Zauriel

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Zauriel
Zauriel.JPG
Publication information
Publisher DC Comics
First appearance JLA # 6 (June 1997)
Created by Grant Morrison
Mark Millar
Howard Porter
John Dell
In-story information
Alter ego Zauriel
Team affiliations Justice League
Shadowpact
Abilities

Flight (via wings),
Superhuman strength, speed, stamina and agility, and durability,
Immortality,
Highly trained in the use of his flaming sword,
Immense knowledge of magic and religion,
Natural Healing Factor,
"Angelic Overmind",
"Sonic flash",
"Red Sea trick"
Can be sent back to Earth from Heaven after death
Abilities via Flaming sword

  • Access to other realms and planes of existence (such as from Earth to Heaven) by piercing dimensional boundaries with sufficient power
  • Projection of heavenly fire
  • Can slice through virtually any substance and material, cutting through "all bonds"

Zauriel is a fictional character in the DC Universe. Originally a guardian angel who served Heaven for millions of years, he willingly falls to Earth and becomes a superhero, joining the Justice League. He first appeared in JLA #6. In his first appearance, he saved Aquaman's life (over time forming a close friendship with him), and helped the Justice League thwart and dispel the forces of the renegade angel Asmodel.

Grant Morrison created Zauriel during his tenure as writer of JLA but was forbidden from using his originally intended name of Hawkman.[1] At the time, Hawkman had been declared off-limits by DC editorial due to the character's convoluted continuity (complicated by retcons from the Hawkworld limited series), which DC tried to negate during Zero Hour.[citation needed] As such, Morrison does allude to the Hawkman-connection by having Aquaman mistake Zauriel as "Katar" when the two characters first meet in the middle of a frantic battle.[2]

Fictional character biography[edit]

Zauriel was an angel of the Eagle Host of angels, one of the four hosts of Heaven (Eagle, Human, Bull and Lion). Since the dawn of creation, Zauriel served The Presence (God) as a guardian angel, protecting the souls of countless women, including Cleopatra, Mona Lisa, and Joan of Arc. Finally (a few years ago, according to current continuity), he fell in love with his then-current assignment, a woman with a boyfriend from San Francisco. At about the same time, Zauriel accidentally learned of the secret plans of Asmodel (King-Angel of the Bull Host, and one of the generals of Heaven's armies) and a legion of Bull angels attempting to succeed where Lucifer failed by overthrowing The Presence.

In an attempt to kill two birds with one stone (finally being with his true love and escaping Asmodel's wrath), Zauriel pleaded his case before the four King-Angels (one of which was Asmodel), expressing his desire to abandon his position in Heaven as a guardian angel and seek his love on Earth. The King-Angels rejected his notion and sent him spiralling toward earth in a blaze that captured the attention of Martian Manhunter of the Justice League - in essence giving Zauriel mortality.

Upon reaching Earth, Zauriel immediately found that a group of Bull angels followed him down, adopting temporary mortal flesh granted by Asmodel himself, in an attempt to hunt him down and kill him before he could inform Heaven of their plot. Zauriel met with the JLA, who treated the angelic invasion as they would any other invasion, and together they fought back. Zauriel saved Aquaman's life at this point by vaporizing a bull angel with his Sonic Flash.[2]

Asmodel appeared on the scene. He brought backup, a massive angelic chariot that slowly crushed San Francisco as it descended. Wonder Woman helped Zauriel slow the ship. Aquaman told The Flash (Wally West) how Zauriel defeated the bull angel earlier, and together with the help of Green Lantern (Kyle Rayner), they discerned the angels' weaknesses and managed to defeat them.

The JLA was impressed, and Zauriel is later invited to join the JLA during their first major recruitment drive as the team's magical expert.[3]

In the limited series JLA: Paradise Lost, Zauriel's story continued. He tracked down his former charge, introduced himself and professed his love for her. However, before she could truly respond, Zauriel was attacked by Etrigan and learned that Asmodel had returned, seeking revenge for his defeat.

Sentenced to Hell for his transgression, Asmodel met up with the demon-king Neron and joined forces with him, doubling the size of Asmodel's army by adding Neron's demons to his original army of angels. Zauriel tracked down the angel Michael- who, after failing to reach the very love he'd abandoned heaven for before her death, had been bitterly wandering the Earth- to seek his aid. Asmodel adopted the form of a child and mounted an attack on the JLA Watchtower, resulting in the actual death of the Martian Manhunter, who then aided Zauriel in Heaven itself.

