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Azrael #16 : Contagion: Part Ten : Azrael : Contagion
Writer : Dennis O'Neil
Penciller : Barry Kitson
Inker : James Pascoe
Colourist : Demetrius Bassoukos
Seperations : Digital Hellfire
Letterer : Ken Bruzenak
Assistant Editor : Chuck Kim
Editor : Archie Goodwin

Synopsis :

Batman discloses to Catwoman that none of the Clench survivors had the disease so a vaccine couldn't be synthesised from their antibodies, but as Robin lies dying in bed Azrael recognizes something about the virus. This recognition comes as we learn that the virus came from the laboratories of the Order of St. Dumas. Brian, Lilhy and Azrael look through tomes from the Order of St. Dumas for an antidote. Three Acolytes make a deal with LeHah to help them kill Azrael. Azrael prepared to take the cure to Gotham but the Acolytes arrive outside his door. Azrael soundly beat them and scared off LeHah before driving to the blockade of Gotham and jumping off the bridge that linked it to the mainland, on the other shore Azrael delivers the cure to the Gotham Medial center. Nightwing arrives at the Batcave with the cure for Tim Drake, but he learns it's too late.

Review :

Page twelve is reminiscent in it's portrayal of Azrael to the work of Joe Quesada. While not as detailed it still captures the dynamism that Joe brought to the original series. The quality of the art all through Contagion has been high apart from a couple of suspect chapters with fill in artists. The visual depiction of the Clench virus was difficult to believe but was cleverly used as a link to issue #8 which was clearly scripted with this story in mind. The Order of St. Dumas scenes were well done and entertaining, with extra emphasis on Rollo's ruthlessness. The storytelling progressed nicely with Denny setting up each element of the story with perfect pacing and bringing the elements together perfectly before launching into adrenalin-rush-action mode. Barry's pencil's beautifully portrayed one of the best scenes in the whole Contagion storyline, Azrael driving the car and leaping off the bridge. Of note is that Denny devotes a page to Azrael's hopes for the future, to be an Angel of life.

Rant :

You may or may not notice but this issue is the first time Lilhy is not wearing the clothes of the Order. Sure they don't hug the figure the way her old clothes did but they show off a lot more. The cliff hanger ending isn't a big deal. They couldn't kill this Robin, It'd be the third one in just over a decade. One thing that get's me though Acolytes aren't allowed to use bladed weapons and they do here, also there seems to be another couple of Azraels at the Ice Cathedral. I can accept their alliance with LeHah "enemy of my enemy" and all that but the acolytes are very resistant to disobeying the teachings of St. Dumas.

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