NML Crossing

NML Crossing, Episode 036 – Azrael: Agent of the Bat #48 (1999)

NML Crossing, Episode Thirty-Six

Azrael: Agent of the Bat #48 (January, 1999)
“Scratching the Surface”
Writer – Denny O’Neil
Pencils – Roger Robinson
Inks – James Pascoe
Colors – Demetrius Bassoukos & Prismacolor
Letters – Ken Bruzenak
Edits – Berrios & Carlin
Cover Price: $2.25

More Azrael!  More Nick Scratch!  You’re Welcome… and I’m Sorry!

This time out, our man JPV has some answering to do for pulling a boner on his mission to protect the life of Gotham’s only friend, Senator Esty Halivan!  Not only that, he’s now on the hook for the murder!  What IS an Angel of Vengeance to do?  Listen in and find out!

Plus: A wonderful dive into the NMaiLbag!

NML Crossing on Youtube




2 thoughts on “NML Crossing, Episode 036 – Azrael: Agent of the Bat #48 (1999)

  • A few thoughts on the NMaiLbag:

    I’m right there with Chris Bailey on two things:

    1) the comics as addiction path. I, too, started only buying the things I was interested in before being sucked (suckered?) into buying crossovers, then settling into only buying things I’m interested in. Now, I largely only use digital subscriptions and buy trades, but I normally buy used trades since I don’t have much expendable income (paying almost a house down payement for art for my comics over the last 8 years and now trying to buy our first house doesn’t leave a lot of extra income).

    2) Slabs and variants as being something we’re not interested in and something that’s separate from the type of comic collecting we do. We buy to read comics, not have cool wall art and a future commodity!

    One thing I disagree with Chris on:

    1) I wouldn’t call the Krakoa X books unreadable. A mixed bag, for sure (continuity contradictions – but that’s not only an X book issue – and bloated, true) but I thought it was the most exciting X books and Marvel has been in awhile. It’s one of the few lines I read individual issues for consistently instead of waiting for the trade. There are a few other titles I do that for but not families of titles. There’s also a cool blog House to Astonish that does annoations for each book, and they do a good job evaluating both the good and the bad, avoiding the too-broad classification of the whole era as unreadable/unfun; they have a podcast too, but I haven’t listened to it.

    I really liked HoX/PoX, the first run of Marauders, SWORD, Sabretooth and the Exiles, Legion/Way of X, Hellions, X-Men: Red, Immortal X-men, and Wolverine. I generally liked X-Factor, X-Men, X-Force (although that title definitely stretched decompression and not resolving storylines too much), New Mutants (but I thought the end of Ayala’s run was very good), and Cable. I didn’t like the X-Corp (while the base idea could be interesting, it wasn’t executed well), Excalibur/Knights of X (which did get better at the end of its run, but Otherworld isn’t my favorite), the second Marauders, and Dark Web. And there were a few more minis that didn’t generate much emotional reaction from me either way. I think that’s a pretty good hit ratio for a line of books, especially such a big line of books. I think Fall of X is doing some similar stuff: strong promise but inconsistent execution.

    A followup to my GL/GA point from yesterday’s post/podcast:

    The first time I read it in high school I didn’t really like it, aside from the Neal Adams art. I had heard/read it talked up a bunch for its historical impact, but I hadn’t had much Silver Age/early Bronze Age experience and I went in to reading it with a mainly (at the time) modern-day perspective and some perhaps outsized expectations. I then read it about a couple years ago (15ish years after I read it the first time) with more of a historical perspective and with more historical comics experience and appreciation, and I quite enjoyed my second reading of it. I wouldn’t have said it was great, but I would’ve said it was better than an average superhero comic.

    I appreciate your explanation of why you decided not to bundle some issues or story arcs into one episode. I understand it, both for your personal motivation and for how it could lead to more discussion with your listeners (plus, it helps avoid the thorny issue of you deciding to do only one episode for a multiple issue story arc someone else loved). I think it’s more just the approach I would’ve used, but I only have appeared on podcasts instead of run my own, so my viewpoint is more how it would fit into my motivation and free time bandwidth.

  • Chris U

    So Batman was too busy to go to DC and protect Gotham’s only friend in Congress, but as soon as this Congressman gets killed Bruce can just drop everything and runs to DC to lambast Azrael for his failure. Seems like Batman shouldn’t have farmed out this important mission to someone else.
    I may have read this in the long ago but I don’t remember any of it. And I’m pretty sure that after the coverage of this storyline ends here in NML Crossing I’m going to push everything about it out of my mind again.

    I’m happy that you give yourself these projects. Honestly your projects have been my favorite parts of your blog / podcast. Action Comics Daily got me reading CIOIE every day and anxiously anticipating the next day’s post after finishing the current day’s post. X-Men Vignettes is something that I just went back and re-read at the end of 2023 because I was missing your content. So I am extatic to go on this journey of NML Crossing with you every monday thru friday. (Then on weekends I go back and read comments left on CIOIE.) I even undertook my own project of reading the old CIOIE blog posts in order from the beginning several years ago. Still haven’t finished yet. (Lost my place when my old tablet died.)


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