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Azrael : Agent Of The Bat #47 / Batman : Shadow Of The Bat #80 ..a Man of Wealth and Taste... / Waxman and the Clown
Writer : Dennis O'Neil / Alan Grant
Penciler : Roger Robinson / Mark Buckingham
Inker : James Pascoe/ Robert Campanella
Colourist : Demetrius Bassoukos / Pam Rambo
Seperations : Prismacolor / Digital Chameleon
Letterer : Ken Bruzenak / Bill Oakley
Assistant Editor : Frank Berrios / Jordan B. Gorfinkel
Editor : Mike Carlin / Dennis O'Neil

Synopses :

Azrael : Agent Of The Bat

Azrael is asked by Batman to journey to Washington D.C. to protect Senator Esterbrook Halivan, one of the only Senators supporting Gotham's cause. In Washington Azrael finds the Senator will be on stage with Nicholas Scratch a charismatic media superstar. Azrael tries to stop Nick Scratch killing the senator, but fails.

Batman : Shadow Of The Bat

Arkham Asylum is losing staff and it's supplies are running out. A rivalry develops between the Waxman and the Joker. Joker begins to play off various inmates against him, and changes the medication of several of the more dangerous patients and approaches Dr. Arkham with the suggestion of starting up a series of gladitorial combats.

Review :

Azrael : Agent Of The Bat

Azrael's team up with Batman was interesting, further examining Azrael's relationship with Batman. The sense of awed respect is still there but tempered with a dose of resentment almost in the same vein as teen rebellion. The same scene also serves to explore Batman's status as an urban myth and his own personality's reaction to the reactions of people around him.

Azrael's conversation with Oracle also is a quality piece of writing. In a couple of pages, Denny manages to give near complete exposition of two new characters, in just dialogue. That this was accomplished without taking the story 3rd person was enough, but Denny actually made it read like a normal conversation. It displays subtle emotion under the currents of the dialogue, Denny inconspicuously expresses Oracles exasperation at JP's inability to take a hint.

"...I couldn't get a date if I owned a calendar."

"Especially if you don't try."

this conversation also serves to contrast Azrael's relationship with both Batman and Oracle, She said good luck, He didn't.

In recent stories Denny has made a point of developing JP/Azrael's craftiness. In this issue he devised a simple and efficiant means to get back stage to deal with Nick Scratch, another inventive O'Neil villain. Behind the silverage-esque origin is a very interesting character. A geek, given power, charisma, riches, talent, and beauty. One would instantly guess that he's going to get revenge on the world for the crappy start to life he had. There's more here than just that. Nick Scratch no longer exists, someone else has taken over his body, and his demon faced companions may give clues as to his identity.

The colouring retains it's usual quality, but the most striking thing about the art is Robinsons use of perspective. More powerful and noticable than before, Azrael's movement has become more graceful, while the kung-fu type poses are being watered down. James Pascoe is also changing the feeling seeming to use more brush work and texturing.

Batman : Shadow Of The Bat

Alan grant creates and writes these psychos, and freaks in such inventive ways, the Waxman for example is truely grotesque, although Grant doesn't quite manage the beyond Hannibal Lechter status of Mr. Zsasz, with none of the menace he has previously been written with. The rivalries amongst the incompatible personalities of the asylum also makes for worthwhile reading, and for the first time in a while we can see the horror that is the Joker shining through after some lacklustre treatments.

Mark Buckingham's work seems far less detailed than in his Mr. Freeze Special, or pin up. The inking also seemed too heavy, more suited to Batman than Shadow, while the Jonesesque feel is appreciated, he should return to his lighter more cartooney style than his current spooky style.

Rant :

Further development on the Az-Oracle front? Yes! just one of the things that make this issue so great. We get a savings of 25 cents of the usual cost of Azrael and Shadow, a quick boost to miraweb format, a Glen Orbik cover and what looks to be a very interesting villain.

One of the best in jokes to be found this issue was JP driving a VW Beetle, yellow at that, it was worth a sof Azrael and Shadow, a quick boost to miraweb format, a Glen Orbik cover and what looks to be a very interesting villain.

One of the best in jokes to be found this issue was JP driving a VW Beetle, yellow at thatmirk. As was the somewhat repetative Bouncer. The mention of a reporter named Sage also brings more links between Azrael and the Question, we need another team up soon. I was a little concerned about Nick Scratch's on stage banter 'till I realised he used to be a geek. He really fascnates me, his henchmen have red faces and horns, his body has been changed - he's possessed, and the demon responsible may be familiar, and this may be what leads to the speculated angelic change Azrael goes through.

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