This was alright. It had its moments and features some attractive and exciting artwork. Seeing as how the 2nd Azrael isn’t going to be showing up in the New 52 anytime soon this is pretty much your only opportunity to see that character in action ever again.
Other than getting one more adventure with Azrael, the book’s greatest strength is that (like all the issues before it) it’s an easily accessible done-in-one story and the artwork is also quite good. Besides Mayor Sharp, artist Jheremy Raapack does an excellent job of capturing the look and feel of all of Arkham City’s characters and locations. Not only is there a heavy emphasis on Azrael (who looks great) but we spend a little time with Batman, Riddler, Gordon, and a few other surprises as well and all of these characters are rendered perfectly to match their video game design. One thing that did strike me as odd was a note on the setting that was leftover from the comic being published in three parts online. Getting a reminder that we were in ARKHAM CITY – CHURCH/MEDICAL CENTER in the final 1/3 of the book was unnecessary in a single printed edition.
As for the story, it’s a really condensed look at Azrael’s origin. The Order of St. Dumas is addressed very briefly and basically only one aspect of his transformation into Azrael is covered so it’s not going to give you the full picture. You’ll have to go on eBay or dig around in your comic shop’s back issues to really understand how Azrael 2.0 began. Parts of this left me rather confused to be honest. My familiarity with the character is limited. I know Jean Paul Valley’s Azrael well enough but I think anyone reading this truncated depiction of Azrael 2.0’s beginnings will still feel like they hardly know the character. I know I certainly don’t get the sense that I know him any better. All this story proved to me is that Azrael looks cool and he’s a bad ass that probably could’ve helped Batman out WAY more in the Arkham City game and saved a lot of lives if he wasn’t so busy playing “Where’s Waldo” and coming up with mysterious phrases to whisper all night long.
Is it worth picking up? Eh…maybe. For $3.99? Not it’s probably not. Not unless you’re a big fan of Azrael or Raapack’s art anyway. The first 1/3 of the book explains what happened to Mayor Sharp in the video game and if you played the game you know all of that already. The 2/3 is the origin story which should’ve had more attention brought to it because it was a bit hard to follow– magic suit, possession, kidnapped kids, etc. It’s a lot of info to take in. And the last act is a really short fight scene that I wasn’t that involved in. Not great nor terrible, but not really necessary reading either.