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Azrael #66

O'Neil (w), Robinson (p), Pascoe (i)
Reviewed by JYD

Well, I'd heard rumblings the past few months that the hole "Azrael" had been slowly sinking into was reversing itself, beginning with #66. Many had been optimistic following the end of NML that the stupor "Azrael" had been in since half-way through NML (and, aside from the first half of NML, the previous 20 issues or so) was gone with the storyline b/t #62-65. I begged to differ. #66 APPEARS to be that turning point though--even if it was clumsy in parts (Brian's conversation w/ JP explaining Lilhy's actions in the last year seemed out of place--if JP cared at all about Lilhy pre-NML he would have asked about her much earlier IMO). Still, for those calling for a bloody violent Azrael, you have one, granted it's from the Asian Order of St. Dumas--this storyline has the potential to show the growth (albeit very SLOW growth) JP has undertaken over the last 46 issues or so.

I was pleased with this issue--even though it wasn't spectacular, I felt it laid some solid groundwork for some very interesting developments. Unfortunately, it was bogged down w/ useless cameo appearances by Batgirl, and deux es machina ending w/ Batman--but the storyline unrolled at just the right pace and the artwork by Roger Robinson was brilliant as usual. I'm anticipating his transition onto "Gotham Knights" as I feel he draws a mean Batman and Batgirl, etc. (just the right amount of shadows, very little underwear shots--they both look really creepy). Overall, I'm hoping this issue wasn't a fluke, but I'm still holding out my full opinion of the book until after the artist changes happen (Sergio "everybody scowls" C. and Tony Harris doing covers). Still, this possible "beginning of the end" storyline has a lot going for it--don't fail me now!

The JYD's Grade: "Azrael" #66--B