Paul’s mission. In Sword of Azrael, the Order was more of a plot device than anything else. But in the new series, I’m exploring it more thoroughly. It turns out that the Order is more powerful than anyone imagined because it has been able to manipulate history. Take science for example: In Azrael we’ll learn that alchemy actually works, but that the Order suppressed that information some time during the 16th century so that only they could use it.

Did you base the Order on any historical antecedent?
Very loosely. The Knights Templar – a 14th century group of celibate warriors who became very rich during the Crusades is about as close as you’ll get. The Knights Templar provided Dashiell Hammett with the Maltese Falcon: it was supposed to have been a bird that the Templars created to send to the Pope. In our reading of the story we’ll also use the Knights as a point of departure. The Order of St. Dumas is, for us, a splinter group of the Knights Templar, which is led by a raving lunatic called Dumas. At one point he declares himself a Saint. The Pope gently reminds Dumas, by way of emissaries, that he can’t be a Saint, if for no other reason than that Saints are customarily dead. So Dumas kills the messengers. At that point he really goes off the deep end and splits violently with any existing religious order or church. He sets up his own church, and it’s one fundamental tenant is absolute secrecy. That’s why Azrael exists: it’s a hereditary position dedicated to killing anybody who may betray the existence of the Order. Still, in the course of six centuries information has escaped. Certain people know or suspect something about it.

Sounds more like the Illuminati than a group of monks.
Good analogy. The Illuminati is in the back of my mind, in fact in one of the early issues of Azrael, a character refers to the fact that the Illuminati was yet another blind alley created by the Order to divert attention away from themselves. In a sense, the Order is the ultimate secret society.

How do Bruce, Alfred, and Tim factor into all of this?
Bruce functions as the herald. In the first story, he realizes that his treatment of Jean Paul after the whole Knightfall affair was a monumental blunder. At the end of Legends of the Dark Knight issue 63, Bruce just sends this hapless, mixed up kid on his own merry way. I wrote it that way for maximum drama. But logically, it was pretty rotten of Bruce to treat him so cavalierly. So in Azrael, Bruce tries to make good with Jean Paul by equipping him for the quest. What he says is, “Look, Jean Paul, I’m Bruce Wayne, one of the richest men in the world, and the world’s greatest detective. I’ve learned some things about the Order of St. Dumas. Here’s where I think they’re headquartered, and here’s a couple of million bucks to get you started.”
In other words, Azrael is a Batman continuity book in the same way that Robin and Catwoman are. Our first story begins in Gotham, where we find that Jean Paul is a lost, wondering soul without hope or direction. Occasionally, he’ll black out, and when he comes out of it he discovers that he’s beaten up three muggers. He can do spectacular things, but he can barely remember that he was Batman.

In the Sword of Azrael miniseries, you seemed to be playing with the relationship between fate and providence; between rationalism (everything has a natural, scientific explanation) and the life of faith (it is the will of God). In what ways will the new Azrael series explore these same kinds of theological questions?
The semantics of this are tricky, because I am not a lampooning, satirizing, or in any way criticizing religion. After all, my wife teaches religion in Catholic school; one of my assistants is a devout Jew, and the other two are devout Catholics. So yes, there is a religious dimension to Azrael, if by religion you mean things like rituals, traditions, and those kinds of things. I see no reason not incorporate some of that into the comic book. But I’m not in the business of insulting people, and if I were to mount a screed against some faith or aspect of what religion has become, I probably wouldn’t do it in a comic book. Instead, what I do is use some elements of traditional religion as story components. Hopefully, I’ll succeed in sending signals to my readers that this book is not about Protestantism, Catholicism, Judaism, Mohammedanism, or any specific faith. What will emerge in the stories are things that are common to most religions. Grail mythology, which is closely tied to religion is my starting point, but I would also like to work something in about angels into the mix because Azrael is, in two near eastern religions, an avenging angel.

So there is a historical analog for Azrael’s name?
Sure. Look it up in any dictionary of mythology. He’s an avenging angel in Mohammedanism and Judaism. After all, he was created to be the ‘anti-Batman.’ With that in mind, I set out to find a natural adversary for the bat in the animal kingdom. Unfortunately, there aren’t many. Bats are actually very benevolent creatures. All I could come up with two: Owls (but there had already been an Owl-Man, and Owls had the wrong vibe anyways) and man (but ‘Man-Man’ just doesn’t sing as a superhero). Finally, I came across Azrael-maybe in Funk and Wagnall’s Encyclopedia of mythology. It was, in the end, precisely what we were looking for.

