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Azrael #44 : Angel and The Beast : The Crash
Writer : Dennis O'Neil
Penciller : Roger Robinson
Inker : James Pascoe
Colourist : Demetrius Bassoukos
Seperations : Prismacolour
Letterer : Ken Bruzenak
Assistant Editor : Chuck Kim
Editor : Archie Goodwin

synopsis :

As Lilhy chases the escaping Luc on horseback some DEA agents who have been observing Luc, pursue the both of them. Azrael jumps on a horse from the stables and adds to the entourage. Azrael captures one of the DEA's jeeps. Luc's horse trips and he is thrown off, Lilhy uses this to press her advantage, but they are interupted by the two remaining DEA Agents, one of whom had been in a deal with Luc when Luc backed out with $11 million in Drug money. The corrupt agent kills his partner and kidnaps Luc and Lilhy and tries to make his getaway in a light aircraft. Azrael races to cach up with the plane and grabs on as it takes off. An attack helicopter moves to intercept them and shoots them down. Azrael rescues the injured Lilhy from the wreck and commands the two criminals to follow him to a small house a mile away where, unbeknownst to them, a monster lurks.

Review :

Something that hasn't been done in a while is re-examined here, the way in which the Jean-Paul and Azrael personalities merge. When Azrael first appeared even without the costume the Azrael personality was completely dominant. Over the years Jean-Paul has gained back some control and during #'s 31-40 Azrael appeared non existant. In this issue the dialogue helps clarify the arrangement, Azrael is riding a horse and when asked to stop says no, and we see in his mind the ghostly enquiry by Jean-Paul, suggesting that they had better find out what the DEA agents want, Azrael responds to this out loud. In this manner Denny highlights Azrael's schitzophrenia, in his disembodied dialogue Jean-Paul isn't using a "royal" we, there really are two people in his head. Also of note is Lilhy's visciousness when she caught up with Luc.

Roger's Pencils have improved in leaps and bounds, the level of detail is much higher and James has toned down the inks from #'s 32 and 33, the noir feel is retained but the wider areas of colour are more appealing visually. It takes a fine eye to find the detail of Demetrious' colours but what appears to be an area of flat colour actually has a fine gradiation and Ken has adapted to Denny's dialogue curve ball well giving an individual style to the disembodied voices in Azrael's head.

Rant :

I was expecting the surprise that Denny had promised us for this issue. I know that the next two issues deal with this Calibax character, so I wonder how,

"...Lilhy, who manages to surprise Azrael in the middle of the earthquake! The this may also escalate the ongoing flirtation between Azrael and Oracle."

comes in or where it comes in.

Azrael seems to have been running a month ahead of Starman because Archie is still credited as Editor. Azrael only has the selections of letters for the Archie Goodwin memorial letter column maybe next month we'll see some thing like the heart warming "cast of Starman" tribute to Archie. I hope both these comics keep some sort of tribute to him for as long as they are being published.

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