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Azrael #67

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

Am I someone who is hard to please? Possibly. Am I someone who has very high standards (bordering on psychosis)? I think so. How does this relate to the latest issue of "Azrael"? Well, let's see. I get my comics a couple months after they first came out so my reading #67 now instead of back when it was originally released gives me time to gather the word on the street about an issue before I read it. I'd heard a lot from dekard (a poster on the DC Message Boards) about how pleased he was with the direction "Azrael" is going and I'd read the usually inane comments of the meatheads in the "Azrael" boards--the majority (I felt) had been positive about this new plotline. I, however, am just not satisfied.

I do enjoy reading "Azrael"--don't get me wrong--but now I almost feel that I'm reading the series simply for (a) the collector's spirit (gotta have 'em all) and (b) the mentality that I've gone this far... So I feel an obligation to continue reading "Azrael," even though I feel not much has happened. I believe Jean Paul as a person has developed (those changes are very apparent--simply compare #1 to #23 to #48 to #67)...but that really doesn't mean much to me when nothing else happens TO JP. He's had his share of adventures, but no mention is ever made of, say, the repurcussions of his battles with the Monstermaker, or Bane. And, until recently, the Order had been abandoned (the best set of storylines I felt).

Now that the Order is back, JP is continuing to evolve, and action is taking place (ignoring the rediculous plane crash at the end of #67 which should have torn the plane apart and resulted in JP's grisly death) as well as the hints of intrigue. Everything should be moving in a great direction, right? So why do I feel so numb after issues of "Azrael." Why don't I care? I almost feel like I'm in a stupor (not a bad one when you're pleading for an issue to end, like "Batman" #576)--afterwards nothing carries over with me from the storyline. That's the way I felt after having read #66 (I rated that as a "B"). Things happened...but they weren't very exciting. So what's the problem with me? Am I growing too old for comic books? No, I don't think so. But I think either I'm setting my standards too high (and they ain't going down any time soon) or I'm expecting more from my comic books. I think it's the latter case--when I compare "Azrael" to "Starman" (both series that came out practically a month apart from each other, both concerning a hero's growth etc.) I can see a difference.

This brings me to an interesting dillemma--do I continue to purchase "Azrael," even though I don't feel like it's thrilling me? Do I wait until after #75 when O'Neil has said (in an interview I read today) that, once again, "Azrael," is getting a change of direction? I don't know... Should I stick it out to the end? WILL this series ever end?

Another question I don't have the answer to. I think, though, that something's going to have happen pretty soon. Don't get me wrong, the issue was good...but in a "blah who cares?" kind of way.

The JYD's Grade: "Azrael" #67--B-