the joker tagged posts
Comic Talk Magazine
Can you tell me how, after a rather long time off the book, you ended up writing Batman again?
The short answer is that Denny O’Neil asked me. What happened was, Peter Milligan had been writing Detective Comics and was getting off. Then Dennis asked me if I wanted to write Detective Comics and I didn’t really want to at first. I mean, I did, because I really liked Batman. He was also my favorite costumed character. But because of the past, I was a little hesitant. Than I thought, “I needed the work. Why not. He’s my kind of guy. I’ll do it again.”
Then we had this first meeting before I even wrote one issue of Detective Comics, one of those Bat-summits. At this meeting, a new book was created, Shadow of the Bat. Alan Grant, who had the tenure on Batman, was awarded the new book. Then Dennis said, “Well, I guess you move from Detective Comics to Batman.”
That’s how I got on Batman. Chuck Dixon was there because we were going to discuss the Robin mini-series. Now we have Alan Grant on Shadow of the Bat and me on Batman and no one on Detective Comics. Then Dennis said, “Hey Chuck, how about you do Detective Comics?” That’s how the whole thing came about.
What would be different for you doing Batman from Detective Comics?
Well, these days there really isn’t too much f a difference. In the past there were periodic attempts to focus more on Batman as an actual detective in Detective Comics, but it never seems to come out that way. I mean, there was as much detective work on Batman as there was in Detective Comics and as much action guy in Detective Comics as there was in Batman.
These days I think the only difference would be a slightly less appealing nature for Detective Comics because most of the big things would probably have to be done in Batman. In Detective Comics you could do perfectly fine stories, great stuff. It’s just that if anything really big were to occur, it would probably be reserved for Batman rather than Detective Comics.
And, of course, Batman sells better.
Right now, you’re leading up to a really big story in Batman issue 500.
We’re in it. I’m done with #500.
Can you tell us what’s going on?
Batman issue 500 is in two parts; it’s a double-sized issue. It’s Jim Aparo’s last story. He’ll be doing fill-ins and so on, but his last as a regular will be the first half of issue 500. Our new artist, Mike Manley, will do the second half.
The first half is technically the last part of Knightfall and the second half is the introduction to KnightQuest. The new costume appears for the first time on Mike Manley’s very first page, which is halfway through 500. Wel, it’ll appear on the cover too.
Would you compare what’s coming in issue 500 with The Death of Superman arc?
Obviously, they’re bot ‘big deal’ stunts. However, ours was actually, as far as I know, planned before the Death of Superman. We’ve been working on this for about a year and a half. And ours was delayed by a number of months; several times it kept getting delayed. It’s a good thing it was because it was evident that the Death of Superman was going to be a big dea. We would get lost in it if we tried to do ours at the same time.
Ours is not as big a deal in the sense that as a ‘high concept,’ how can you beat The Death of Superman? A guy who can’t die, right? We’re not doing anything that big on the surface. However, we’re doing something that, in certain ways, I feel is an even bigger deal by changing Batman in an extraordinary way.
I don’t want to put down the Death of Superman by saying ours is more than a good story that results in a stunt because I didn’t read all of it. I did read the death issue, but I didn’t read the ones leading up to it. So for all I know, maybe theirs was just as great.
But it seems like, basically…intrinsically, ours was a stronger idea. Except how can you be stronger than The Death of Superman?
What do you think about all of the rumors that have been flying about?
Well, I can tell you this: nobody dies. Bruce Wayne does not die. That rumor is false, absolutely false. Something big does happen to Bruce Wayne, but he does not die.
Have you heard anything? What reaction have you been getting from fans on stuff that they think is going to happen and what’s been going on so far?
Well, I got one death threat. An anonymous telephone call, ‘If Batman dies so do you.’ I was just at a couple of comic book shops this past Saturday doing a signing. As far as I could tell it was unanimous, at least among anybody who said anything. Some people just plunked the books down and I signed them and they didn’t say anything. But all the ones who spoke with me were really happy with what was going on. It surprised me because I don’t think the really good stuff has even started yet.
With Batman issue 497, it really kicks into high gear, followed by 498, 499, and 500, and the issues that Chuck did of Detective Comics fit right in there-I’m not sure of the numbers, but the are strong.
