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    Reviews - Batman: Sword of Azrael - #2

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7.5 out of 10 - salloria
Jean-Paul Valley slowly begins to learn about the Order of St. Dumas, and his costume gets an upgrade to prepare him for his new mission: to avenge. Batman and Alfred narrowly escape death - a few times - as they continue to close in on the mystery of the Order. Meanwhile, the Order's old treasurer, Carlton LeHah, now follows the demon lord known as Biis, and he wants to not only wipe out the last remaining members of the Order, but to take their vast fortune with him…

Unlike the first issue, Dennis O'Neil cuts back on the Order's history and instead focuses on the current story at hand, resulting in an issue that flows a little better. Unfortunately, there's a glaring plot point regarding a hovercraft and Batman's recognition of it, and then inability to recognize it, that's a big enough problem that you can't help but notice it. Aside from that, though, the story really starts to take shape as the players are positioned for the inevitable face off.

Again, unlike the first issue, Joe Quesada cleans up his panels a little, and it makes the aforementioned flow of the issue work much better. Also a plus are the upgrades that Azrael's costume gets and the costume LeHah wears is downright crazy, but then again, so is the character, so it all fits perfectly. I did chuckle at the scene of Batman - sans cowl - sporting shades that Eric Estrada would presumably give a kidney for, but all in all, a step up from the last issue.

It seems that the creators have refined their focus in this series, and it shows. We'll see how the third part goes, but I'd definitely recommend this to Bat-fanatics… a caper with Alfred along for the ride - and his witty banter - is always a winner in my books.

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