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Azrael #1,000,000 : Angel Wings
Writer : Dennis O'Neil
Penciler : Vince Giarrano
Inker : Vince Giarrano
Colourist : Demetrius Bassoukos
Seperations : Prismacolor
Letterer : Ken Bruzenak
Assistant Editor : Frank Berrios
Editor : Mike Carlin

Synopsis :

In the 853rd century the Azrael of the order of St.Deimos in orbit around Mars has just gained his wings, and is dispensed with the mission of seeking out evil and recognising it. When he uses his wings to teleport to earth he discovers one of the green arrows in combat with another creature, fearing for the man's life he kills the creature only to learn it is the man's teacher. After leaving in a snit, Azrael jouneys to pluto in search of some usefulness, only to find that the prison planet has no escaped monsters at large. Returning to Mars Azrael meets the Hawkmen who are waiting for a frixit to awaken so that they could learn from it if it was a bodlean frixit or get killed by it if it was a non-bodlean frixit. Azrael chose to travel back in time to see if he could learn from one of his ancestors. What he finds is the twentieth century Azrael fighting Two-Face right after the earthquake. Unfortuneatly in his noncorporeal state his actions cause the twentieth century Azrael to almost be killed. Azrael chooses to check up on the Hawkmen only to find that they were entranced by the awakened frixit, and so he takes it upon himself to kill the frixit. The Hawkmen become extremely upset that Azrael had in fact just killed a bodlean frixit and that he had destroyed their chance to find peace and tranquility. Azrael jouneys back to Deimos to get his sword only to find himself staring back at him. Azrael at last comprehends that he is evil incarnate and both versions of him attempt to kill each other, when Sister Dumas shows him that the evil he sees comes from him and that if he recognises it it will make him a real Angel. After pondering this the two Azrael's figure out what to do next, find a sleeping frixit of the bodlean kind and wait for it to wake up.

Review :

Occaisonally Denny does something that just satisfies the reader immensely, the crossover titles being one of those things. In the genesis tale denny took a story about compassion, and made it fun to read. In Azrael One Million Denny took a story about the nature of man and evil and made it side splitingly funny. This Azrael can't do anything right, causing at least three disaters, the frixit is really nothing more than a device to spool off a load of jokes at the expense of silver age aliens. The use of Azrael's executions shows the folly of such final judgement as being a consequence of not learning the facts and rushing to conclusions, something the current Azrael can sometimes be guilty of but aims to correct by vowing never to kill and trying to use his brain. On the subject of intelligence Denny uses a neat trick of the comic medium by placing a symbolic caption over a panel of Azrael, when Sister Dumas tells Azrael that some Azrael's have been "unbelievably dumb" it's obvious Denny is forshadowing Azrael's disasterous incompetance. There are numerous tongue in cheek referances to angels and one referance to a previous azrael title, and Denny takes the piss out of mars and union members courtesy of the Hawkmen and Sister Dumas.

The design of the future Azrael seems to be heavily inspired by Final Fantasy VII and unlike most DC One million characters is very detailed, the three fingered motif is still present here and on Sister Dumas. Giarrano interestingly enough also penilled the last Azrael crossover Comic, during the genesis storyline, and his art is at a much better level than previously. The Giarrano art also fits in seamlessly with the Robinson/Pascoe team's work on page 13 to 15.

Rant :

This is the best Azrael issue in Ages! It's funny as hell with oodles of meaning thrown in to keep the highbrow Azrael fans satisfied. It's similar in style to Azrael Annual 2, but with a more contemporary slant. There are parrallels with the story of the current day Azrael especially for the Azrael on Pluto section, which shows Giarrano's eye for detail since his future Catwoman has boobs of Balent-esque proportions, keeping them in line with Balents vision must be a challenging task. Azrael's decision to go to proctolos generated gales of laughter (proctology is the study of the rectum) "they don't call it the armpit ... it's another section of the anatomy, now I know why." this is really one of the first instances of blantently dirty humour in Azrael (but there are others if you look).

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