azrael: jean paul valley

DETECTIVE COMICS #965

Written by JAMES TYNION IV Art by EDDY BARROWS Cover by EDDY BARROWS Variant cover by RAFAEL ALBUQUERQUE

“A Lonely Place Of Living” part one! It’s the story you’ve demanded: Where in the world (or otherwise) is Tim Drake? Red Robin faces a crossroads…escape the most devious prison ever devised, or find himself abandoned beyond time and space for all eternity! Not much of a choice, right? But when he finds out just who is locked in there with him, Tim’s world will change in ways he never imagined! This is one of the biggest stories of the REBIRTH era, setting the stage for an explosive DETECTIVE COMICS epic!

On sale SEPTEMBER 27 • 32 pg, FC, $2.99 US • RATED T

Why Stephanie Brown is Cassandra Cain’s Most Important Relationship

Tynion has said he doesn’t want to give a label to Cass’s disability, which makes sense. I just wanted to give my nonprofessional opinion on what I see in her.

We know for a fact that Cass as some form of Dyslexia, but I think it’s also pretty obvious that she has some serious PTSD as well. I think it’s also likely that she has high-functioning autism as well. All of this essentially adds up to someone who is frequently under severe stress, has high empathy, and is rather obsessive, but has severe difficulty communicating any of those things to other people, which only adds to her stress and anxiety. 

I feel like Steph was super important to Cass because she was able to communicate with and understand her much better than most people. Even with other people who she loves and cares about, such as Bruce, Barbara, Tim, Brenda, etc., there’s a huge communication deficit, and both parties tend to be very frustrated by it. Only with Steph (and Jean Paul and Kon, occasionally) does Cassandra actually feel comfortable and safe really communicating. 

And this is why I don’t agree with people who object to the fact that Cassandra’s characterization does change post-War Games. Because of course it does. She’s lost the one person who she could really communicate with. She loves and admires Tim, but he doesn’t really understand how she thinks. Brenda is super caring and helpful for her, but she doesn’t provide Cassandra with the kind of interaction that she really needs to feel safe. She’s always tense and closed off, even during their most friendly interactions. So Cassandra being more short-tempered, less friendly, and overall more hostile makes perfect sense. It’s a combination of grief and the loss of the person who really helped her relax and feel safe and understood. It doesn’t help that her stress about her relationship with Barbara kind of exploded on both ends, leading to their falling out. 

Further Fight Analysis: Jean Paul Valley vs Cassandra Cain

In my time gaging the fighting skills of the human heroes of the DC universe there have been three fights I haven’t been able to pick a clear winner for and this is one of them. For those who know my Batfam combat level I ranked the rankable (To be honest ranking Bruce’s fighting level is freaking impossible to gage, it’s like trying to figure out Prometheus’s fighting level) and I put Jean Paul on tier 2 and Cass at tier 1. To be honest it was damn hard to try and decide if Jean should have been on tier 2, unlike Jason who I know could get his ass handed to him by Cass in less then five minutes, I wasn’t too sure how a fight between these two would play out. It’s not because I’m a Jean Paul fanboy that hypes him up to a ridiculous degree, it’s just that Jean Paul with his Azraelness makes him well…one of the best god damn human combatants in the DCU. In the end I know Cassandra would win, but the fight would be ridiculous.

First let’s talk about the combatants Jean Paul Valley was created to be the perfect assassin for St. Dumas and they were pretty damn close. Jean Paul when he dons the Azrael costume activates a different personality, the Azrael personality. Azrael creates a mindset where Jean Paul feels no fear, loses a sense of pain, loses most restraint, and practically grows stronger. Jean Paul as Azrael surpasses Batman as a direct combatant in many ways, in fact the only way Batman was able to defeat Jean in the end of Knightfall was well tricking him to get out of his armor thus losing the mind set and leaving him mentally broken. Along with the Azrael mindset and the programming to be the perfect killer Jean Paul was also merged with animal genes which game him advance reflects among other unspecified traits. Jean Paul Valley as Azrael was able to survive Venom withdraw and exhaustion and starvation for a week and still defeat Bane afterwards. He equipped with a special armor that durable as hell and can take explosions with little damage along gauntlets with flaming blades and a flaming sword. Jean Paul is practically the greatest tank in Batfamily history.

