- This article is a history page, for different uses of the term Azrael see Azrael (Disambiguation).
Azrael is a name given to the champions of the amoral Catholic extremist guild, the Order of St. Dumas. Azrael acts as the deranged agent of the Order, often serving as an ally and enemy to Batman due to his violence, diluted moral-system, and homicidal tendencies.
The first Azrael in Batman comics was Jean-Paul Valley, a bottle-baby who was genetically engineered with animal DNA by his father, the previous Azrael. Since his childhood, Jean-Paul was psychologically conditioned by his father and the Order to become his father's successor. When he was a young man, his father died and sent him off to Europe to directly train under the Order.
Eventually, Azrael would come to meet Batman who he idolized and wished to act as the successor to, frequently allying himself with the Batman Family in Gotham. After Batman had his back broken by Bane, Azrael took on the Batman mantle only to prove himself a psychotic murderer who didn't care about saving the lives of civilians, only in punishing those deemed as sinners. In one particular instance he murdered the serial-killer Abattoir and willingly allowed several hostages to die in the process.
This lead to Batman having to escalate his physical rehabilitation with Lady Shiva to fight Azrael, eventually defeating the mad zealot and evicting him from the role of Batman.
Michael Washington Lane was an ex-cop who gained enhanced strength and reflexes after being experimented on by evil scientist, Doctor Hurt. Originally, he was intended to be part of a program for Police Officers in Gotham City to create replacement heroes for Batman should anything ever happen to him.
This treatment drove Michael insane, and lead him to joining the Order of Purity, another splinter group which also called their champions Azrael. These Azraels wore mystical armour called the Suit of Sorrows, and wielded the Sword of Sin and the Sword of Salvation. These armaments were passed from one generation to another since the crusades. Sir Geoffrey de Cantonna was the first knight to don the Suit of Sorrows for the Order. He, and all his successors since then were driven insane by it.
Batman: Curse of the White Knight
In this Elseworld story, Jean-Paul Valley is a deranged military-veteran who works as a church janitor in Gotham. Completely lost, he is targeted and manipulated by the Joker into seeing himself as the messiah-like vigilante of Azrael who is destined to defeat and usurp the Batman. This Azrael goes on to break into Arkham Asylum and massacre the patient populace, seeing them as sinners.
It is later revealed that the reason Joker targeted him is that Jean-Paul is the true descendant of Edmond Wayne while Batman is descended from a man named Bakkar who killed Edmond Wayne then stole his identity and wealth.
The Dark Multiverse is a plain of alternate realities which largely revolve around twisted variants of Batman created by the deity Barbatos from Batman's own fears and dark desires.
One of these dark knights is known as St. Batman and is an alternate reality version of Jean-Paul Valley who was never defeated by Bruce after the events of Knightfall and who remained his world's Batman. Thirty years later, Jean-Paul established a religious totalitarian reign over Gotham while being assisted by his protégées Cardinal and Torchbearer, all while enhanced by an addiction to the super-steroid venom.
Saint Batman's reign would be challenged by a resistence made up of Lady Shiva and Bane's son Tourne who wished to avenge his father's death at the mad zealot's hands. The two freed Bruce Wayne from Azrael and Tourne murdered Jean-Paul only for the two to be killed by Bruce who had been driven insane from 30 years of captivity in Jean-Paul's batcave.
In Other Media
Azrael is portrayed by James Frain in the second season of Gotham.
Azrael is playable in the Nintendo DS version of the game.
- Azrael means "death" in Jewish Tradition and is the name of the Archangel of Death in Abrahamic Faith.