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Batman (Jean-Paul Valley): Misc

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DC Comics

Up to date as of February 01, 2010
(Redirected to Jean-Paul Valley (New Earth) article)

From DC Database

Character Template Character Template
Current Alias

Aliases
Batman, Az-Bat

Identity

Alignment


Relatives
Jean-Paul Valley, Sr. (father, deceased)

Universe

Base Of Operations

Characteristics
Gender

Height
6' 2"

Weight
210 lbs (95 kg)

Eyes

Hair

Status
Marital Status

Occupation
Vigilante, Student


First appearance
Appearance of Death

Batman: Sword of Azrael #1
(October, 1992)
Azrael: Agent of the Bat #100
(May, 2003)

Contents

History

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Overview

Jean-Paul Valley, better known as Azrael, is a vigilante who formerly operated out of Gotham City. Most of his extraordinary abilities come from severe amounts of subconscious training and conditioning he was put through during his youth, unaware that he was being controlled by a 500-year old devout religious sect called the Order of St. Dumas. Named after the Angel of Death, Jean-Paul Valley is actually descended from a long line of crimefighters using the Azrael suit and name. Although in his initial appearances, his psychological conditioning led him to become an often remorseless killer in the name of vengeance, lengthy time spent with the Batman Family led him to distance himself from the extremist views of his ingrained teachings and to a more responsible and humane approach to Justice. As Azrael, his main nemesis was Carleton LeHah, an evil man of wealth who believed himself to be serving the demon Biis, the Order of St. Dumas' sworn enemy. Valley served for awhile as the second Batman when Bruce Wayne's spine was crippled, although he would later be forced to relinquish the role. His career apparently ended when he was apparently killed being shot and falling off of a balcony at the hands of LeHah.

Origins

See also: Batman: Sword of Azrael

A test-tube baby, from his conception Jean-Paul's genetic structure was altered by scientists with Animal DNA, engineering him to be capable of feats beyond those of a normal human. He grew up oblivious to his intended larger purpose, and became a student of Programming at Gotham University. He learned of his family's legacy when his father, the previous Azrael, crawled bleeding to his apartment one night in costume, having been mortally wounded by LeHah.[1] Before requesting that his body be dumped somewhere where the family secrets wouldn't be uncovered, his father supplied him with money, and the means to travel to Switzerland and meet with the Order of St. Dumas who would supply him with his training. It was later revealed that his father had actually been attempting to supply Jean-Paul with the means to escape the Order's influences, but his intentions were misread.[2] In the Swiss Alps, a man named Nomoz taught Valley of the responsibilities of Azrael, and revealed that despite believing himself to be rather mild-mannered, he was in reality already a more-than-capable fighter requiring no additional training, having been already unknowingly suitably conditioned. His conditioning is the result of a process referred to as "The System", the full implications on the human psyche of which have never been fully explained. His first time donning his costume, Azrael meets Batman (Bruce Wayne), accompanied by his butler Alfred, who had traveled to Switzerland investigating the mystery behind Azrael's father's death. Although at first they are at odds with each other, Azrael is eventually forced to rescue Bruce from Biis (LeHah), and ends up rejecting the Order's violent and uncaring methods in favor of the more humanitarian efforts Batman encourages. Already being aware of Wayne's secret identity, he travels back to Gotham and begins working with the Batman Family.

Knightfall

Main article: Knightfall
Jean-Paul's outfit as Batman

Bruce quickly began to train Azrael as a replacement Batman, to protect Gotham City in the event that an emergency should prevent him from doing it himself. Valley is called up to active duty under the cowl sooner than expected, when the supervillain Bane breaks Bruce Wayne's spine,[3] crippling him and forcing him into a wheelchair. Although initially effective in his role, the effect of The System on Valley's mind led him to becoming a much more cold and violent Caped Crusader, alienating many of Batman's former friends and allies, including notable Commissioner Gordon and Robin. For a period, Jean-Paul went insane. Utilizing skills implanted deeply within his mind, he modified the Bat-suit to a much more technologically advanced version capable of inflicting more damage. While as intended, it was initially difficult to discern that a new man was underneath the suit, several close to Batman on both sides of the law were immediately able to tell that it was someone new. Most notably Catwoman and the Joker. However, as Valley grew more involved in his role, it quickly became apparent that he was of a different breed. He allowed the mass murdered Abbatoir to fall to his death, and allowed several other innocent people to die as indirect results of his actions, preferring to punish criminals rather than save lives. He found detective work to be boring, and concentrated much more on the physical aspects of crimefighting. His adventures as Batman would also not infrequently take him outside of Gotham City, functioning in Batman's role along with other heroes even in large battles such as the Bloodbath mission launched by Amanda Waller against the Taker.[4]
Although Valley appeared to be doing a good job of cleaning up crime in Gotham, it was quickly brought to the attention of Bruce Wayne that his methods were both violent and irresponsible. However, he was also able to defeat Bane in single combat, albeit using the innovations of his new suit.[5] Although Jean-Paul, in his mentally-altered state, believed himself to be a superior Batman, and a logical permanent successor, after Wayne's recovery, he was forcibly ejected from the position through physical combat when he refused to relinquish it.[6] Feeling shamed, Valley returned to his identity as Azrael and sought to redeem himself in Batman's eyes.

