The hero is an archetype. Part of the reason why I’m doing this little project is because I look to these heroic archetypes to fashion myself after. For me the hero brings hope, offers protection and care and is willing to help. There are so many other ideas that can describe the archetype. I try take the best ideals from these archetypes and create the pattern of my life. Of course I’m only human and I do fail often but I get up and try again.
“Superheroes are those archetypes that live within us…” - Dennis O’Neil*
The Sacred Order of Saint Dumas is an ancient order of the Knights Templar created during the Crusades. These strong and vicious knights protected the pilgrims for centuries. However, as centuries past these knights became religious fanatic assassins. Each generation saw a new leader, and would acquire the name Azrael. Jean Paul Valley, a graduate student at Gotham University is next in line. From a child he was brainwashed to not remember his training or the order. When the predecessor is killed Jean Paul is moved up in the ranks to become Azrael. He is ordered to assassinate a weapons dealer. Of course Batman becomes involved but it is Alfred Pennyworth (Batman’s trusted ally) that sees the true heroic nature of Jean Paul Valley, Azrael. Batman and Alfred helps Azrael break his assassin conditioning and brainwashing. After Bain defeats Batman with a backbreaking blow Azrael takes up the mantle of Batman for a brief time. As Azrael, Jean Paul Valley becomes part of the iconic Batman Family learning how to seek within that true heroic nature.
“Superheroes are those archetypes that live within us.” What is an archetype? An archetype is the mold, the icon that we pattern ourselves after. When we seek to be better we normally have an archetype in mind. To the ancient Greeks it was their gods. For Christians it is Jesus. For the many opera students their archetype may be Maria Callas or Placido Domingo. To some of us Captain America, Batman, Ms. Marvel or Wonder Woman can be an archetype. Take a moment and think what kind of person to become…then think of a person to associate with this idea. Let that person be a spiritual being or a pop icon or even a character from a book. Let this idea transform into the mold, the pattern to become.
Azrael (Jean Paul Valley)
First Appearance: Batman: Sword of Azrael, #1 (October 1992), DC Comics
First Appearance: (as Batman) Batman, #498 (August 1993), DC Comics
Creators: Dennis O'Neil (writer) Joe Quesada (art)
* “Secret Origin: the Story of DC Comics, Warner Bros, release date November 09, 2010