Have you ever had anything like a death threat before?
No other extreme fan reaction to your work?
Well, back when I worked at Marvel, I did this thing called Gabriel: Daredevil Hunter, which was in the middle of the Exorcist craze. I did get some weird stuff from witches and Satanists, but for some reason I didn’t take it that seriously at all. I didn’t really take this death threat seriously, but it was more to the point if you know what I mean. ‘The Batman dies, so do you.’ Boom. Then hang up the phone. I guess because the witches and the Satanists seemed so unreal in a sense we didn’t take any of the stuff that they sent me seriously. They didn’t call me. They sent stuff in the mail, amulets and that weird stuff. I just thought, ‘wow, these people are really out there.’
Okay, can you tell me how you see Batman, Robin, Azrael, and Catwoman in terms of differences and similarities?
Catwoman is very similar to Batman in a sense that she’s this creature of the night. But of course she’s a thief, which immediately makes for a dissimilarity. Theyre very similar, but on different sides.
However, Catwoman, like Batman, would never kill. So while she’s bad,’ she’s not evil or a murderess or anything like that. She’s not super-bad. She follows the tradition of the French cat burglar and all that stuff. Sort of an anti-hero.
She’s getting her own book now and will be doing many, many good things, as well as being a thief. We can’t condone her, but we can’t say that she’s out and out evil either.
Robin is a lot different from Batman. He’s young, and he’s not grim. His costume is brighter and flashier and so on. Yet he is being molded y Batman, so there are certain similarities. But he is a fresher, more buoyant kind of guy.
Arael is like Batman taken to the 9th degree. He’s another dark, very grim creature, but goes beyond where Batman stops.
You were writing Batman comics years ago…
Yeah, that was ’82, ’83 all the way through 1987. I wrote Batman and Detective Comics. Both of them.
How is it different now?
Basically, now we’re doing what I wanted to do then. I kept asking for a darker, grittier creature of the night type of stuff and I was frustrated in my attempts at trying to do that kind of thing.
Now, everybody sees things much more the way I wanted to see him back then. The character, in my absence, has become what I wanted to make it, so it’s very comfortable for me.
Not that I’m disowning the stuff that I did. I tried to do some of that darker, ethereal stuff back then. Some of it came off and some of it didn’t.
You see, Len Wein was the editor and he is very big on character and soap opera type stuff, so there was more of that on my first run on Batman. We’re doing mor of that now too, but it has a different feel to it.
One of the things that we had during your original run as Jason Tod as Robin. Did you think Jason Todd had to die?
No, of course not. Neither does Dennis, but once he committed to that phone thing, the vote, he was bound to abide by the result. He was shocked and even a little upset that the vote came to kill the kid.
I think that maybe these people are a little naive not to expect that, because the ones most likely to put out the effort to make the call are the active ones, rather than the passive ones who don’t want to see him die. They’re not as likely to pick up the phone and make a vote.
Even though I don’t think he had to die, I was not in favor of the character in the first place. I came on right after the issue that Jason Todd was introduced. I inherited him. People think that I created him, but I didn’t. That was Gerry Conway and Len. When I knew I was coming n the book before they did it, Gerry still had a couple of issues to write.
I asked, ‘Gee, do we have to do this? I’d rather not. Bring in a new Robin? Why? We don’t need a new Robin.’
Their attitude was a commercial one and I can’t say that it was wrong. At that point, Robin was in the New Teen Titans, which was actually selling better than Batman. That’s changed, but at that point, it was like New Teen Titans was more important than Batman. They wanted Robin with Titans rather than with Batman, but what’s Batman without Robin?
How do we solve this? We’ll come up with a new Robin. Then we’ll change the old Robin into someone else. Nightwing.
So I lost the argument. Actualy, What they wanted to do at the beginning was keep Dick Grayson as Robin and bring a new kid into Batman and call him something else.
Actually, I won that argument. If you’re going to have a new kid sidekick in Batman, it’s got to be called Robin. So why not change the other guy. And they agreed with me. ‘Yeah, that does make more sense.’
How is Tim Drake different from your interpretation of Jason?
I think he’s more carefree. Jason was a dark character and I felt like that was the way Jason had to be. Afterall, his parents had just been murdered and all of that. It’s a dark thing, so I made him kind of a troubled kid.
