When we last left off, the previous Azrael had died in Gotham and left the mantle to his as-yet-unnamed son (who we will later learn is Jean-Paul Valley). Bruce Wayne and Alfred Pennyworth have traveled to Switzerland to learn the truth about the Order of St. Dumas – but arms dealer Carlton LeHah has gotten there first.
Batman: Sword of Azrael #2
Written by Denny O’Neil
Pencils by Joe Quesada
Inks by Kevin Nowlan
Letters by Ken Bruzenak
Colors by Lovern Kindzierski
Edited by Bill Kaplan and Archie Goodwin
We open with the destruction of the Chalet, and in turn, Bruce and Alfred’s helicopter being downed by the debris, as we learn through poetic and slightly over-wrought narration from Bruce to Alfred. Nomoz and Jean-Paul are fine – they were tipped off by Bruce’s helicopter, so Nomoz shoved Jean-Paul into a fallout shelter before following shortly after (though not with Heinreich – we never see him again).
On top of all of this, the explosion and crash triggered an avalanche – and Bruce & Alfred weren’t the only ones downed. LeHah’s escape chopper almost crashed as well – but the pilot managed to put it down safely. LeHah gives thanks to his dark lord, Biis, and shows his gratitude to his pilot by sacrificing him to the demon.
Meanwhile, Bruce gives Alfred his parka before changing into an insulated Bat-suit – and just in time, as a high-tech hovercraft. Emerges from the ruins from the Chalet, as Batman leaps on.
Nomoz tells Jean-Paul to put his helmet on and go fight The Bat – in spite of Jean-Paul’s protestations. My suspicion is that Nomoz doesn’t actually know who Batman is, but Jean-Paul (having most recently been in Gotham) does. Still, Nomoz insists, and Azrael obeys. Batman tries talking first, and ends up taking a punch for his troubles. Quickly getting serious, Batman handily disarms Azrael, forcing Nomoz to call Azrael to withdraw.
After they withdraw, Alfred and Batman descend into the base. After they do, Nomoz blows the base – but we don’t see an explosion, and Nomoz doesn’t comment on it.
Elsewhere, LeHah has reached civilization, and has made a suit of armor modeled after the Demon Biis. Nomoz and Jean-Paul have not been idle either, as they have upgraded the Azrael armor with gauntlets that have telescoping flaming punching daggers, along with an improved helmet and body armor.
We also learn more about LeHah from Nomoz and, through a Point-of-View shift, LeHah himself. LeHah was the treasurer of the Order, and embezzled money to build his arms business – in part because LeHah had abandoned his belief in St. Dumas in favor of Biis. LeHah provides all of his exposition while naked and looking at himself in the mirror while talking to Biis.
Meanwhile, Batman & Alfred are in the very much intact fallout shelter – the connection from the detonator to the bombs was disconnected by the earlier explosion and avalanche. This leaves Batman with the Satellite phone in the shelter which will allow him to find a list of locations where LeHah is going next.
Nomoz and Jean-Paul go looking for other members of the Order – as the Treasure, LeHah was one of the few who knew where all the members of the Order were located. Unfortunately, LeHah called up the other members of the Order – who weren’t aware of his treachery – in advance to warn them not to speak to anyone before they speak to him.
Jean-Paul and Nomoz head to a hospital in Germany where an elderly member of the Order is located, but arrive too late – LeHah in his Biis garb got their first, and guns down a nurse and the bed-ridden old man, and then, seemingly Azrael.