Story: Brandon Easton
Art: Karl Mostert
Colors: David Baron
Letterer: Becca Carey
What They Say:
CATCHEISM BEGINS! Batman heads to Rome to stop Ra’s Al Ghul and the Leage of Assassins from getting their hands on an ancient artifact that they want to use to exacerbate the power of the Lazarus Pits. What Batman doesn’t know is that the artifcat is already under the protection of the Order of St. Dumas, specifically, AZRAEL! From the creative team of Critically Acclaimed Writer Brandon Easton and rising star artist Karl Mostert!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
Starting a new two-part storyline here, this one brings back Brandon Easton on the writing duties. With him tackling a few stories in these digital-first books lately, he’s had a solid handle on the characters that he’s worked with and some decent story that fit within the confines of what these books are trying to accomplish. Here, he’s joined by Karl Mostert, an artist I’ve seen regularly over the years that turns in solid work all the time. Here, there’s a lot of good pages and some really great ones, especially such as the one breaking through the glass and other action-oriented pieces around that point. With a solid handle on the characters as well, it’s a strong-looking book.
What we get here is that Batman has found himself in Venice, Italy where he’s been chasing across a continent or two Ra’s al Ghul. Ra’s has been seeking the Januarius, a Christian relic of old that supposedly has the blood of Christ in it that becomes liquid once every hundred years. It’s easy to see how Ra’s would be interested in this to accentuate his Lazarus Pits and give more meaning and potentially time to those that revived within them. It’s right up his alley to do something like this and we’ve seen how Batman, as a master detective, has worked to unearth the path that Ra’s is taking in order to do this with a lot of old works. Amusingly, as we find out at the end, it was Batman doing the work and Ra’s just following him along more than anything else to collect the relic.
What makes this storyline particularly fun for me is that as Batman gets his hands on the relic, it’s Azrael that appears from underneath a pile of skulls. I haven’t really read about the character since his first appearance in the 90s but I enjoyed it then and his short-lived series that followed. I have no idea who he is in present continuity but here he does his best to stop Batman from taking the relic as the church has been watching Batman since he first stepped into Europe. The two have a good fight where there’s plenty of energy and impact between the two as neither holds back, though Batman is fighting to escape with the relic while Azrael is trying to take him down completely so he can retrieve it. Suffice to say, it’s a strong sequence, especially with Mostert’s artwork.
There’s a lot to like with this issue and what it brings to the table. Easton has a solid script that keeps things moving and lets Batman showcase his detective side in a fun way. We get some Alfred in his ear to provide some light humor as well. The journey plays out well and we get a nice if expected twist at the end as to who is manipulating who here. For me, it’s just fun to get Azrael in the book as I’ve long liked the character from my earlier experiences decades ago but never really kept track of after that. Here, it’s pretty simple and straightforward but Mostert’s able to lay out some great action scenes with the two characters.
Age Rating: 12+
Released By: DC Comics via ComiXology
Release Date: June 25th, 2021