WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Justice League: Odyssey #20, by Dan Abnett, Cliff Richards, Rain Beredo and Andworld Design, on sale now.
Darkseid’s plans in Justice League: Odyssey have unfolded to near perfection. He’s created his own pocket of reality thanks to the war-realm known as Sepulkore, away from the collapsed Source Wall and Perpetua’s rewriting of reality. He’s safe and sound, molding a new universe to rule over with a new legion of New Gods.
It’s basically Apokolips kicked up 10 notches, with his main generals Cyborg and Azrael helping him attack the Reef where Jessica Cruz’s alliance with Orion, Blackfire, Dex-Starr, Gamma Knife and the scientist, Arla Hax, hope to rethread existence with Epoch’s Revision Mechanism. However, the overlord does suffer one more blow as Azrael falls in battle when Blackfire catches him off-guard in Justice League: Odyssey #20.
Blackfire wants to protect Epoch at all costs as she thinks his rewriting history will give her the Tamaran she’s always wanted. It’s why she used her powers to incinerate Starfire in the last issue, deeming her sister’s death as essential to the cause. As a result, Jessica is now keeping Blackfire on a short leash, but it all comes undone when Azrael infiltrates the temporal lab Epoch’s in.
As everyone fights off Darkseid’s forces on the outside, Azrael prepares to slay the time engineer — that is, until the Green Lantern intervenes. Seeing as she was resurrected and now has the power of Omega energy in her, Jess isn’t a pushover against Azrael’s newfound powers. Azrael does get a slight upper hand, though, and when he attempts to kill her with his flaming sword, once more Blackfire steps in and burns him to ash.
Jess is angry, as she wants to break her friends out of Darkseid’s control, not kill them. Blackfire indicates they were far gone and too corrupted to save. What makes these kills easier for Blackfire is if they focus on the time project, Epoch can bring all the fallen back. Jessica isn’t confident, however, and doesn’t trust Epoch’s schemes. She doesn’t want to keep murdering her allies, especially as Cyborg could be next.
It’s a brutal end to DC’s deadliest Batman, who took over in the ’90s when Bane broke the Bat in Knightfall. Azrael was a much more lethal version of the Dark Knight and Bruce Wayne had to return as the Caped Crusader to stop him. He’s considered even more unhinged than Jason Todd and over the years, while Jean Paul Valley has seen the Azrael symbol used by other people, he’s still considered the definitive Angel of Death.
In Justice League: Odyssey, he represented Darkseid’s religious zealot and was the voice the likes of Rapture and his galactic police idolized. Azrael was the ultimate god to them and as Darkseid’s dog of war, upon conversion he had purpose like never before. Unfortunately for him, Blackfire gets the last laugh, which admittedly may be in the galaxy’s best interest.
Jess does send a message back in time for Cyborg, Starfire and Azrael to not investigate Tamaran and the Ghost Sector, so maybe their actions could alter time if they listen. They might even reappear in the current timeline, but all this time-jumping and temporal shifting may be wishful thinking — just like Starfire, Azrael are very much done and dusted in the DCU.
Justice League Odyssey #20 just brutally murdered DC's deadliest Batman when Darkseid's forces come to raid Epoch's time lair for a new weapon.