The Crusader

    Character » The Crusader appears in 12 issues.

    The Crusader kills members of religious cults in reenactments of the martyrdoms of Christian saints. He claims to have been given power by the Christian god.

    Short summary describing this character.

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    The Crusader is first seen, wearing a suit similar to Azrael’s, holding a priest named Father Day to a gate, demanding to know the name of a keeper of holy secrets and reliquaries . Father Day refuses to divulge the name and the Crusader tosses the priest into the sewers. The Crusader then informs the drowning priest that he is a man that does follow any code of moral conduct. Suddenly, a swarm of bees comes out of Crusader’s suit and the swarm attacks the priest.

    This event was actually a premonition to Azrael who considered it a bad dream. After he awoke, Azrael walked through the corridors of the Order’s church only to find priests murdered or drowned. Azrael falls to his knees and begins to question why this is all happening. Shocked by all the death around him, Azrael blesses himself with holy water but the sanctified water begins to burn straight through his mask.

    With this unsettling development, Azrael begins to consider that the Suit of Sorrows is God’s curse and everything he fought for or believed in is a lie. Crusader then appears standing over Azrael with a sword at Lane's neck. Crusader then slices at Azrael's neck but luckily it wasn’t fatal. Crusader and Azrael begin crossing swords. Azrael's anger allows him to break Crusader’s sword with the Sword of Sin. However, the Crusader begins to fly and shoot fire at Azrael in order to escape.

    Azrael searches for Father Day who by God’s good grace, survived the bee stings due the filthy sewage water. Azrael asks Father Day what relic does the Crusader want. Father Day explains that Crusader is after the cloth that Christ was wrapped in after his crucifixion because it holds the evidence that Christ didn't die on the cross. Azrael decides to head to Somalia with Father Day in order to get the cloth before Crusader does.

    Unfortunately, Crusader is already in Somalia, threatening a man to give up the location of the keeper or he will kill his wife. Father Day leads Azrael to Father Grieve who is one of last keepers since the inner circle was being eliminated by the Crusader which would explain some of the dead priests that Azrael witnessed. Azrael enters Grieve’s sanctum and asks him how much does the crusader know about the cloth.

    The first thing Father Grieve notices is the burns on Azrael’s armor. Azrael explains his assumption that God has forsaken but Grieve enlightens Azrael that it is Crusader’s method to bring about doubt in God’s servants. Grieve can also see that Azrael is conflicted by the cloth’s significance because it could overturn holy writ which states Jesus died on the cross. Grieve then asks for Azrael's swords and explains the significance of the two.

    Grieve states that one cannot believe in God and overcome Lucifer’s deceit without acknowledging both. Azrael understands because priests narrow mindedly deify God and write off the Devil as unforgivable. However, Lucifer was the first angel of creation and he may be forgiven for his crimes should he choose to repent. The Suit of Sorrow was forged to bring about repentance in the user and to stop persecution of others.

    Grieve then explains that The Crusader is a telekinetic that was groomed by the Order of St. Dumas to become their new Azrael since Jean-Paul Valley was a failure. As for Azrael, he was raised by the Order of Purity, a sect that separated itself from the self-righteous Order of St. Dumas. The Order of St. Dumas burned a cross in the middle of Crusader’s face to remind him whom he serves.

    After these unbelievable revelations, Crusader breaks in and Azrael confronts him by asking if Crusader truly wishes to destroy the shroud. The Crusader says the cloth is blasphemous and it must be destroyed before anyone sees it which will destabilize holy written doctrine. Azrael agrees but he will not allow the Crusader to destroy a sanctified relic. Father Day and Father Grieve escape to find an original copy of Revelations. Father Grieve fears that everything in original copy is coming to pass. Crusader defeats Azrael and takes Father Grieve hostage while Father Day nurses Azrael’s wounds.

    The Crusader begins to interrogate Father Grieve by stripping him of his clothes, tying him to a table and preparing to skin him alive if he doesn’t give the location of the cloth. Azrael tells Father Day that they have to stop the Crusader from killing Grieve. The Crusader picks up a knife from an array of knifes that he is levitating, and tells Grieve that the pain he will inflict will bring Grieve to the divine exaltation of God. Crusader then slits Grieve's face in two. As Azrael makes his way to Grieve, he can hear the priest screaming, and suddenly Azrael looses hope because if an individual like the Crusader can kill anyone he wants, why prevent death at all.

    Day tells Azrael that it is true that we are all bound for God but God gave each person a purpose on this world and the purpose of Azrael is to save the innocent from any unnatural death. Azrael is convinced and follows Day to the hidden Chapel of Mary Magdalene where the shroud has been placed. The church is housed below an institution for young women who were impregnated outside of marriage and are forced to work. Day then continues by saying that Mary Magdalene was the "lover" of Christ. Azrael couldn’t believe what Day was saying until he saw Day pull out the shroud which shows Christ's face imprinted in the cloth.

    Azrael pleads with Day to destroy the cloth but Day ignores him and tells Azrael that they must escape. Meanwhile, Crusader tells Grieve that he is vain and that vanity must be stripped away. Grieve’s entire epidermis is gone with only his bloody muscle form exposed. Before Grieve seemingly dies, he tells Crusader that the cloth is meant for the descendant of Christ since the priest of darkness has submitted to the warrior of light.

    As Azrael and Day escape, Crusader breaks in and demands that Day give him the shroud. Azrael questions Crusader that if he has faith anything, Crusader answers by drawing his sword. Azrael replies by stabbing the Crusader. With his last breath, Crusader asks Azrael to show him the shroud. Azrael agrees and after seeing the shroud, Crusader falls out a window and seemingly died, however he later shows up in Gotham.

    The Crusader survived his fall and starts wreaking destruction in Gotham by shooting arrows of fire that causes explosions. Batman (Dick Grayson) is joined by Tim Drake and Catwoman to confront Azrael's nemesis. Crusader had kidnapped a baby but Catwoman's stealth skills enabled her to steal back the baby. Azrael jumps into stop Crusader's destruction but he doesn't capture Crusader. Batman along with his allies are now in the middle of a standoff between Azrael, Crusader and Fireball. The Bat family gets away and realize that Azrael has become a new threat.

    Tim Drake is given the mission to save the mayor because he is being held captive at his home by the Crusader and Azrael. Tim makes his way to the mayor's house but first he must survive a series of challenges that the Crusader left for Tim. These challenges will test and question Tim's faith. Fortunately, Tim makes it past Crusader's challenges but he ends up stabbed by Azrael's Sword of Sins. Tim survives piercing of the fiery blade which deems him worthy in Azrael's eyes but the Crusader attempts to convince Azrael that the sword's judgment means nothing and Tim Drake is unworthy to live.

    Azrael didn't want to believe Crusader because the sword has never been wrong in its judgments. Just then Jenny Lane and her children arrive at the mayor's home to stop Azrael's crusade. Jenny Lane, is the widow of Azrael's brother. Azrael is shocked that Jenny didn't listen to his warning to leave the city but it was Dick Grayson and Catwoman who brought Jenny. 

    Jenny's arrival causes Azrael to question his reasons for destroying Gotham. Azrael tells Dick to stab him with the Sword of Sin and when this happened, the sword mentally reveals that  the destruction of Gotham is not God’s will but Ra’s al Ghul's. Azrael refuses to be used anymore so he orders the Crusader to create a telekinetic field around Fireball since he has lost control of his powers. Crusader's field contains Fireball's spontaneous explosion which kills Fireball and scorches everything within the field..



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