We start our first story-line integrating Azrael with the Bat-Family.

Batman #488

Written by Doug Moench
Art & Letters by Jim Aparo
Colors by Adrienne Roy
Edited by Scott Peterson and Denny O’Neil

We open with Batman bringing Robin up to speed on Azrael, including some different versions of the art from the miniseries. Batman is sending Jean-Paul undercover at WayneTech in security, while Robin is tasked with retraining Azrael to resist the urge to kill.

Batman collapses on the stairs.

After giving Robin his orders, Batman literally collapses on the stairs up to Wayne Manor.

That day, at Wayne Tech, Jean-Paul is stationed at the copier at R&D for his first day – WayneTech has been being hit with industrial espionage, so even the copier gets a security guard right now. After he gets home from work, he finds Tim waiting for him. Tim explains what’s up – including that he’s Robin, and it’s time for a patrol.

Back at Stately Wayne Manor, Bruce tries using meditation to overcome his exhaustion, only to fail spectacularly.

When meditation attempts turn into nightmare fuel.

At Jean-Paul’s apartment, he’s suited up in a new costume of Robin’s design – and it looks kinda dopey, particularly with the head tassel.  Robin explains the outfit’s features, before they head out on patrol.

Azrael's training costume
It’s the tassel that takes this from “Ninja” to “Stupid”

First stop – WayneTech employee Tony Checkko (who Azrael had met during the day at the copier), who they tail to a meeting with a biker gang called The Skulls. I’d call that “on the nose”, but the real world has gangs called the Gypsy Jokers and the Hell’s Angels, so I’ll allow it. The gang has been working with a third party on industrial espionage jobs, currently with getting plans out of WayneTech, and since Checkko couldn’t get the plans out himself, the Skulls are going to hit up WayneTech the old fashioned way.

Azrael and Robin follow, and when they see the Skulls break in to WayneTech, they follow suit. Robin initially wants Azrael to hold back until Robin’s disarmed everyone with his sling, but Jean-Paul jumps the gun (so to speak). Everything turns out alright, though Robin finds himself somewhat concerned after seeing The System in action.

Back at Wayne Manor, Bruce Wayne calls Dr. Kinsolving.

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