Whereas Tim has been much more able to overcome the death of his parents. Everybody has the death of their parents here. Ruce Wayne, Dick Grayson, Jason Todd, Tim Drake, Jean Paul Valley. Same thing for all of them.
Actually, not the death of Tim’s parents, just his mother. His father is still alive; they’re not talking though. He’s not as affected by that as the other characters. The devil-may-care approach is better for him.
Do you have any thoughts on the change they made with Jason, post-Crisis Jason? Once he was pretty much a normal kid, then he became a hood stealing the hubcaps off of the Batmobile.
I was not in favor of it. I don’t know if that was Denny’s idea or what, but I personally didn’t like it. I think it was max Allan Collin’s.
I would understand why they would do that because of what I just said, his origin was so similar to Dick Grayson’s. Again, I did not do that; that was Gerry Conway. So I an see why they would change that, but I don’t especially like the way they did it. I guess it’snot too bad, it just didn’t work for me personally. What can I say?
It seems lately that Superman has been developing and evolving. He proposed to Louis, revealed his identity, and eventually died. Do you think Batman can be that fluid in his evolution?
Oh yeah, I think in certain ways even moreso than that. We’re doing big things with Batman.
Really? It seems like Batman is just this Dark Knight who watches over Gotham City.
Well, ultimately, he always will be. But there are other aspects upon which big changes can be made, and we’re making them. I don’t think that there’s anything fundamentally wrong with him being the dark Knight, in fact that’s a big strength. Being a dark angel. That’s a perfect concept.
But is there any life for Bruce Wayne outside of being Batman?
Yeah, we’re going to focus on that in the future. We’ve had a number of meetings in which that was discussed and we have a number of ways to approach that.
Do you think Batman should interact more with the DC Universe or less?
Personally, and selfishly, I prefer less because he does not, by his nature, have super powers. He’s an ordinary guy who has trained himself to be extraordinary without the help of a yellow sun or a power ring or a chemical bath. He is totally different from the other ones.
I know that World’s Finest was a tradition in which Superman and Batman teamed up. ‘Golly gee, wasn’t it cool to see your two favorite guys, Superman and Batman together? Dramatically, the story never worked for me because I could never figure out why Superman needed Batman for anything. Except if you said, ‘Superman’s dumb, therefore he needs Batman’s detective mind.’ But that diminished Superman so it didn’t really work.
Similarly, I don’t think Batman works as well with any of the super-guys. However, commercially, and for the sake of continuity (which we all think is cool and nifty), he’ll be interacting with the other characters. He just won’t do it as much or as extensively as The Flash or Green Lantern getting together. That makes perfect sense. Superman and Wonder Woman…these things fit.
Batman is the odd man out. Yeah, he exists in the same reality as the other ones, but we just don’t dwell on it in the Batman books. In other words, when Batman needs one of these super-characters, it’s 99 out of 100 times going to be in the other book, not in Batman.
Do you think that when something major happens in the DC Universe that it should be reflected in Batman? And should what happens in Batman be reflected elsewhere?
Yeah, and it will, it will. By the way, I’m speaking just out of the super-ones, there’s nothing wrong with Batman teaming up with a number of DC characters, as long as they are also non-super powered. Such as Green Arrow, Black Cannery, Huntress, the Question. There are a number of them that Batman fits with very well and we’ll be seeing that kind of stuff. You just won’t see Green Lantern and those guys.
Will we be seeing more of a presence of the DC Universe in Batman? It seems that Batman reflects in them, but not necessarily the other way around.
The increased presence will probably be after Knightquest, because we have so much going on in that.
We do have a few things. We have Oracle. Nightwing makes an appearance. The Huntress. That’s about it for a while. But I think in Shadow of the Bat you’ll see a lot of that.
Are you writing any other Batman related projects?
Am I eer. I’m finishing Dark Joker: The Wild, which is another one of those hard cover graphic novels. It’s like Red Rain. It’s with Kelley Jones and John Beatty. After that, Kelley and I are doing the sequel to Red Rain, which is called Blood Storm.
After that I will be doing Batman Vs Predator II with Paul Gulacy. Following that, Paul and I are going to be doing an Elseworlds mini-series.