Then there was Cassandra Cain who was raised to be the perfect assassin (and partner in crime). Huh a come trend between the best two fighters in the Batfamily. Cassandra Cain is an extremely skilled fighter trained in multiple of different fighting styles and was tested against some of the most skilled assassins in the DCU and passed all of their test. She has a great tolerance of pain, amazing reflexes, and better movement skills than Dick Grayson. She is a direct combatant that has taken on fighters like Lady Shiva and won. Her greatest skill is the ability to read body language perfectly. So perfectly it’s to the point where she can accurately predict their movements. She is highly dexterous and damn near impossible to hit. She’s fast, graceful, and efficient. She has the skills to take on large groups of fighters not matter the skill level and come on top. She been able to take on superpowered individuals all by herself and usually come out on top. She is Batfamily’s sweeper for those who know the term.  

The problem with them fighting is the fact they are both direct combatants. The solution to defeating two are as simple as remove Jean Paul’s mask or restrict Cassandra’s movements, but these two wouldn’t think of that. Great fighters they may be, but not great tacticians. Comparing gear, skills, and physical limits it would be a damn close fight. If Cassandra doesn’t go all out in the beginning and let’s the fight drag Jean Paul would win. Though if Cassandra is able to power through the beginning she would win without a single doubt in my mind. Jean Paul is a tank he can survive a whole fucking lot, the writer’s that wrote his death weren’t even sure if the magical plot bullets they made would be able to kill him, it was debated if he was alive or not until the reboot. Though Cassandra is a sweeper, she does high amounts of damage, her ability to predict movement gives her an edge, and she does have much better movement skills then Jean Paul and that what gives her the win. You see Jean Paul is a tank and like many tanks he’s not good at acrobatics. Between the two’s advance reflects it’s going to be the faster one that’ll win the fight and that is Cassandra. If Cassandra keeps the pace and goes stronger in the beginning and takes advantage of her movement skills which she would she’ll win. Though like I said that’s the only real edge in my mind in this fight between skilled combatants.  

crim-bat  asked:

Azrael (Jean Paul Valley)

  • First impression: I think the first time I came across Jean Paul was in the gross, old tpb I had of Robin: Contagion storyline and I recall thinking “wow this guy’s a complete asshole” because he was definitely written that way for most of the trade. But y’know. Most of that was Dixon writing him and I have never been of the impression that Dixon cared for him very much considering his backstory served as a critique of organized religion and especially cultish fantacism that led to the Crusades
  • Impression now: He’s honestly such a tortured soul but has a sweetheart at his center. …. lbh the reason I like him is because he was the fist character in the original continuity to befriend Cass Cain lol
  • Favorite moment: When he and Cass celebrated Christmas together and he played a song for her to dance to. I love it so much
  • Idea for a story: eh
  • Unpopular opinion: I think his relationship with Leslie is only handled well by Denny O’Neil
  • Favorite relationship: Preboot Cassandra Cain, and Rebirth Luke Fox
  • Favorite headcanon: eh

My review of the new TEC issue:

Pros:

  • Cass Dancing
  • Azrael and Luke have a great dynamic
  • Ominous atmosphere 
  • A lot of Cass’s internal monologue was great
  • Art is awesome as always
  • Hints at bond between Kate and Cass (LONG time coming)
  • Shiva’s back, baby! I’m scared but happy. 

Cons:

  • Once more, we’re threatened with the possibility of Harper hijacking Cass’s story
  • Cass focusing more on ballet than finding her best friend (WHO IS STEPH, NOT HARPER)
  • No Az/Cass interactions, despite them being the two focus characters

Overall, great issue, but the flaws are very frustrating.