There seems to be a tendency in popular fiction-comics or non- to fall into the same old traps when treating theological/supernatural material: corrupt priests, impure nuns, greedy televangelists, etc…
Lately, that does seem to be true. Back in the early seventies, it was true that by putting a clerical character into a story you were taking a great chance. I guess that comics back then were still very much under the influence of fifties era editorial policies. Any authority figure of any stripe was automatically a cross between Mahatma Gandhi, the Buddha, and Jesus Christ. Now; and this may be my age speaking, the pendulum does seem to have swung too far into the other direction. I’ve been as guilty of it as anybody. Protestant ministers have approached me at conventions and said, “Well, if you find a Protestant Minister in your comics these days you know who the bad guys are going to be.” Some stuff that I’ve read recently seems to be taking gratuitous shots at the Catholic clergy. The negatives of organized religion; the evil that it has done, as well as the good, is a topic that I will willingly discuss at any time, and at length, with anyone who is interested. My wife and I have had hundreds of discussions about it over the years, but that’s an entirely different thing than taking cheap shots in comic books. That’s not my style.

Still, John Ostrander seems to avoid it in the Spectre, and you in Sword of Azrael. What’s the secret?
Maybe it’s because John and I co-teach the same comics writing class.  John and I vibrate in synch and agree on all sorts of things, which is why we’re teaching the course at SVA (the School of Visual Arts on 23rd Street in Manhattan: Will Eisner, Walt Simonson, Carmine Infantino, and Claus Janson, among others, all teach courses there).

Speaking of your colleagues: how would you describe your working relationship with Archie Goodwin who is editing the new series? Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t you both ‘come up’ together?
Archie’s been in this racket a year or two longer than I have. I’m very grateful for his presence at this company, because without him, I’d be the oldest editor at DC Comics. Our working relationship is about as good as it gets. I trust him unequivocally-but that doesn’t mean that he gets away with murder. On at least one recent project, he demanded more re-writing then I am used to doing, and thank God for it. He’s an incredible backstop for the creative people, and that’s what great editors do: curb our excesses, catch our mistakes, and provide a sounding board.
I’d been in the business about five years before I met Archie. We were both at Marvel during the mid-sixties. Years later I was a superhero editor at Marvel while Archie was in charge of their Epic line. Still, we weren’t quite colleagues. But since we’ve both come back to DC we’ve had this reciprocal arrangement. Sometimes I’ll edit Archie’s work, and vice-versa. I have unqualified respect for Archie and his skills. He’s one of the best, and I’m glad that he’s here to moderate some of my more radical ideas in Azrael.

What powers, beyond those we’ve already seen in Knightfall, will Azrael manifest in the new series?
Think of the ultimate Hong Kong martial arts hero-you know, the guys in the Jackie Chan action movies or in movies like Once Upon A Time In China, who do stuff that even Batman can’t do. That’s what we’re shooting for with Azrael’s powers: the extreme, upper-most level of what is possible for a human being. He’s not super-human, but in a way, he’s close.

So all of this talk about theology and medieval history aside, Azrael is still a kick ass action book.
That’s why people read superhero comics! After all these years I can still respond to that stuff. As I said in the afterword to the Knightfall Graphic Novel, I don’t feel at all demeaned by writing action-oriented superhero comic books. It’s good, solid entertainment, and not the easiest thing in the world to do well. There’s a phrase of James Agee’s that I keep coming back to: the very difficult job of being ‘merely entertaining.” I do need to emphasize, because we sometimes sound very intellectual when we have these discussions, that that’s all that I’m interested in doing. Insofar as I use mythology and theology, I use it to better tell the most entertaining stories that I can.

Of all that you’ve written, which is your favorite Batman story?
That’s a tough one. As a job of story construction, I think that, ‘A Vow from the Grave,’ drawn by Neal Adams and Dick Giordano, from Detective Comics, was one of my best. It’s the only time that I’ve ever been satisfied with a detective story written by me for a Batman comic book. It plays absolutely fair with the reader. All he clues are there, and if you pay attention you can solve the mystery. I think on that one I solved the technical problems of a 15-page detective tale, and delivered a pretty good story at the same time. As a longer work, I think ‘Venom,’ from Legends of the Dark Knight worked very well. ‘Birth of the Demon,’ the Graphic novel I did with Norm Breyfogle, is also one of my favorites, but it never sold particularly well.