The Showcase stuff has Batman type characters – Catwoman, Robin, Two-Face, Nightwing, Huntress, and Batman occasionally shows up. I think that’s all of the Batman type stuff I’m doing right now.
You seem to be doing a lot of the Elseworld’s projects.
Yes, in fact the red rain hardcover graphic novel is going to be a trilogy. There is actually going to be a third one after Blood Storm. But that’s a little bit in the future. We finish up Dark Joker first, which is not related to Red Rain, except that it will be in the same format.
What is it about the Elseworld’s format that appeals to you with Batman?
There’s so much freedom. So many opportunities to do big things with the characters; like turn him into a vampire or the sword and sorcery type of stuff. In Dark Joker, the Joker is a sorcerer and Batman is an elemental bat creature that is as much bat as he is human.
You just can’t do that kind of stuff in the regular books. Elseworld’s just gives you the freedom and it opens all kinds of creativity. The character is so good. He’s too good to be limited by his own reality, if you know what I mean.
While there are Elseworld’s versions of all kinds of DC stuff, there’s a Superman Elseworld’s, a Green lantern Elseworld’s…I think it really finds the perfect niche with Batman, at least with my personal point of view. It’s really suited for that.
I think this is about it. Is there anything else you would like to say about Batman issue 500?
I think it’s the best script that I’ve done for the regular Batman books. If the art turns out right, boy it should be good! I think Dennis and his assistant Jordan Gorfinkel agree, and Scott Peterson agrees. They all said, ‘Boy, that was a good one,’ and it should be. Batman issue 500 is a big deal, just for the anniversary number alone. But on top of that it is a culmination of a big, big deal in the storyline. So if anything deserved my best effort, it was this one.
Lake of Fire
In this DC and Marvel comics crossover issue Jean Paul Valley as Batman meets Marvel’s Punisher. The Punisher follows leads to Gotham where his enemy Jigsaw has come to inject a rocket fuel into the city’s water supply system in hopes of ransoming the city. Batman and the Punisher briefly team-up when they realize that they are after the same people but Batman is betrayed by the Punisher twice who fears being taken in. In the end the Punisher escapes, Jean Paul feels he has failed and we are surprised to find that the Joker was actually the one behind bringing Jigsaw to Gotham.
Azrael + the Question
The Answer to the Terror & the Question
After saving a politician from being killed, Victor Sage is offered a job to protect the life of his daughter aboard a cruise ship she performs on. After lucid dreams of his father verbally abusing him, Jean Paul finds himself aboard the same cruise and helps save the lives of the passengers after a gang of would-be thugs attempt to kill everyone on board.
A mysterious fire is set in New York with reports stating a character with flaming swords was the cause leads Batman to confront Jean Paul on his whereabouts. To clear his name Azrael hits the big apple and encounters Firefly where he teams up with Ash. With Oracle’s help, the duo locate Professor Kissedy, a former University teacher who has been using an alien to start fires in seeking revenge on those who wrote him off. In the end the alien sees the trust and is reunited with his mother.
This issue is special due to the fact that it features two characters created by Joe Quesada – Azrael and Ash.
Angel Wings – As part of a series of on-shot issues for the ‘one million’ title, we find a version of Azrael in the year ::insert year here:: getting his wings from Sister Dumas that enable him to time travel to any place and any time. During his travels looking to help he encounters versions of Green Arrow, Catwoman and Robin, and the Hawkmen. In going to the past he becomes discordant material, or an actual angel and witnesses jean Paul Valley as Azrael in hand to hand combat with Two-Face. Azrael is then taught a lesson by Sister Dumas about where evil comes from.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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!
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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
Issue 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.
Issue 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.’
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 84 – January 2002
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.
Issue 85 – February 2002
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.
Issue 86 – March 2002
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.
Issue 87 – April 2002
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.
Issue 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.
Issue 89 – June 2002
Sibling Rivalry – Jean Paul and Nightwing take on two two metahuman brothers while Nightwing begs Jean Paul to go back to Gotham.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 97 – February 2003
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.
Issue 98 – March 2003
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.
Issue 99 – April 2003
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.
Issue 100 – May 2003
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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue No. 18 – July 1996
Azrael encounters one of Dr. Orchid’s other patients and things get large.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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?
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.
Issue 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.