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  1. #1
    Junior Member SicSexSix's Avatar
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    Default An Azrael thread (Jean Paul Valley)

    He's been one of my favorite characters since his introduction way back in Sword of Azrael. My son is even named after him (I'm still amazed my ex agreed to that). His run as Batman was a mixed bag of hits & misses, but it served it's purpose by making him a polarizing figure, unlikable even. And in turn, that gave his eventual redemption more impact. His ongoing series had some pretty high highs & it's share of low lows, and the final issue was bittersweet. When they tried to apply that same model to Michael Lane, it didn't work nearly half as well. The Lane Azrael series had a lot of interesting moments, but I was never able to get behind the character, I didn't like him from day one. It was easier to forgive some of Jean Paul's less-than altruistic actions than it is to forgive similar ones by Lane because Jean Paul was convincingly written as naive & socially awkward, whereas Lane had no such excuses. I had been hoping for a comeback for years, especially when Lane was introduced. I was praying for an all out war, a massive conflagration between the two with both sects of the Order of St. Dumas on the sidelines. But now, Lane seems to written out of existence and we have no idea what the Nu-52 stance on Jean Paul is. The only reason I'm sorry to see Lane gone is because my hopes of seeing the REAL Azrael hand him his ass have diminished quite significantly.

    So what's the point to this post? I guess I'm curious over the general consensus regarding the character. Does anyone miss him & hope he pops up soon? If so, which one, Jean Paul or Lane & why? And lastly, how the hell did speculation start that the Heretic over in Inc was really Jean Paul? (I've been convinced that Heretic's a Damian clone that Talia brought back from the future using Dr. Nichol's technology from the get go, but that's another debate for another thread)

  2. #2

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    Azrael (Jean-Paul) was one of my favorite characters too, his whole dynamic with the rest of the bat family was wonderful. I've always wanted to see him and Jason interact since they got a lot of similarities but also a lot of differences. When I learn that Azrael was returning during Battle of the Cowl I was pumped for that but we got another Azrael one that I'm not really fan of. Then, with Jean-Paul's cameo on Blackest Night I thought that he was done as character on the DCU (Lane's appearance on the Arkham Universe didn't gave me a lot of hope) but with the N52n he seems completly gone.

    We know that Bane broke Batman but I don't think that Jean-Paul even existed now :(

    Funny thing is that Calvin Rose is pretty much Azrael with the serial numbers filed off, so there's that.

  3. #3
    The Alpha and The Omega Godlike13's Avatar
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    Never cared for Azrael. Sorry.

  4. #4
    The Avatar of Vengeance melkorjunior's Avatar
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    I always liked Azrael (the Jean-paul version.) I liked the Sword of Azrael mini as well as the first couple of years of his solo series, but then I stopped reading for awhile. I never saw the Lane version of the character. I doubt DC will bring Azrael back--they probably see him as a very 1990's character--but I wouldn't mind seeing an Azrael solo title with him being far away from Gotham City and Batman's world.

    (I think maybe part of the reason I liked Azrael so much was that he had a real Moon Knight feel to him, and I love Moon Knight.)

    I read somewhere that DC would have to pay Joe Quesada royalties if they brought Azrael back. Not sure if that's true or not.

  5. #5
    Junior Member SicSexSix's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Tzitzimine View Post
    Azrael (Jean-Paul) was one of my favorite characters too, his whole dynamic with the rest of the bat family was wonderful. I've always wanted to see him and Jason interact since they got a lot of similarities but also a lot of differences.
    I hadn't even thought about that. We've seen him go head to head with Tim & Dick as often as he teamed up with them, but him & Jason paired together could make for a very interesting situation.

    I can understand why some people never became fans of the character, his stint under the cowl soured a lot of folks on him permanently, and the quality of his ongoing series was never consistent. Kitson's run was easily the best on it, with Robinson's coming in at second, and then book seemed to lose focus, it became schizophrenic. Switching his costume so many times didn't help either & only served to reflect the fluctuating quality. The original suit was one of Joe Quesada's greatest contributions to the world of comics. Between that & the concept behind the character, I can't help but think about how it should've turned out a lot better, and hopefully, if DC ever does decide to bring him back, it'll be put in the hands of a writer who can effectively utilize the fundamentals. If the planets ever align & by some miracle Grant Morrison were to unleash an Azrael series, I can only begin to imagine the heights he would take the character to.

  6. #6
    R.I.P. Dwayne McDuffie Greg Anderson's Avatar
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    I miss Michael Lane.
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  7. #7

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    You know I think that Jean-Paul older series would been much better if another writer would had the chance to add something to it. O'Neill certainly is a great writer and was important part for Batman but is pretty obvious that he really didn't have much of a idea to take Jean-Paul. Heck, the series contradict what were stablished in Sword of Azrael! The order went from a decaying and secretive society with a handful of members to a expy of the Catholic Church. I think that O'Neill run with the character should have ended with the Fall of Saint Dumas after that, the writing took a dive in quality, Lilhy suddenly became a mob leader, Brain lost relevance and Nomoz dropped of the face of the earth.

