AZRAEL

Real Name: Unknown, if any

Identity/Class: Sentient magical waste/construct

Occupation: None, Would-be nihilist

Affiliations: It is the magical waste of an undisclosed race/group of sorcerers from prehistory; portion of self imbedded in the collarbone of Rena Butler

Enemies: Dr. Strange, Rena Butler

Known Relatives: Unknown, if applicable

Aliases: None

Base of Operations: Deep within Mount Fairchild, presumably a mountain located in the Nevada desert.

Appearances: Dr. Strange, Sorcerer Supreme#19 (July 1990)

Powers: Azrael has the telepathic ability to communicate with others. Using tendrils composed of the crystalline, mist-like, eldritch (magical) energy that constitutes its body, Azrael can probe the mind of others to gain the knowledge they store inside their brain. These tendrils could also be used to easily incinerate a regular human, killing them instantly. It planned to grow by having life on Earth sustain it, presumably this touch drained life force, explaining the skeletal husks left behind after contact with it. When a portion of Azrael was imbedded into the body of Rena Butler, she too could kill like this with her touch.. Using a magical aura, Dr. Strange could protect himself from this effect, enabling him to "touch" Rena. Using his magical bolts, Dr. Strange could destroy these tendrils, as well. The rest of its body was probably not proof to the strong magical abilities of the Doc, given he could destroy tendrils made of the same materials as its body. As a being of pure energy, Azrael never grows tired, at least as compared to regular humans. According to its own account, Azrael is extremely long lived, if not immortal, being around since before present life as we know it began to evolve on the Earth (although it is unknown how long it has been sentient). Also according to it, as long as a single shard of itself exists it will survive, making Azrael quite difficult to destroy. Azrael subtly influenced the behavior of Rena while she wore the crystal, making her more irritable; the shard probably influenced Rena to wear it, as well.

History: Let’s have Azrael telepathically tell the tale:

  • In the time before I was—sorcery was! Also living things that wielded that sorcery—eons
    before there were organisms quite like yourself in yonder world of light! But the sorcery,
    when used, left a magical residue behind it—wastage dangerous to those organisms—so
    they stored away that residue in the deepest, darkest places of the earth—and, though I sense
    the last of their kind has long since vanished from the world beyond—here, cradled in this
    rocky womb, I came slowly to sentient life, as ages simmered.
  • (DocS, SorSup, 19)While viewing the image of a skull in the Orb of Agamotto, Dr. Strange receives an anonymous telephone message from a phone booth in Las Vegas, warning that they may cause the death of the world. Before Dr. Strange can pick up the phone, the caller hangs up, but Dr. Strange uses his magic to trace the call. When Dr. Strange mystically arrives in Las Vegas, he protects a woman running from the police after a drunken gambler is burned to death after touching her hand by creating a mystic aura around her and an illusion of a monster in the eyes of the officers. Dr. Strange transports her to the roof to speak with the woman who introduces herself as Rena Butler. She continues by saying that she must be killed because what had happened to the gambler only began occurring after she started wearing a gem which had embedded itself into her collarbone. Dr. Strange asks her where she found the crystal, but, out of fear, Rena is not able to tell him. Holding her in a mystic aura to protect both of them, Dr. Strange flies with Rena in his arms. He uses the Eye of Agamotto to glean the following: (fb) Rena Butler is the chief engineer at a controversial nuclear depository site in the mountainous, desert regions of Nevada, AKA Project Azrael, keeping a hunk of crystal pulled from within the mountain she and other workers are excavating as a historical keepsake/sample for breaking through. After this, she wears the crystal around her neck, becoming inexplicably hostile and short-tempered toward the other workers. When Jim, one of her fellow workers and her lover, confronts Rena in her trailer she begs him to stay away. After he touches her, he is incinerated to death. In horror and anguish, she flees the work site in her jeep, ending up in Vegas. Dr. Strange senses she is hiding something else, but he cannot specify what it is.

    Once they arrive at the site, workers are still working on one side of the fence while protesters are protesting on the other side. The drill breaks through deeper, and a mist-like tendril slithers out of the hole, killing the closest worker in the same manner that Rena has slain her victims. Dr. Strange casts a sleeping spell over all the people present and drives the tendril back into the mountain. He then enters the mountain to confront what lies within which can only be described as, per the narrator, Azrael! Dr. Strange defends himself with a magical bolt, stopping the creature from an attack, and raises a shield in front of him for further protection. The creature tells Strange about its origin and sneaks a tendril around the shield to probe his mind, learning about the evolution of life from the original single-celled organisms to the complex and diverse present-day animals. Learning this, the creature plans to use life on Earth as a means to grow in size, caring nothing for it other than as fodder. From this, Dr. Strange realizes that Azrael must be stopped but remembers the piece on Rena’s body. Azrael informs Strange that fighting it is futile, for if even a part of it exists, it will live. Rena hears this, enters the cave, and sacrifices herself for Humanity’s sake. Dr, Starnge exits the mountain, blasts Azrael back inside, and closes the mystical entrance with a seal of permanence, noting once he is done that whoever has the drill concession on the property now is going to be very, very rich. After this, Strange lifts the sleep-spell, and one of the workers asks what happened to Rena and Jim. Posing as a company doctor, Strange informs the workers that they are dead. The worker leads Strange into Rena’s trailer, her baby inside, what she was hiding from Dr. Strange—Rena gave her life so that her baby and future generations of babies may live.

    Comments: Created by Roy & Dann Thomas and Gene Colan

    According to Doc Strange, Azrael has been permanently disposed. But if Azrael truly is magical waste from a forgotten time, shouldn’t there be more waste elsewhere just like it? Who created this magical waste? Elder Gods perhaps? Which ones? The demons? The "good" gods? Both?

    Magical waste seems like a cool concept that can be built upon.

    Furthermore, Azrael also reminds me of the alien creature known as Slyvia. Could there be any possible connection here?

    As far as I know, there is no Mount Fairchild in Nevada, but there is one located in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado. This story is actually based on the debate surrounding the Yucca Mountain Project in Nevada, and it may also serve as an allegory warning Humanity that the actions we take in the present, especially for economic gain, may have major negative ramifications for people in the future. To learn more about the Yucca Mountain Project, go to the official homepage at http://www.ymp.gov/.

    The word "Azrael" is never used by any of the characters to specifically name the creature, so it still remains unnamed. Also, Azrael doesn’t seem to fit the description of the character too well. Plus, every time I think of the word I’m reminded of Chris Kattan playing a whiny, soft-sounding, pubescent goth kid with a crappy, but amusing, cable access program.

    Azrael, in Hebrew and Islamic lore, is the Angel of Death. It is stationed in the "third heaven", with 70000 feet, 4000 wings, and as many eyes and tongues as there are men in the world.

    Clarifications: Azrael, the magical waste creature, has no known connection to:
    Azrael, the being into which Lord Phyffe was transformed by Baron Mordo, @ Dr. Strange II#40
    Azrael, angel/demon of Islamic and Jewish faiths and literature, as well.
    Azrael Abyss as played by Chris Kattan during the "Goth Talk" skits on SNL.
    Azrael, the short-lived usurper of the Batman mantle in D.C. comics.

    Last updated: 10/31/01

    Profile by Kyle Smith

    All characters mentioned or pictured are ™ and 2001 Marvel Characters, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Please visit The Marvel Official Site at: http://www.marvel.com

    Back to Characters