Does it ever bother you that a creative success may not necessarily translate into a financial one?
Sometimes. You can never predict it ahead of time. The perceived quality of a work in the end may have no bearing on its commercial success. Bu that’s just the nature of most popular art forms. Good novels go unread; good movies unseen. It’s frustrating, because I know that the kinds of things that have made me the most money are a long, long way from my best work. So in that sense, you sort of feel like a fraud. Of course, the whole collector-speculator explosion really skewed the whole economics of the entire comic book business. Fortunately, at least the speculator factor in that equation appears to be dead. I heard that the last three QVC shows actually lost money.

Did you appear in any of those?
No, that was very much against company policy for DC editors. They offered me a great deal of money to do it, but Paul Levitz feels that it’s not a great idea for a DC editor, and I don’t disagree. If nothing else, you could be put into the awkward position of appearing to endorse a competitors product, or coming across a churl.
Right now, the business is in a re-trenching mode. But when the dust finally settles, were going to be left with readers who enjoy comics as entertainment, and not as commodities. Ultimately, that is going to be very good for the long-term health of the comic book business.

Azrael on Gotham

View below my edit of the the episodes ‘Pinewood,’ ‘Azrael,’ and ‘Unleashed’ from Season 2 of Gotham.
This video does not contain the entirety of these three episodes, instead is an edit of the parts to the Azrael
part of the show. This episode is only a stream and not a download, please allow a few minutes to let the
stream load.


Here are some printables for Azrael Cubeecraft (yes that’s spelled right). Please note these take steady hands and a bit of patience to make, but are quite fun! All you need is a color printer, scissors, and a hobby knife or small blade (be careful, this is where the steady hand and patience comes into play). It is recommended that you use thicker paper such as high gloss photo paper. Be sure to also give a good hour or two for ink to dry after printing as well. There are many quick how to tutorials on YouTube if confused on where to start with your cubecraft.

Azrael Cubeecraft – Download
(Created by Joshua Wolf)

Knightfall Azrael Cubeecraft – Download
(Created by MysterDD)

Knightsend Azrael Cubeecraft – Download

Batman: Sword of Azrael (Motion Comic Video)


Instead of copy/pasting the original News section into here I just thought I would archive it here.
Read below all ‘new’ News!

March 16th, 2016
JPV is on the cover of this weeks issue of Batman and Robin Eternal! That’s right, Azrael is in issue #24…however he is only on pages 13 & 14. Still though, having the cover of the issue must mean that he is sure to have more face time in the next issues!

February 15th, 2016
In stores now (if you can find them) is the ‘Knightfall Batman’ 3.75″ figure of Jean Paul Valley as Batman from the Batman Arkham Origins series of figures from the Multiverse line put out by Mattel. If you can’t find the figure in stores (I’ve been searching since early December when they started shipping) you can pick one up off of Amazon. The figure he highly detailed and dare I say ALMOST as good as the Hasbro DC Super heroes figure released in 1999. You can check out a pic of the figure in its package that I posted on Instagram here.

February 13th, 2015
If you follow us on Instagram (if you don’t why not!) then you saw the images I posted today of Theo Galavan on Gotham as Azrael! His suit looks very similar to the one that JPV is currently wearing…coincidence? This also looks like a very clever marketing move on DC’s part to help build even more interest in Azrael with the official trade paperback of the original Azrael solo series due out next month and Azrael’s introduction into the current ‘New 52’ continuity. Only time will tell as the series continues on the 28th of this month!

January 20th, 2016
You seriously need to pick up issue #16 of Batman and Robin Eternal – awesome team-up of JPV, Red Robin and Red Hood! The plot thickens and you won’t believe the turn of events.

January 13th, 2016
The new year brings JPV back in this weeks issue of Batman and Robin Eternal. This issue has a bit more background on the Order of St. Dumas, as well as the person who currently sits as figurehead. A really warped last page as well. Issue #15 is out now!

