Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Azrael


Jean-Paul Valley's story is pretty complicated, but here's the quick version. His father was a super assassin type guy for the Order of St. Dumas. His father secretly trained Jean-Paul from birth with subconscious commands, called "The System," on how to be a super assassin too. When his father dies, Jean-Paul becomes Azrael. On one of his first tasks, Azrael runs across Batman, and decides to ditch the assassin gig and join Batman with the superheroics. Batman grows to trust Azrael so much that when Bane breaks his back, Batman asks Jean-Paul to take over. The only problem is that The System is constantly fighting for control of Jean-Paul's mind, and he becomes more and more violent, violating all of Batman's principles. Eventually, Bruce recovers and has to take back what they constantly referred to as "the mantle of the Bat" by force. Not long after, Azrael was presumed dead in the comics and Jean-Paul Valley hasn't been seen since, but I keep hearing rumors of his imminent return.

Pros: Personally, I hated the character and every story he was involved in. Drop a comment if you liked him and why, please, cause I'm stumped.

Cons: He was very 90s-comics. Big muscles, mental anguish, fonts meant to imply spooky/scary voice, giant fireballs, stuff like that. He didn't have pouches strapped everywhere though, maybe that could go in the "Pros" section.

How I'd do it: You have to ditch the costume (or modify it so radically that it's unrecognizable) and ditch The System. There's a super secret organization called the Order of St. Dumas that doesn't like the whole Batman thing, so they send their best assassin, codenamed Azrael. But that's awfully close to the League of Shadows being pissed at Batman for killing Ra's al Ghul and having Talia send their best assassin, Lady Shiva. And the League of Shadows/Talia/Shiva story is much better, I think.

Casting Guesses: Jean-Paul's supposed to be European, I think (Swiss?), and in good shape. Karl Urban isn't European, but he's good at faking it. I think I suggested him for some other part, too, but oh well. Thomas Kretschmann is German but looks the part a little.

Verdict: I can't imagine any reason it would happen. I just didn't find him to be a character who was in any way interesting. Any Azrael-related story could be better handled by another existing Batman character.

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I agree. Azrael was a typical 90's anti-hero. And we all know how well those characters have aged.

A said...

Well, I think a character like Azrael might work if done in a good way.

For example, in the wake of all of Gotham thinking Batman killed five people in the name of Justice, a new vigilante comes following what he thinks is Batman's image. Calling himself Azrael, Jean Paul Valley terrorizes Gotham with his extreme methods, and Batman has to redeem his image by bringing him down before he does something far too rash.

To tie in the Order, you could make him a fanatic under the wing of an insane society that wants to eliminate all people they see as evil, and they could be brainwashing people to join in their murderous quest (a good way to draw in Mr. Zsasz by changing his motives from "liberating" people from the monotony of life to "freeing the world of evil" or something). Might be a good way to bring in Reverend Whats-His-Face as well.

But that might draw too much from The League Of Assassins as they were used in the first movie. But, then again, the reveal could be that the whole society is actually Ra's, mysteriously healed, returning to finish the job.

Boisot said...

Well, I think Jean-Paul Valley is actually the most suitable villain for Batman 3. If you see how plausible they made The Joker in The Dark Knight, Azrael can actually end up as a realistic and scary antagonist as well.

Especially with nowadays themes as religious fundamentalism, I think Valley would be very suitable to star in part 3. Like poster 'A' said before, Batman can also blame Azrael for all the murders he was accused of at the end of The Dark Knight (although it wouldn't be a polite thing to do) and therewith clean his reputation.

Summarized, Azrael would definitly work in a new part.