Agent of the Bat

Azrael would eventually evolve from being focused on his role as a member of the Order, to being strictly obedient to Batman, to finally becoming more his own independent crimefighter. He would make several costume changes throughout his life as Azrael reflecting his internal changes.[7] Azrael assisted the Bat-family regularly, acting as a major force during the Contagion fiasco, and as a large player in the No Man's Land crisis when Gotham City was abandoned by the United States government after an earthquake, becoming an impoverished gang-ruled battlezone.[8] He regularly fought the forces of Biis as well, and worked actively to bring about the downfall of the Order of St. Dumas, a task in which he mostly succeeded. Jean-Paul, even in his civilian identity, is continually plagued by hallucinations presumably brought up by The System, manifesting both his own father and St. Dumas himself. His struggles with insanity are a recurring problem for him, although he is usually able to fight through them.

Death and Legacy

Azrael was eventually killed in a fight with his two greatest enemies, Biis and Scratch. He was shot through his armor by multiple teflon-coated bullets, and then tumbled off of a balcony with LeHah.[9] Although his costume was recovered, his corpse was not.

Five years later, the Order of Purity, a splinter sect of the Sacred Order of St. Dumas creates a new Azrael for Gotham City in ex-police officer Michael Lane.[10]

Blackest Night

Main article: Blackest Night
Azrael's return
Jean-Paul Valley was revived as a member of the Black Lantern Corps with a power ring. He murders a bystander, proclaiming, "You don't deserve a savior who sacrificed as much as I did to protect your corrupt and misled lives. You don't deserve Azrael!" He attempts to murder the Scarecrow, although Scarecrow simply isn't capable of feeling the fear that Black Lanterns feed on, thus is practically invisible to Azrael.[11]

Powers and Abilities

Powers

  • Genetic Enhancement: Raised in a test tube and put through various DNA experimentation in his fetal state, Jean-Paul's physiology allows him enhanced strength, speed and reflexes.

    Abilities

  • Hand-to-Hand Combat (Advanced): Mental programming from The System has led Azrael to become a vastly above-average hand-to-hand fighter. While not on the same skill-level as Batman, he has proven himself more than capable of handling most physical threats.
  • Computer Operation: Jean-Paul Valley studied Computer Programming at Gotham University.

    Strength level

  • Peak Human

    Weaknesses

  • Mental Illness: The Sacred Order of St. Dumas purposefully built an almost split-personality into Jean-Paul Valley. While his normal persona has no seeming irregularities, the Azrael persona is much more ragingly violent, and believes itself to be the manifestation of an actual biblical angel of vengeance. Originally, he was also only able to manifest his superhuman abilities while in the Azrael costume and mindset. Later in his career, although he was still plagued by inner demons, and often even hallucinations, he gained better control over his two conflicting personalities, including the ability to utilize Azrael's abilities while acting as Jean-Paul.

Paraphernalia

Equipment

  • Kevlar Body-Armor

Weapons

  • Flaming Sword
  • Projectile Blades
  • Flamethrowers

Notes

  • As the sect that conditioned him was a largely medieval organization, other members of the Batman Family would notice that occasionally Azrael's solutions to problems would ignore easier actions he could've taken using modern technology. For example, during the events of "Contagion" where he had to deliver an antidote recipe into the quarantined Gotham City, he attempted a mad rush of the surrounding fences past the military, and did succeed; but meanwhile his accomplices simply e-mailed it to the hospitals. This is contradictory to his mindset as Jean-Paul, who would normally, as a student of programming, been very aware of the possibility of such a solution.

Trivia

  • The gauntlets used by Valley during his time as the Batman are now used by the Manhunter, Kate Spencer.
  • Prior to the return of Azrael in 2008, several minor events around the DC Universe foreshadowed his comeback. Notes on the Chalkboard of time traveler Rip Hunter proclaim "Jean Paul Valley Lives!"[12], and later "Azrael comes and goes".[13] There's also a minor behind the scenes cameo that can be seen during Gotham Underground.[14] However, rather than Jean-Paul Valley as the chalkboard claimed, it is actually a different man underneath Azrael's hood.

See Also

Recommended Reading

  • Azrael

Links and References

  • Azrael at Wikipedia
  • Azrael at the Unofficial Guide to the DC Universe
  • The Religion of Azrael at Adherents
  • Azrael at Geocities
  • Azrael at thebatman.bravepages.com
  • Azrael at Batman: Yesterday, Today and Beyond
  • Azrael at Brave and the Bold

Footnotes

  1. Batman: Sword of Azrael #1
  2. Azrael Annual #1
  3. Batman #497
  4. Bloodbath #1
  5. Batman #500
  6. Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight #63
  7. DC Comics Encyclopedia
  8. Azrael: Agent of the Bat #50-61
  9. Azrael: Agent of the Bat #100
  10. Azrael: Death's Dark Knight #1
  11. Blackest Night #4
  12. Booster Gold (Volume 2) #10
  13. Booster Gold (Volume 2) #1,000,000
  14. Gotham Underground #8
Image:Star.png

Jean-Paul Valley (New Earth) was a monthly Main Page Featured Article on the DC Database Project for its degree of quality, excellence, and general not-suckiness.

DC
Batman Family member

This character is or was an incarnation of or an ally of Batman, and a member of the Batman Family. This template will automatically categorize articles that include it into the "Batman Family members" category.


This article uses material from the "Jean-Paul Valley (New Earth)" article on the DC Comics wiki at Wikia and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike License.

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