From there, Asmodel and Neron led their forces to Heaven and actually beat back the armies of Paradise. Slaughtering his way towards the throne-room of The Presence Himself, Asmodel found only an abandoned room instead, empty except for Zauriel himself. Confused, Asmodel demanded to know where The Presence was, and was informed by Zauriel that The Presence is, in fact, everywhere and in everything. Finally realizing that there was no true way he could ever succeed where Lucifer failed, Asmodel turned to Neron for help, but the demon abandoned the former King-Angel. Sentenced to Hell yet again, Asmodel became Neron's prisoner. The Martian Manhunter returned to Earth when the Flash revived him.

After the object of Zauriel's affection decided to stick with her boyfriend, Heaven assigned Zauriel as their ambassador to Earth to be a beacon of hope and reassurance. He was granted a suit of Heavenly armor and a new headquarters, the Aerie, a structure floating over Los Angeles (again, see Weapons and Offensive Capabilities). Accepting the JLA's offer for membership, Zauriel joined them on various missions.

Asmodel did not stay beaten for long, and soon bonded himself to the host-less Spectre in the Day of Judgement crossover using the ashes of an angelic feather, aided by Neron. Gaining sudden, immeasurable power, Asmodel froze Hell and returned to Earth, leading to immense destruction. Zauriel confronted and attempted to battle Asmodel directly, but Asmodel effortlessly overpowered him by turning his very wings into stone. The heroes of Earth united, the bulk of which went to fight Spectre directly, while a smaller detachment, led by Zauriel, left for Purgatory to find a soul eligible to replace Asmodel's inside the Spectre. They found Hal Jordan.

Returning to Earth with Jordan's soul in tow, the group met up with the others and Jordan entered the Spectre, leading to an internal conflict that ultimately forced Asmodel out, establishing Jordan as the Spectre.

Zauriel also confronted a version of the Spectre in JLA #31, stopping him from delivering the death blow to Triumph, a former superhero turned villain. Spectre told Zauriel that his insubordination would not go well for him in the Courts Of Light.

Zauriel's career with the JLA continued until the galactic threat known as Mageddon arrived, whose hate-mongering effect motivated Lex Luthor to join up with Prometheus, Queen Bee and General Wade Eiling, aka The General. With the Earth facing immediate destruction, both from itself and Mageddon, Luthor planted bombs on the Watchtower. As the JLA evacuated, Zauriel deliberately stayed behind and removed his helmet just before the bombs detonated. He was caught in the explosion and died.[4]

Arriving in Heaven, Zauriel discovered that Paradise had abandoned all hope for Earth's survival and were already designing a replacement world. Zauriel begged Heaven for aid, but was turned down. They did, however, grant him the option to return to Earth himself and stand by the mortals he loves so much. Zauriel accepted, and asked the others to listen to the Presence in their hearts. He was about to leave when countless hosts of angels volunteered to accompany him back to Earth and aid in the struggle against Mageddon. Leading his army of angels, Zauriel returned and prevented the nations of the world from blowing each other to oblivion, while the JLA stopped Mageddon itself.

With the Mageddon situation resolved, a number of Leaguers parted ways with the JLA, Zauriel included. He later appeared for a memorial, commemorating the end of the modern JLA. He is still considered a member of the League however to be called upon when needed.

Zauriel appears in other titles, generally functioning as a spiritual counselor or guide to other heroes. In the pages of JSA, he gives advice to Hawkgirl about the future and the current status of the souls in her body. In the Supergirl title, he explains the angelic nature of that version of Supergirl while assisting her in defeating a demonic invasion of Hollywood. He serves as a supporting character in the Spectre series featuring Hal Jordan. Zauriel even bonds with the Spectre power itself, during an incident where Hal deals with an ancient entity who wants to turn the Earth into a long-lost paradise.

Infinite Crisis[edit]

Zauriel made some cameo appearances during Infinite Crisis, specifically in Infinite Crisis #5, where he is shown leading a group of heroes in an ecumenical prayer service, and in the Day of Vengeance Infinite Crisis Special. In Infinite Crisis #7, Zauriel was also hit square in the chest and through his right wing by Superboy-Prime's heat vision. Zauriel then appears in the first issue of 52, a year-long series which chronicles the events following Infinite Crisis. It may indicate that Zauriel was injured but recovered, or it may be that Zauriel returned quickly from death.

