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Batman : Sword of Azrael Book One : Vanishing Angels And Sudden Death
Writer : Dennis O'Neil
Penciller : Joe Quesada
Inker : Kevin Nowlan
Colourist : Lovern Kinzierski
Seperations : None
Letterer : Ken Bruzenak
Assistant Editor : Bill Kaplan
Editor : Archie Goodwin

Synopsis :

A shoot out occurs above a parade, the victim, calling himself Azrael, falls from a balconey, starts a riot, and drags himself to his son's apartment before he dies. Batman begins investigating intrigued that a man shot so many times could have stayed alive for even a short period. Azrael's son travels to Switzerland and begins training to be the next Azrael. Batman finds a man called Lehah is involved, and when he fnds the Sword of Azrael, that everything that has happened has to do with a six hundred year old Order. Batman traveled to Switzerland where Azrael's son finished traing, as Batman approaches the chalet where he is, Lehah launches a missile at them.

Review :

The opening scene draws the reader in and immediately submerges the reader in the action. The captions and narrative both drive the story and the words have a beauty in and of themselves. Denny cuts between scenes skillfully and introduces a myriad of characters at lightning speed creating interest in the new ones and capturing the essences of established characters such as Jim Gordon, Batman, and Alfred.

Joe Quesada's artwork can truely be said to be dynamic. His every panel indicates motion without being overly obvious, his facial expressions are sometimes exagerated but not farcical as within the context of the constant motion it makes perfect sense and looks great. Quesada's batman is much like the Dick Sprang version but with greater detail, the large square jaw and short ears are there, as is the wider stockier body. While there are no giant props to be found in his art Joe's figure design does harken back to Sprangs work. When looking through this book it is easy to see that this is no ordinary comic, Joe has experimented with a vast variety of body shapes and sizes and when combined with the computer colouring the result is a comic that look's like no other.

Rant :

Amongst all the cool stuff in this title is the coolness of Joe's character designs, the design of the first Azrael was pretty much unimportant but the result was incredibly cool. This was where everything started in fact were you to break down this story into a classical play this would be the first act. The first act should introduce the characters and set events in motion, this is really the definition of a first act, and Sword of Azrael : Book One does this perfectly.

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