Batman: The Sword of Azrael depicts the origin of Jean Paul Valley, the man who one day replaces Bruce Wayne as Batman. The descendant of holy warriors, Jean Paul is forced into using his ancestral superpowers and abilities to become Azrael, the avenging angel of an ancient cult. But when the Order of St. Dumas targets Batman, Azrael begins to question his life and duty. After working alongside the Dark Knight to defeat the deadly demon that threatens the ancient cult, Azrael turns his back on the Order and leaves to train under the tutelage of Batman. However, after losing the mantle of the Bat, will Jean Paul turn back to his life of brutality?
Dennis O'Neil began his career as a comic-book writer in 1965 at Charlton, where then-editor Dick Giordano assigned him to several features. When Giordano moved to DC, O'Neil soon followed. At DC, O'Neil scripted several series for Giordano and Julius Schwartz, quickly becoming one of the most respected writers in comics. O'Neil earned a reputation for being able to revamp such characters as Superman, Green Lantern, Captain Marvel -- and Batman, whom O'Neil (with the help of Neal Adams and Giordano) brought back to his roots as a dark, mysterious, gothic avenger. Besides being the most important Batman writer of the 1970s, O'Neil served as an editor at both Marvel and DC. After a long tenure as Group Editor of the Batman line of titles, he retired to write full-time.