Sword of Azrael #3 review

We have now reached the halfway point of Dan Watters’ stellar Sword of Azrael. Jean-Paul is still seeking the truth about the founding of the Order of St. Dumas as he tries to save Brielle Arnier from going down the same path as himself. There have been a few minor elements that I wasn’t hot on in previous issues but in general, this creative team has given me little to critique. Will that change this month? Let’s see!

I still think this is a great comic. Dan Watters and Nikola Cizmesija are one of the best creative teams currently working at DC. I’d say this issue sees them achieving their highest level of cohesion yet. Cizmesija has dialed his style in to fit the tone of the story better. We see a greater emphasis on deep shadows and he has also scaled back his manga inspired stylization.

Look! He drew feet!

Compare the above page from the latest issue to something from the team’s Batman: Urban Legends story.

Both showcase great art but the slight changes he has made suit Watters writing much better.

Despite all these good things, there are a few aspects of Watters’ writing that I’m a bit unenthused about.

First and foremost is the overabundance of narration in some scenes. It’s well written and far from the most excessive script I’ve read but nevertheless it does harm the pacing.

A lot of this narration is unnecessary. I don’t know what it adds to the scene. On the other hand, I know exactly what it is taking away. Cizmesija’s art! It’s being covered up! His backgrounds are one of my favorite elements of this comic so I’d much rather have a chance to see them!

Watters attributes the creation of the System to Orion and Kalibak losing a motherbox during a fight in medieval Europe. I’m just not into this idea. It takes away some of the mystique of the system to explain it in the first place but to further claim that it was developed in the middle ages and came from new god tech is a bit too far out there. This also diminishes the Order of St. Dumas and the Knights Templar by assigning what was formerly their ingenuity to an alien source.

I’ll also give a quick shout out to the colorist and letterer. Marissa Louise and Hassan Otsmane-Elhaou are both killing it and I haven’t given them enough praise. The color palette is endlessly rich and varied. It syncs with the linework perfectly. The letters fit in just as well, making different characters distinct and supporting the visual language of the comic as a whole.

Recommended if…

  • You like great art (I hope)
  • It could be a while before we get another Azrael series. Enjoy it while it lasts!
  • You’re curious how the System was created


This is a great comic. I never expected to see Azrael get this kind of spotlight again (especially with such a high quality creative team) so I feel lucky every month just to be getting this book. It is still an easy recommendation for me. Buy it!

Score: 8.5/10

Disclaimer: DC Comics provided a copy of this issue for the purpose of this review.