"Vanishing Angels & Sudden Death": The story starts with Jean-Paul Ludovic Valley, acting as Azrael, confronting Carleton LeHah. Lehah draws a modified firearm, which he uses to shoot Azrael multiple times, tearing through h
- Know that men call you liar! Know that men call you betrayer! Know that men call you defiler! Therefore, it is the duty of the angel Azrael to bring you punishment -- the punishment of death by fiery sword!
- — Azrael
Synopsis for "Vanishing Angels & Sudden Death"
The story starts with Jean-Paul Ludovic Valley, acting as Azrael, confronting Carleton LeHah. Lehah draws a modified firearm, which he uses to shoot Azrael multiple times, tearing through his bullet-proof vest. Azrael manages to escape, but not before injuring Lehah. Azrael falls into the street, landing in the middle of the Gotham City Founder's Day Parade. He lands on a horse, which he rides to safety, though he accidentally injures several people, killing four, and causes a riot in his escape. Ignoring offers of help, Azrael abandons his equipment and stumbles, bloody and bleeding, to the apartment of his son, Jean-Paul Valley. Ludovic manages to detail to his son the previous events, and give some parting instructions, before dying. Jean-Paul is distraught.
Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne is discussing the nature of the riot and its cause with his loyal butler, Alfred Pennyworth. They examine a bullet riddled bullet-proof vest found near the scene of the incident, and Bruce notes that weapons dealer Carleton Lehah owns a penthouse near the scene of the incident. He dons a Batsuit, and resolves to get to the bottom of the strange incident, where some witnesses reported a falling angel.
Elsewhere, Jean-Paul Valley finds instructions from his father, and follows them, after which a pair of mysterious men come to remove his father's body. Then he finds 40,000 dollars in various currencies, and further directions to fly to a small airfield in Switzerland. There he is picked up by a man who refuses to answer his questions, and is driven for almost six hours until they arrive at a small village deep in the Swiss Alps. There he is met by Nomoz, a short hairy man who tells him about his father's occupation as Azrael. He intructs his assistant, Heinreich, to strike Jean-Paul several times while explaining these things, and tells the timid Valley that he will instruct him in "the system", and by extension, how to become Azrael.
Batman investigates Carleton Lehah's penthouse, and finds evidence of the later's altercation with Ludovic Valley. There he plants a sophisticated microphone and listens in on a conversation Lehah is having at the house, where the weapons dealer mentions that "old Dumas will be in for a surprise."
While Nomoz continues to inform Jean-Paul about the system, and Azrael, Batman discusses the riot incident with Commissioner Gordon, where Gordon gives Batman more details. Batman investigates the area around where the incident took place, and discovers Ludovic's sword hidden in a cellar. It is emblazoned with the symbol of the Sacred Order of St. Dumas
Meanwhile, Nomoz uses hypnosis to activate "the system" in Jean-Paul, who immediately feels a change, and knocks over Heinreich. Jean-Paul is puzzled as to how he has suddenly become a "tough guy." Nomoz states that although Valley has a the skills and knowledge, he does not have the body, but that "the mountains will cure that."
Back in Gotham City, Batman calls upon Oracle to help him in his investigation, where she finds information on the Ancient Order of St. Dumas, and details it to Batman.
Nomoz explains to Jean-Paul the purpose of Azrael and how the role was hereditary, while Bruce and Alfred travel by private jet to Switzerland, where they find out that Lehah had already arrived. The two set out in a helicopter to investigate the village that Lehah probably traveled to. Meanwhile, Nomoz is giving Jean-Paul the Azrael costume for the first time, when he notices the sound of Bruce and Alfred's helicopter, who have in turn noticed that the glade that Nomoz's chalet is located is cut and shaped to form the symbol of the Order of St. Dumas. Unknown to both parties, Lehah is observing the chalet from a ridge, where he seeks to test a new weapon on Nomoz's chalet, despite the objections of his accomplice. He fires the weapon at the chalet, which is struck by a pulsing beam of energy, which causes an explosion, which upsets Bruce's helicopter...
Appearing in "Vanishing Angels & Sudden Death"
- Alfred Pennyworth
- Commissioner Gordon
- Order of St. Dumas (First appearance)
- Carleton LeHah (First appearance)
- Francois (henchman)
- Heinrich (Order of St. Dumas)
- Mike (reporter)
- Patrick (henchman)
- Renard Lescault (terrorist)
- Sherri Port (reporter; dies)
- "The System" (First appearance)
- This issue is reprinted in the Batman: Sword of Azrael collected edition.
- In the first panel that introduces Jean-Paul Valley, he is wearing a T-shirt with The Beatles logo in the front.
- Azrael Recommended Reading
- Batman Recommended Reading
- Batman (Volume 1)
- Batman (Volume 2)
- Batman (Volume 3)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 1)
- Batman and Robin (Volume 2)
- Batman Confidential (Volume 1)
- Batman: Gotham Knights (Volume 1)
- Batman: Legends of the Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: Shadow of the Bat (Volume 1)
- Batman: Streets of Gotham (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 1)
- Batman Incorporated (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 1)
- Batman/Superman (Volume 2)
- Batman/Superman: World's Finest (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 1)
- Batman: The Dark Knight (Volume 2)
- The Brave and the Bold (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 1)
- Detective Comics (Volume 2)
- Superman/Batman (Volume 1)
- World's Finest (Volume 1)