After donning his new costume and dealing with the men he rescued Azrael searches for professor Lade. Tracing him to a church, Azrael finds him hiding in a secret chamber. After questioning him he finds out about a lodge Nick Scratch's Uncle owns. As he heads for the lodge he is nearly struck twice by lightning. After evading the second strike he is confronted by Scratch's three demon goons, and finally is hit by a third strike. after rising from the strike Azrael dispacthes with the goons and heads for the lodge where he finds a mocking note from nick Scratch inviting him back to Gotham.
Narration in this issue is quite differant from the style we are used to. Captions are now in third person, while we are for the first time in memory given direct acces to Azrael's thoughts, even the speech bubbles change. Jean-Paul in his costume now speaks in the same way that Azrael used to, is this an indication that Azrael has wormed his way into Jean-Paul in the same way that he did in Knightfall? Is this the reason that a trauma unleased his combat skills? Can we thus expect to see Azrael performing the kinds of stunts he did during the Knights trilogy? Speech bubbles are key to understanding the speech in Azrael due to Ken's distinction between Azrael and Jean Paul. If Jean-Paul is speaking and thinking with Azrael's voice, this costume has had a major effect on his mind, possibly unbalanncing it again.
This issue brings a better view of the new costume, and while on the whole more acceptable than it had been there are still some things that are in need of improvement. Jean-Paul's chin protudes far too much, he is still quite young and almost boyish in his looks, that jaw is too much in the vein of the classic hero. One also has to wonder why Azrael has no head protection, given his tendancy to get knocked on the noggin. But It's not all bad news The wing motif in the cape is carried off well, further adding to the suggestion that Azrael is heading for angelhood
Of note this issue to those who've been checking the cover previews is that the cover has been recoloured three times, and it appears it was third time lucky, because this version is far superior to the other two.
This is the first time in ages that I've really enjoyed an issue of Azrael, I probably haven't been this happy after reading an issue since Azrael #1,000,000. for a long time now I've felt no excitement after reading an issue of Azrael. Storylines were too neatly tied up, the cliff hangers were weak or nonexistent, and most importantly there was nothing tieing the storys together no continuing plotline that drew me into the next storyline. The subplots on Azrael have been either nonexistent or downplayed for ages, probably since the end of year one for that matter. Hopefully azrael #52 will be just as good, and if #53 lives up to it's promise then we will have gone a whole season with no let up on excellent stories. Lets also Pray that Azrael Plays a part in the main part of NML over in the Core batbooks.