9 Cool Batman: Knightquest Moments Everyone Forgets About

What happened when a man with a broken moral compass took on the mantle of the Bat!

Jean-Paul Valley Azrael Batman
DC Comics

When most people think of the Knightfall saga, it's in terms of the bookends of this run.

First, the Knightfall story itself; Bane's destruction of Bruce Wayne and Batman's resurrection in the guise of the assassin-turned-vigilante Azrael, aka Jean-Paul Valley. The other bookend is the Knightend arc which features Wayne's eventual return to reclaim the mantle of the Bat from his psychopathic understudy.

Often forgotten, however, is the long period where "Az-Bats" - as fans came to affectionately know him as - was the star of the various monthly Batman books.

While Bruce Wayne searched the world for the McGuffin that would enable him to walk again, Valley had his own adventures. None of the stories are Eisner Award winners by any stretch of the imagination, but many of them were interesting, fun and gave us a look at a Batman not tempered by Bruce Wayne's moral compass.

9. A Very Different Batman

Jean-Paul Valley Azrael Batman
DC Comics

For the first 54 years of his crime-fighting career, the man beneath Batman's cape and cowl was millionaire playboy Bruce Wayne. Then in 1993, the impossible happened, and a criminal called Bane broke Wayne's back, forcing Bruce to entrust Gotham City and the legacy of Batman to another.

Instead of picking the obvious choice and going with the former Robin, Dick Grayson, he would pass the mantle onto the reformed religious zealot and assassin known as Azrael.

DC Comics introduced a very different Batman to the readers and citizens of Gotham City. Instead of Wayne's sleek athletic build, keen intellect and incorruptible sense of justice, there was an armoured nightmare more in line with the '90s comics zeitgeist; one not forged by a desire to save the innocent, but one who had achieved human perfection through psychological manipulation - a warrior built and programmed rather than shaped from pain and sacrifice.

And that was ultimately what Jean-Paul Valley was. Not a hero pursuing justice, but a vicious avenger punishing the guilty through fire and steel.

Contributor