It’s a sad day. Sword of Azrael is concluded. This comic has consistently kept me anticipating each month and invested me in a story I didn’t know I wanted told. It would take a pretty spectacular failure for this issue to tarnish the good name that Dan Watters has given the series so far.
While I have to admit this final issue wasn’t quite as good as the last few, that isn’t to say it wasn’t great. We are still treated to the same quality action as before and the plot is effectively wrapped up.
The biggest flaw here is the slight fumble of the final revelation.
On a positive note, I enjoy the implication that Azrael has finally found the ability to show mercy despite Jean-Paul always having the ability to do so. I also respect the fact that Watters doesn’t feel the need to spell this out in big bold words. If a reader has been paying attention to the story so far everything is clear. It’s a mark of good writing to be able to strike the balance between too much explanation and not enough.
Outside of that, I don’t have anything else new to say about the writing. It continues to be well paced, the characters are portrayed perfectly and the stakes are high. I would have liked a little more time with Father Valley to explore his character and his connection to Jean-Paul but I can also accept the limitations of space in a series of this length.
The writing is solid and whether we get a follow-up or not I’m very satisfied with this series.
The art on the other hand is a little uneven. There is less polish evident here when compared to previous issues and without art assistance like he had for the previous issue Cizmesija clearly struggled to get this issue finished on time. There are some beautiful panels as seen below.
I can barely describe how much I love this panel. The painterly quality of the colors from Marissa Louise is especially delightful.
Unfortunately, not all the art is of similar quality. The last few pages in particular are very rough. Check out this panel.
To me, this looks like a rough sketch. It’s scribbly to the point that it’s not stylized but rather unfinished. Father Valley’s face is especially messy with the eyes misaligned and the perspective practically changing between both sides of the head. Despite the messiness, I do respect the fact that Cizmesija managed to keep the book releasing on time. Too many DC comics get delayed at this point. It’s hard to balance polish and timeliness but when you’re working in an industry that is built on monthly releases there will be some times when you have to put the pencil down and call it good enough.
- You’ve read this far, why stop now?
- It’s still good!
- Do it.
It has been a pleasure covering this book and I hope Dan Watters continues Azrael’s story soon. I will also be checking out anything that Nikola Cizmesija works on in the future. He’s a brilliant artist. If you haven’t been reading this comic, I strongly recommend picking up the trade when it’s released. Especially if you’re an Azrael fan, this is a must-read!
Disclaimer: DC Comics provided a copy of this comic for the purpose of this review.