Three Mysteries is an Azrael storyline written by David Hine and illustrated by Cliff Richards. It's Hine's second arc on the Azrael series, following his debut storyline The Killer of Saints and leading into the series' conclusion in The Tears of God.
Azrael gets closer to insanity as he begins self-flaggelating and seeing visions of Father Grieve, the heretic he murdered. Having returned to Gotham as the Insider, Bruce Wayne tells Dick Grayson to invite Lane into Batman Incorporated so they can keep an eye on him. Paratino has the Suit of Sorrows repaired by his benefactor Ra's al Ghul, giving it back to Azrael with tampering by scientist Hans Gerlicht. This amplifies the voices in Azrael's head and he goes on a screaming rampage of violence until he's stopped by Batman, who he stabs. Back at Wayne Manor the next day Bruce reprimands Dick for his failure and explains that Azrael committed suicide by crucifying himself. Peter Farelli explains to Harvey Bullock and Josie Mac that he assisted Lane by nailing him to the cross after Lane stabbed himself. The knife used was forged centuries ago by the Order of Purity to kill the first Azrael, and when Lane died a lightning bolt destroyed the Church although the sky was clear. Grayson investigates Azrael's death by talking to Jenny Lane, and she recounts their last night of love-making although refuses to reveal his secrets. Batman fights the White Ghost when he steals the Suit of Sorrows, and Wayne detects chemicals from a Lazarus Pit on the helm. Ra's al Ghul finds Lane's body in the morgue and announces that they should see a result by the third day. Grieve guides the spirit of Michael Lane through Purgatory where he must walk with the souls killed by Azrael. Bruce and Dick both wear their Batsuits to visit Ra's who has stolen Lane's body. Michael reaches the end of his path with Grieve, where Geoffrey de Cantonna stands with the other Azraels throughout history and tells Michael the Suit will not control him any longer. Michael is revived and it's explained that his suit now functions as a walking Lazarus Pit. Bruce is granted an audience with him and asks Azrael to join Batman Incorporated, but Lane insists that his battle is not against crime but against sin and declines. He stabs Batman with the Sword of Sin and shows him the two possible futures, one where Azrael is Gotham's savior and one where he is the anti-Christ. Batman realizes that Lane's future as the Bat-Devil is not destiny by choice and he might still be a hero. The two Batmen leave knowing that Azrael will still be their ally, and Azrael walks away although Grieve still appears behind him.
- This storyline is reprinted alongside Hine's other storylines The Tears of God and Judgment on Gotham in the larger Batman: Gotham Shall Be Judged collected edition.
- Azrael's suicide has been foreshadowed since Fabian Nicieza's Angel in the Dark showed it in flash-forward.
- This storyline heavily examines Michael Lane's destiny as the villainous Bat-Devil. This is a reference to his appearances with the Three Ghosts of Batman, where he is shown to fight Damian Wayne in a post-apocalyptic future during Batman in Bethlehem.
- Azrael Recommended Reading
Links and References
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