MWL is having flashbacks of key moments in his life. A man we can presume is his father drives the fear of God into him, the coach he beat after losing his temper is seen, his life as a soldier, returning to gotham as a cop, the loss of his son, his wife’s suicide, the death of his family, torturing batman as one of Dr. hurt’s “batmen”, being batman and being azrael.
Back in reality Talia and her assassins watch as MWL undergoes the power of the sword of salvation which is why he’s reliving his tragedies. Talia wants him alive while the league wants to kill him and retrieve the suit. He soon comes too and another fight ensues in which he lays them all out before sparing with Talia herself. At somewhat of a stalemate though MWL would eventually win, she calls truce to tell him about the suit of sorrows and how it drives all its wearers mad. MWL is not deterred and she decides to let him have the sword in her possession and the suit, he flies off.
Oracle is monitoring him and sends his info to Dick Grayson/Nightwing current head of the batman family and protector of Gotham. The cops visit the church in which the battle took place and plan to run the surveillance tapes to track down their ‘cop killer’.
The order of Purity get one of there dead members patched up before the cops get wind of it. MWL comes in and demands to know the truth about the suit. They confess partially and show him his predecessor who went mad after 6 weeks. He leaves and visits his senile mom who he talks to about his new lease on life and the path God has placed before him to help people.
At the police station one of the cops reviewing the tapes recognizes MWL and decides to take the tape.
In the batcave MWL runs into Nightwing who plans to get back the suit of sorrows, MWL doesn’t plan on handing it back however.
Stunning cover- showcasing a clash between Azrael and Talia Al Ghul. The cover uses reds, blacks and whites to great effect and sets the tone for this issue.
Interior art- The painted style of Frazer Irving suits the somber tone of the book very well. There is even the slightest hint of ‘noir’ which is very welcome. The art itself is light on details but the colors balance things out along with bold outlines for the characters themselves.
The story- thanks to Fabian Nicieza we get a great deal of set up for who MWL is and why he would accept this “suicide mission” as it were. Fabian also gives him a fair bit of fleshing out as it relates to his tortured and traumatic past. There is enough touched on here to make MWL a viable character for having a solo book. There are many layers to his tortured mind and the ‘sect’ is clearly not being all truthful which leaves room for him to rebel against his handlers.
The abilities of his swords are also highlighted with salvation being a mental blade which affects the mind and the other cauterizes wounds as it cuts. Pretty cool gear.
All this religion and religious affiliation will turn off those philosophers, atheists and those who would rather just sit back and enjoy a comic far away from the there heroes.
3/5 above average