December 9th, 2015
This weeks issue of Batman and Robin Eternal gives us a bit more insight on Jean Paul Valley as Azrael. He’s also sporting a very ’90’s era haircut as he uses some interesting new powers to not only mess with Bane, but Red Robin as well. Check out all the insanity in issue #10 out now!

December 2nd, 2015
It’s official! It’s finally happened! This week’s issue of Batman and Robin Eternal marks the official debut of Jean Paul Valley, the REAL Azrael in the ‘New 52!’ This is pretty much the best news that could possibly be announced this winter as far as I’m concerned, so go out and pick up issue #9 now to see that insane pic of JPV on Pg 20!

November 17th, 2015
Last night’s episode of Gotham – did you see those member of the Order of St Dumas marching into Gotham? Something tells me we may be seeing an Azrael. If we are though it definitly will not be Jean Paul Valley as he is about 10 years younger then Bruce. However, that doesn’t mean that we couldn’t see his father Ludovac as Azrael!

October 20th, 2015
Did you catch last night’s episode of Gotham? The real ring leader of the whole ‘Rise of the Villains’ that the show is taking this season just revealed that Theo Galavan actually coms from a family called ‘St Dumas’ and an Order of families that controlled Gotham city. Could this be the beginning of seeing the Order of St Dumas and possibly even an Azrael on the show?

An Interview with Sergio Cariello

An Interview with Sergio Cariello
By: Jek Tezak

Sergio Cariello has drawn our hero for some time now. We have some questions for you Sergio, related to the the art of Azrael. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule at DC Comics to do this interview.

How did you land the job of doing the art for Azrael: Agent of the Bat?
Denny requested me as the regular Artist on Azrael after working with me on Legends of the Dark Knight #127 to #131.( Bats /Green Arrow mini-series).

Did you read Azrael previous to getting the job of doing the art?
I had read a few issues prior to getting the job.

We know that the Azrael line will eventually come to an end at issue #100. Will there be any hype for the last issue, like chromium, cardstock covers?
I really don’t know if the last last issue will get any special treatment.

What line will you do after the Azrael line is finished?
Only God knows for sure what I’m gonna be doing after Azrael.

As in our interview with Joe Quesada, he said that many artists had trouble drawing the Azbats armor. You seem to draw it quite well in fact, was it hard to keep drawing a complex piece like that, frame after frame?
I had fun doing the Azbat suit. I didn’t have a problem with it.

Can you give us an idea of what it takes to complete an issue of Azrael?
It takes a month of hard work.

1)I start by doing small, 4×6 mini version/layout version of the whole book, from Denny’s scripts,in about 2 days…

2)I then transfer 11 of those layouts to the boards in about one day

3) and fax them, reduced, to Mike Carlin, so he can place the balloons while

4) I mail the actual boards to the letterer. While Jack Morelli letters the first batch of pgs

5) I work on the last 11 pgs. In a few days I get the first 11 boards back from Jack, lettered and with the panel borders inked.

6)So now I’m ready to ink the pages, adding enough details to the rough layout pencils before inking them. I’ll get the last pgs from Jack before I’m even done with the first 11 pgs. By the end of the month I get to work on the next book layout. After all is done

7) I’ll erase all the pencils. Add or white out whatever is necessary before sending the pages to DC Comics. That’s about it.

It takes a lot of of prayers, references, erasing, reworking, long hours on the board, juggling between teaching at the Kubert School and other projects, lots of coffee, lots of ink, paper, pencil leads, more erasers and a great amount of fun!!!! I love it!!!!!

In your very honest opinion, what do you think of the character?
I really enjoy drawing Az, JP and the rest of the characters. I think JP is a bit confused and insecure, but he has some good qualities as a person. He just needs to be pointed in the right direction.

How long have you been in the comic industry?
About 11 years in America. But my first published work was in Brazil, in the local Newspapers. I was 11, back in 1975. I wrote, drew and lettered my own comic strip, Frederico, the Detective! And later, at 14 , I did caricatures for political spot illustrations, before coming to America in 1985.

Where did you go to school, or is your talent natural?
I believe it’s a God given talent!. I’ve been drawing since I could hold a pencil.I was mainly “self taught” but I did go to the Kubert school for a year and a half, before getting hired by Marvel as a letterer. One job led to another…so I never really went after the work… I’ve been Blessed, for sure, by the Best Artist of all, Our Creator!!!

