Today we wrap up our introduction of Azrael to the Bat-Family.
Batman: Sword of Azrael #4
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 Azrael slaughtering the guards, much to Alfred’s horror – horror eclipsed only by seeing that LeHah committed his latest murder while wearing the Bat-suit.
Alfred, Jean-Paul, and Nomoz then trace LeHah to an oil refinery in Texas, which is where LeHah is holding Bruce. Bruce manages to goad on LeHah – probably to a degree that can backfire, as LeHah strips naked and comes after Bruce. What is it with the ‘90s and naked psychopaths?
In any case, he’s stopped by Azrael busting in and giving the Justice speech – which is still great, and without the anticlimactic interruption. LeHah opens fire blindly in response, setting the facility on fire. Against Nomoz’s protestations, Azrael cuts Bruce free and saves him from the conflagration, as the building is consumed (and presumably LeHah with it – except we don’t see a body, so he’s not dead).
The story ends with Jean-Paul unmasking and giving Bruce and Alfred his name.
The story is a very solid introduction that does a great job giving something of an introduction to Jean-Paul and why he’s going to join the Bat-Family… but considering where Jean-Paul goes from here, it doesn’t do much to set up why Bruce ultimately makes the decision he does later on-with Jean-Paul. That said, maybe that will become more clear over the course of Knightfall.
When we return to the Knightfall Saga – the event begins in earnest!