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Azrael

Azrael

Real Name
Jean-Paul Valley Jr.
First Appearance
Batman: Sword of Azrael #1 (October, 1992)
Creators
Denny O'Neil, Joe Quesada
Team Affliations
Sacred Order of Saint Dumas, Batman Family, Black Lantern Corps
Aliases
Michael Washington Lane, Batman
Base of Operations
Gotham City
Powers
Artificially Enhanced Physiology
Skills and Abilities
Combat Expertise, High Intelligence, Computer Expertise
Tools and Weapons
Special Armored Costume

Azrael is a antihero turned superhero in the DC Universe and was most famous for temporarily replacing Batman as a more ruthless vigilante.

OriginEdit

Raised to be an avenger for the mysterious Order of St. Dumas, Jean-Paul Valley eventually broke free from their influence and struck out on his own as a crime fighter.

BiographyEdit

ChildhoodEdit

Jean-Paul Valley was created in a test tube, created with genetic engineering in which they infused human DNA with that of an animal's in order to create a warrior more human than human. For most of his life, Valley has been brainwashed by "The Sacred Order of St. Dumas", an insidious religious order, who use a strong mental conditioning method referred to as The System. The Order intended to Jean-Paul to be the next Azrael, a mantle passed down through the generations to become an assassin for St. Dumas. Jean-Paul, unaware of this, became a programming student at Gotham University.

Taking the Mantle of AzraelEdit

When Jean-Paul's father, who was the previous Azrael, was mortally wounded by the villain LeHah, he arrived at Jean-Paul's dorm and gave Jean-Paul money and orders to fly to Switzerland and meet the Order of St. Dumas, after telling him of his destiny as Azrael and his family lineage. However, what Jean-Paul failed to notice was his father's attempt to warn his son about working with the Order and had actually intended for him to have the information that would allow him to escape the Order's influence, which he had now mistrusted. After Jean-Paul arrived in Switzerland, a man named Nomoz revealed to him both this lineage and his innate fighting and detective abilities ingrained in him through mental conditioning and genetic engineering. This was a shock to Jean-Paul, believing himself to be a normal person, and Nomoz explained that "The System" allowed him to live a normal life while improving both his physical abilities and his mental abilities, though the full effect the System had on the mind was unknown.

Before continuing with his training to continue his father's mission, the chalet he and Nomoz were at was attacked by LeHah. It is then Azrael meets Batman, who he believes to be an enemy and was also investigating the mystery with Alfred, and engages in a brief skirmish before escaping with Nomoz. Later, Azrael investigates a lead at a hospital with Nomoz only to be ambushed by LeHah, now calling himself Biis after the demon who is considered the archenemy of Azrael. Batman soon enters the fray and ends up being drugged and defeated by Biis, who then kidnaps him. Alfred, Nomoz, and Azrael decide to work together and take Azrael to a St. Dumas hideout to recouperate and while trying to locate Biis, soon found that Biis was posing as Batman and was planning to use the Wayne fortune to further his own ends.

Azrael, Nomoz and Alfred track Biis to the home of Harcourt, a member of the Order of St. Dumas, where Biis was about to assassinate him dressed as Batman. However, Alfred is horrified to see Azrael (now in a strange trance) murder Harcourt's guards when they attempt to stop Azrael, believing him to be an assassin. Azrael confronts Biis, but fails to stop him from assassinating Harcourt and escaping.

The trio then tracked Biis down to an oil refinery in Texas, where LeHahwas trying to sacrifice Bruce Wayne to the demons he worships. Alfred asked Azrael not to kill anyone while saving Bruce, but Azrael then confessed that he cannot remember who he is as Azrael and is driven purely by his instict to finish his mission any way he can. When inside, Azrael begins to battle LeHah, a fire is accidentally started, and Azrael is put in a position to chose between persuing LeHah and saving Bruce. Azrael choses to save Bruce, which enrages Nomoz, who believes that Azrael is an angel of death, not a savior. In response, Jean Paul tells Nomoz that he is a man, not an angel. He then joined forces with Batman, asking him to help break the mental conditioning of the Order of St. Dumas.

KnightfallEdit

Jean-Paul Valley then began training with Batman, who hoped that should Bruce Wayne die, that Jean would take over the role of Batman. Jean was also put in a security position in WayneCorp, helping battle a gang called the Skulls with Tim Drake. It was around this time Jean-Paul and Robin became aware that the System's effect of increasing Azrael's aggression was still very much a part of him. For a brief time, Azrael also took on the mantle of Batman to battle Killer Croc, only to be throroughly defeated, which put a lot of frustration and humiliation in Jean-Paul's psyche. He redoubled his training efforts, but his frustration caused him to go out and beat some randoms thieves within an inch of their lives.

Around this time, Batman was targeted by villain Bane, who released all of Batman's greatest foes from Arkham Asylum in the hopes of wearing him out. The plan worked and when Batman and Bane faced off, Bane broke Batman's back, paralyzing him. Soon, Jean-Paul, Robin, and Alfred rescued Batman from the streets and they retrieved a special medicine to help Batman in his recovery. But with Bruce Wayne out of commission, Jean-Paul needed to take on the role of Batman, but Bruce insist that Jean-Paul not strike at Bane, fearing him too dangerous. However, after Jean-Paul takes up the mantle, Robin quickly disapproves of Jean-Paul's way of doing things, flauting many of the Bruce Wayne's rules related to Batman and his brutal actions in general.

Jean-Paul dismisses Robin and decides to work alone on a case involving the Scarecrow. During this mission, he was doused with a fear toxin Scarecrow was known for using but because of Jean-Paul's mental programing by the "system", he was able to overcome it and defeat Scarecrow with the help of the antihero Anarky. Following Jean-Paul's exposure to the fear gas, the already agressive hero began to behave even more brutally to his enemies, including beating information out of a criminal and using him as bait in an attempt to lure out Bane.

After a fight with Bane, Jean-Paul was nearly defeated, leading him to fall more under the influence of The System in the hopes of finding a way to defeat Bane once and for all. To this end, he made his own high-tech version of the Batman costume, designed to take down villains like Bane with brutal efficency.  Eventually, he confronted Bane and defeated him, managing to defeat the one foe Batman was unable to.

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