An Interview with Joe Quesada

An Interview with Joe Quesada

By: Jek Tezak

Joe Quesada has designed our hero and the Azrael version of Batman as well. We have some questions for you Joe, related to the creation of Azrael and the Knightfall storylines. Thanks for taking the time out of your busy schedule at Marvel Comics to do this interview.

In creating the Azrael character in the visual sense, what things helped you design the character?
When I received the assignment I went that very same day to a military bookstore here in NYC called Sky Books, heck I don’t even know if they’re still around? Anyway, I picked up as many books as I could find on mediaeval warfare and knights and such and started my visual work there. All I was told by Denny and Archie with respect to art direction was that we needed an old Azrael and a new Azrael so when the son takes over the mantle. Oh, and Denny wanted a this guy to have a flaming sword!

What costume did you design first: Azrael/Batman Knightsend, Azrael/Batman Knightquest, Azrael updated, or Azrael ancient version?
Ancient Azrael came first because I wanted to work in sequence and I wanted to design the modern version in a logical fashion. Once the Ancient design was complete, I would then look at ways of streamlining and modernizing it for the young Knight of the Order of Saint Dumas on the go. After that was done, Denny’s art direction with respect to AzBat was to design the most outrageously over the top, near impossible Batman war machine costume that I could think of. He wanted me to go nuts but the costume had to be modular so that there was a bare bones version that could have gear added onto it as Jean Paul started to lose a grip on being Batman. I don’t know how many people know that the costume was designed to echo his mental state or rather the breaking down of his mental state. So, my approach on AzBats was opposite of Azrael. I design the final version and then broke it down to the bare bones version which was going to be the first version seen by the fans.

I noticed that the final Azrael/Batman costume changed during Knightquest. It was a different look than what we seen in the Wizard magazines. Did you redesign the helmet and suit of Knightsend Batman?
See above, it was designed to grow with Jean Paul. What was funny about the costume is that it was design to suit my art style and a lot of other artist had trouble with it. It was too complex in many ways to draw economically panel after panel. I swear I could hear Batman artists across America cursing my name for those designs.

How many different designs did you have of the new Batman?
Here’s a little history. At that time in my life, all the top artist were going to Image or were living at Marvel, all I wanted to do was draw Batman. I wanted to be one of the regular guys on one of the regular Batman titles at the time. I told Denny and everyone there that I would make Batman a top 10 book if they gave me the gig. Well, they didn’t but what they offered me was Azrael which wasn’t going to have too much Batman in it. What it did have to offer was three things, Denny was writing it, Archie was editing it and if I took the job, I would get to design the new Batman! Then we got Kevin Nowlan and I couldn’t say no. So, all the while that I was drawing the Az series, I knew that I was going to be designing the AzBats war machine and all the while I was working it out in my head. I do most of my work like that. By the time it came time to design AzBat I was pretty much set on the design. There might have been some sketchy throw-away stuff but most of the work was done in a few passes.

Did you know what you wanted Azrael and the new Batman to look like before you started?
Azrael took research and AzBats, as I said, was in the works mentally.

I heard stories about how involved you were with the creation of Azrael. I’ve heard that you suggested inkers, colorists, and letterers. Tell us a little bit on how your bosses reacted to your enthusiasm.
Well, if you folks know me now, I wasn’t any less enthusiastic then. I love what I do and it’s always been fun for me. I remember suggesting Kevin Nowlan, which at the time was like suggesting the King of England. At that time in Kevin’s career, he was amazingly respected as an artist and designer but Kevin wasn’t doing much in comics that we were aware of. He was one of those geniuses that graced our industry for a tiny bit and was too slow to produce regular work. Therefore, I believe that most people were skittish about using him. They also figured why would a master like Kevin lower himself to ink some punk like me? Truth be told, I thought the same. Still, the major concern was would Kevin deliver on his deadlines especially over a newcomer who wasn’t great with them either. I had Kevin ink a couple of pin-ups I did at Marvel a few months earlier and my attitude was that it couldn’t hurt to call the guy! So when Kevin accepted we were off and rolling. I believe that Archie recommended the rest of the team but I was reasonably involved in all aspects of process. Since Denny was working full script, I also marked balloon placements since I was designing the artwork to work around them.

Do you have any little known facts or secrets that fans don’t know about the Bat-summit meetings or the creation of Azrael/Knightfall?
You mean aside from all the stuff I just revealed? Okay, I’ll tell you three stories I don’t think I’ve ever told publicly.

