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Batman : Sword of Azrael Book Two : Azrael Does Not Protect
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 :

Lehah's missile blows the chalet up, but Nomoz - Azrael's trainer, and the new Azrael are safe in a bunker below the wreckage. An avalanch is started which causes both Batman's and Lehah's helicopters to crash. As a result Lehah decides he has been called upon by the Lord Demon Biis to be his servant. As a measure of his loyalty Lehah sacrifices his assistant. Meanwhile Batman encouters a hovercraft that rises from the ashes of the cabin, Azrael gets out and fights Batman reluctantly. He loses and is taken away by Nomoz. Batman investigates the crater that was the cabin and discovers a satellite relay. After this Lahah garbs himself as Biis while Azrael's son tests out the new Azrael armour. Nomoz takes the New Azrael to the only member of the Order Nomoz could contact but as they reach his hospital door Biis slaugtered him his nurse and his doctors. Biis then turned his guns on Azrael's son and shoots him out the window.

Review :

Symbolism abounds in Sword of Azrael, as does the parralleling of Azrael and Batman. An inteteresting parrallel drawn in this issue is Lehah donning the garb of Biis as the new Azrael first appears in the new armour suggesting that their destinies are linked. Denny provides a long look at Lehah, in whom he creates a villain as interesting as Ra's al Ghul, or the Joker, the possible destablization of his mind caused by the crash may have caused him to see the signs of the Lord Demon Biis, on the other hand Lehah may have really been called on by Biis to serve him. This is what is great about this character, the ambiguity, Denny leaves the reader to decide whether Biis exists or not.

Denny is very skilled in his interpretation of periphery characters and one can see this clearly in his treatment of Alfred, it is possibly the standard by which other Alfreds should be judged.

Kevin Nowlans inks excel in providing fullness to the figures in the story, as evidenced by sequence where Lehah talked to Biis/his own reflection in the mirror. The range of expressions captured by the creative team in this chapter is extensive and Lehah is possibly the character who has benefitted most from this.

Rant :

This issue debuts the ultra cool first appearance of the new Azrael armour, Joe Quesada really earned his pay cheque for this one. This issue probaly has the most complicated story in Azrael as the story is progressed through three differant characters perspectives, in a parrallel fashion untill they intersect at the end. Sword of Azrael was a project of singular quality, computer colouring was no where near as pervasive as it is today and to attract the award wining head of Digital Chameleon garaunteed some of the most outstanding work of the year. What interests me most is that we are introduced to a character who actually looks like he has just been initiated into a whole new world.

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