    A shame really, can you imagine how Hush would've been played out with Jean-Paul involved?

  8. #8
    The Avatar of Vengeance melkorjunior's Avatar
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    For me the interesting thing about Azrael was the fact that when he put on his mask, everything about him was stripped away except for the mission. When Azrael said, Know that you have sinned. Know that you will be punished, and raised that flaming sword, he was scarier than Batman could ever be because Jean-Paul literally did not exist at that moment--only Azrael did. Batman can never not be Bruce Wayne, but Azrael, at least in the beginning, was always "not" Jean Paul Valley. Batman could never be as primal and fearsome as Azrael because Batman was still a human being under that mask and he was capable of mercy--whereas Azrael, at least in the beginning, was very nearly a perfect hunter, emotionless, without empathy or fear. DC really flushed a cool character down the drain because O'Neill didn't know what to do with him after awhile. Hopefully another writer will come along someday with a cool new take on him. I'd love to read a Doug Moench Azrael series.

  9. #9
    Junior Member SicSexSix's Avatar
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    Amen! That was definitely a big part of his appeal, and it was a quality that Mike Lane lacked. One more reason on a list of many why I think Jean Paul was the better Azrael.

  10. #10
    Veteran Member Fate's Faith's Avatar
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    Hated his taking the mantle of Batman. But did like the character. Sword of Azrael was really a good mini and I think they almost ruined the character by having him take Bruce's place.

  11. #11

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    I love the JPV character. Loved the original Sword of Azrael mini. Loved most of his time under the Batman cowl. And I like a lot of the character work O'Neil does with him in his series which I'm currently in the middle of. I'm really hoping he comes back at some point in the New52 though I don't see it happening any time soon with Talon existing.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dark_Tzitzimine View Post
    You know I think that Jean-Paul older series would been much better if another writer would had the chance to add something to it. O'Neill certainly is a great writer and was important part for Batman but is pretty obvious that he really didn't have much of a idea to take Jean-Paul. Heck, the series contradict what were stablished in Sword of Azrael! The order went from a decaying and secretive society with a handful of members to a expy of the Catholic Church. I think that O'Neill run with the character should have ended with the Fall of Saint Dumas after that, the writing took a dive in quality, Lilhy suddenly became a mob leader, Brain lost relevance and Nomoz dropped of the face of the earth.
    The Order of Dumas was still a decaying secret society in the book. Its why it ultimately died. It needed new blood and leadership in Lilhy. The spirit of Dumas himself wanted her to be the leader. Haven't finished reading the series, but I actually think most of the weaker parts of the series take place with the Order. I think O'Neil failed to make them an interesting group. I sort of liked the idea that Lilhy might be building it back up into something stronger, but it seems like that was completely dropped and won't be referenced again from what I've read.

  12. #12
    Senior Member HXHAlex's Avatar
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    Only read him in Knightquest/fall/end

    He was always wearing awesome costumes. A-Okay in m book

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by Eivion View Post
    I love the JPV character. Loved the original Sword of Azrael mini. Loved most of his time under the Batman cowl. And I like a lot of the character work O'Neil does with him in his series which I'm currently in the middle of. I'm really hoping he comes back at some point in the New52 though I don't see it happening any time soon with Talon existing.

    The Order of Dumas was still a decaying secret society in the book. Its why it ultimately died. It needed new blood and leadership in Lilhy. The spirit of Dumas himself wanted her to be the leader. Haven't finished reading the series, but I actually think most of the weaker parts of the series take place with the Order. I think O'Neil failed to make them an interesting group. I sort of liked the idea that Lilhy might be building it back up into something stronger, but it seems like that was completely dropped and won't be referenced again from what I've read.
    Still, is a very large leap on logic to go from a few old rich men to an organization similar to the catholic church. I didin't like a lot the angle of Female fatale for Lilhy since I found more endearing her being equal socially awkward than Jean Paul plus I thought that they made a cute couple.

    Anyone knows why Azrael never showed up or had team ups with heroes outside of the Batfam? Lot of wasted potential there

  14. #14
    evil maybe, genius no stk's Avatar
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    I only liked him in O'Neil's solo series. Mostly for O'Neil writing an ongoing series again. His first since Question. As usual, he did some interesting things.

  15. #15
    Veteran Member JaggedFel's Avatar
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    Lol there is no way JPV would ever defeat Lane in combat. Lane is simply a very hax "street level" character. Like Wildstorm Midnighter. Not to mention the Crusader as backup.

    As for Lane less then altruistic actions. They can be blamed on a whole lot of PTSD from the war and all the mental fu**ery he underwent getting turned into a replacement bat.

    Still I would like to see Lane more seems tailor made for the DC Dark Line.

    Also they actually both show up in those Batman Arkham comics. Not very satisfying I know but it is something.
    Last edited by JaggedFel; 12-18-2012 at 10:31 PM.
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