When Denny suggested the flaming sword of Azrael he was expecting both versions to have long flaming broad swords. When he and Archie saw Ancient Azrael first they loved him and said, “Looks great, let’s see the dad’s costume!” I was like, “Uh, guys, this is the dad.” When I whipped out the design for young Azrael, I think Denny more than anyone was a bit disappointed, not because I think he didn’t like the way it looked but because it looked different than what he expected or perhaps had in his minds eye. Still, I think it grew on him over time. I thought it was the most inspirational part of the design and really worked around the idea. The idea of course sprung from the concept behind Wolverine’s claws which always gave the character a great iconic profile but never made sense to me in execution. How can he bend his arms at the elbow when those things are retracted? So I thought about how cool something like Wolvie’s claws would be on fire and in a contraption that made sense. I’m still very proud of the Azrael costume, I think even to this day it looks like nothing else out there.

Then there was the Wizard AzBat cover! I received a call from Wizard asking me to do a cover with the new AzBat costume on it. I was thrilled and the person I was dealing with said that it was all cleared. I killed myself on that cover and I was pretty happy with it at the time. But something was nagging me and I called Patty Jeres, who is one of my favorite people up there. I said, “Patty, you gave Wizard approval to show AzBat right? I was told you guys approved the assignment?” As it turned out both parties had their signals crossed and stuff was approved but not quite what I was assigned to draw.. So I got Wizard to send me the cover back and I had to do it all in silhouette which still looked pretty good.

The other never before told AzBat story happens right around the time I hand in the final pencil designs for the new AzBat war machine. I hand delivered them by hand and I’m not sure if I gave them to Denny or Archie, probably Denny. Regardless, I was given a crappy faded Xerox copy of my pencils and they kept the originals. Well, some time goes by, and please keep in mind that Batman and Daredevil are my absolute favorite characters, and for some reason even though I called editors I can’t seem to get any Batman work. Also, a weird thing happens around this time, let me preface this by saying that this was right around the time of multiple distributors. There was Diamond, Capital and many smaller ones. So, one day I hear that some distributor, I believe in Hawaii has leaked the AzBat design in their catalog, this floored me because we were guarding this stuff like it was plans for a safe, clean nuclear reactor. I was pretty surprised by this but just figured some intern must have gotten a hold of the stuff off of someone’s desk and faxed it around. Okay, now here I am trying to get Batman work and it doesn’t come for at least a year.

A year later I get a Batman gig, I forget what the assignment was, perhaps a cover or a pin-up piece, I’ve forgotten. Anyway, when I handed in the piece an officer of the company asked me if I was glad the ban was finally over. I said, “Ban? Over? What are you talking about?” This person then proceeded to show me a document signed by someone in the Sales and Marketing department, who shall remain nameless, saying that I was to be prohibited from working on any Bat related things for a certain amount of time. It stated that I had leaked the designs to a distributor and they had placed it in their catalog. Now, what really kills me is not the ban, because if I had actually done what they said I had done then I would have understood and accepted my punishment. What killed me aside from the fact that I didn’t do it was that no one called me to ask if I did. No one even called me to tell me I was being punished, I just was.

You would think that someone like me who understood the importance of secrets and who had proven it by not revealing that Azrael was going to become Batman, that Batman was going to have his back broken and held on to that secret for a year and a half, could certainly keep themselves from faxing off drawings of the top secret redesigned Batman. The truth of the matter is that those drawings were probably sent off or ordered to be sent off by the same idiot in Sales and Marketing that had me banned in the first place. Realizing their mistake they needed a fall guy and I was fairly convenient. And, yes, this person is still there and they’ve probably been wondering for the last couple of years why I hate them so. Maybe now they’ll understand why.

Who created the symbol for the new Batman?
That would be me! I was so thrilled when I saw that on a T-shirt!

Did you suggest ideas where Azrael could go in terms of story direction?
Only slightly. I was too new to the game and too respectful of Denny and Archie to get into their business. My job was to tell the story in the clearest manner possible. Working with Denny and Archie was one of the highlights of my career, I can’t tell you how much I learned about story and story telling from those guys. To this day, my experience with Archie has help me create the template and the basis for my editorial vision at Marvel Knights and Marvel.

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.