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Azrael #11 : Azrael Rising : Part One
Writer : Dennis O'Neil
Penciler : Barry Kitson
Inker : James Pascoe
Colourist : Demetrius Bassoukos
Seperations : Digital Hellfire
Letterer : Ken Bruzenak
Assistant Editor : Chuck Kim
Editor : Archie Goodwin

Synopsis :

A near riot erupts as Sandra Asp/Shondra Kinsolving is mobbed by Zoo vistors looking for a miracle after she heals a wheelchair bound child. Lilhy and Brian meet with Batman who arranges for them to meet with Azrael. Kluber, a janitor at the Zoo and Nug his scheming cousin decide to abduct Sandra but are preveted from doing so by Azrael. Brian continues to try and bring Azrael out of his near catatonic state with some success. Nug and Kluber engineer a gathering of Gothamites outside the house Bruce Wayne bought for her. Azrael deals with the mob outside but when Mrs. McFarland her caretaker tries to sneak Sandra out the back Nug and Kluber kidnap her.

Review :

Denny has created an odd pair of villains here, they are perhaps more evil than some of Arkham's inmates. Nug is creul and calculating, manipulating events and people so he can get what he wants no matter who it hurts. In this respect he is almost a scaled down Lex Luthor. Kluber on the other hand is a steroid junkie with a cruel streak, he's incredibly stupid and kills pets for fun. What makes these guys so bad is that they are perfectly sane, unlike the Arkham inmates and so they do have a choice to change they ways. Perhaps their horrific lack of morals is intended as a method for expanding upon the cruelty of the thugs who tried to kill Brian and Jean-paul in issue #1, but what is possibly more shocking to the reader is that they do it for fun rather than any grand purpose.

The art in this issue of Azrael accentuates the concept of Azrael as Angel. On page eight Azrael's reflection in the windows of a building is generalised so as to present the relection of a winged Azrael, on page twelve Azrael's illumination with a torch evokes the image of an illustrious angel, the details to his figure lost in the light of his being. These scenes and the repeated referances to Guardian Angels are Denny's attempt to cement in the readers mind the "Azrael as Guardian Angel" idea.

Rant :

It's nice to see Sandra/Shondra again even in her regressive state she still has charm and potential as a character. People tend to forget that Bruce Wayne was going to marry her. The final part of Knightquest : The Search was incredibly touching in the beauty of the climax and reality of the characters feelings. The near childlike state of Azrael and the innocence of Sandra made for a beautiful moment when he hands her the book on Guardian Angels there is a smilarity between these two characters and perhaps Denny saw that. In any case this is one of the best issues of Azrael you'll ever read.

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