Following the events of “The Eighth Deadly Sin” in BATMAN ANNUAL #27 and DETECTIVE COMICS ANNUAL #11, the new monthly series starring Death’s Dark Knight begins! Michael Lane is a man in search of redemption, but does serving the Order of Purity as God’s Angel of Justice bring him closer to achieving his goal – or simply send him further down a road paved with good intentions? When a hired killer comes to Gotham City seeking revenge for crimes committed decades in the past, Azrael faces an impossible conflict: What if God’s justice forces the hero to claim one of God’s servants? From writer Fabian Nicieza (SUPERMAN, TRINITY) and artist Ramon Bachs (RED ROBIN)!
In the present MWL punishes the wicked while protecting the innocent. He tracks down an assassin whose killing people connected to a priest. Azrael refuses help from Batman after breaking into a police precinct to get the information he needed. He finds the assassin and upon learning of why the deaths are occurring “in God’s name” he allows the assassin to go free.
Months from now his secret identity is compromised by someone who knows his history and his stint as Batman lets Gotham police officer Bullock know. MWL is also apparently found bound to a cross dead in a burned down church.
Cover-Our would-be hero leaping into the air with bats all around, very symbolic and very visually pleasing.
Action-Kicks, punches, acrobatics and swirling blades all around, I like it!
Moral Dilemma-This issue presents us with an interesting conundrum. Typically superheroes have a strict no killing policy and if justice must be served then the perpetrator is handed over to the authorities. Azrael is not that kind of Hero; in fact I would be more inclined to call him an anti hero than a straight up superhero. Before he knew why the murders were being perpetrated he was hell bent on stopping them. Once he realized a priest had done the unspeakable and those being killed were all connected in some way to the act he allowed the assassin to go free and enact “justice”. This is very different than anyone in the “bat family” ad also makes Azrael a bit of a wildcard in Gotham and sets up an eventual confrontation with Batman himself because they view Justice in completely different ways.
Art-Ramon Bachs art is well suited to the action showcased in this issue; I particularly loved his illustration of Batman.
Black Hero-Michael Washington Lane is the new Azrael and this is his solo book after his miniseries Azrael Death’s Dark Knight. He’s been an evil batman after being trained by Dr. Hurt (Read all about him here)
Sexual Tension- Fabian Nicieza handles the unresolved chemistry and the weird “we have not talked about the sex we had together” pretty well. It’s just enough drama for you to convince your girl to read this series with you.
I really enjoyed this first issue allot, art and story blended together seamlessly making this a 3.5/5