52[edit]

In 52, Ralph Dibny recruits Zauriel, along with Green Lantern, Metamorpho and Green Arrow, to infiltrate a resurrection cult supposedly based on Kryptonian theology. Dibny hoped that these four, because of their significant experience with the afterlife, would be able to judge whether the cult's claims to be able to resurrect his dead wife Sue were viable. The meeting ends badly; the heroes interrupt the ceremony partway through, but in the resulting fracas, the wicker replica of Sue looks up at Ralph and calls his name. Ralph is left temporarily mad, cradling the wicker body under a bridge and muttering that they need to try again.[5]

One Year Later[edit]

In March 2007, DC published a Helmet of Fate: Zauriel one-shot, written by Steve Gerber with art by Peter Snejberg. In it, Zauriel is dragged away from an awkward Sunday school 'Question and Answer' session in order to retrieve the helmet from the planet of Alstair, populated by plant–animal hybrids. Okeontis, a vampire-like fungus creature, plans to use its power to overthrow tyrant queen Hyathis. Zauriel ambiguously destroys Okeontis and her controlling intelligence, and sends the Helmet of Fate back on its quest for a new keeper.[6]

Zauriel is given the mission to destroy the Shadowpact member Blue Devil, who has been demoted to the rank of a Rhyming Demon in Hell's hierarchy.[7] The angel Abariel told Zauriel that Blue Devil is leading humans to admire and even want to emulate his demonic path, and must be eliminated despite the fact that, as Zauriel said, "This world owes its existence to him more than once." Zauriel has accepted the assignment, although he does not relish the task of killing someone he considers a proven hero. After getting into a small fight with Blue Devil he is then convinced to join the Shadowpact in the place of Blue Devil. He is given Michael's Battle Spear which is more powerful than his sword as he takes Blue Devil's place on the team.

Rise of Eclipso[edit]

Zauriel is recruited by Congorilla as part of a reserve Justice League consisting of Cyborg, Doctor Light, Red Tornado, Bulleteer, Animal Man, and Tasmanian Devil to help the JLA stop Eclipso. The reserve League is quickly defeated and Zauriel is injured after being stabbed by Eclipso.[8] Zauriel is subsequently tied up and tortured by Eclipso, who uses the angel's pained screams to lure the new Spectre into a fatal trap.[9]

The New 52[edit]

Zauriel appeared in The New 52 (a reboot of the DC Comics universe) series Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger issue 9. He warns Phantom Stranger that he is never allowed to enter Heaven again having gone to try to save his family. Zauriel states to Phantom Stranger that if he tries, he will be erased from time and history.[10]

During the "Trinity War" storyline, Zauriel appears and dismisses Batman, Katana and Deadman after obtaining a piece of Dr. Arthur Light's soul. He returns Doctor Light to his "womb" so Heaven will heal him. Zauriel asks the Phantom Stranger why he risked his being by returning and why he didn't tell the group of the consequences. With no answer, Zauriel seemingly erases the Phantom Stranger from existence.[11]

During the "Forever Evil" storyline, Zauriel was with Spectre when Constantine's group appears at the border of Heaven. When the Presence shows Constantine the rest of the groups' understandings, Constantine then flees making Zauriel chase after him. They arrive at the House of Mystery, where Constantine traps Zauriel in a celestial circle in hopes he will help them fight Blight. He tells the others that the trip was a waste as he only saw why he couldn't trust any of the group. The others however saw the truth or good remaining in their hearts which Zauriel confirms as he agrees to help them fight.[12] Zauriel proceeds to attack Blight, before being defeated as well. He joins Phantom Stranger and Pandora in the collective unconscious, as both created the illusion that they died. The group finds the human, Chris, located within Blight's heart. When Pandora tries to free him as a way to weaken Blight, she is stopped by Zauriel. Telling the two that there are bigger plans for Chris, Zauriel continues to fight a part of Blight as the Phantom Stranger and Pandora work to help Chris.[13]

Powers and abilities[edit]

Zauriel's most visible special abilities are his wings, which grant him flight at incredible speeds and with a high degree of control. As a former angel of Heaven, Zauriel is essentially immortal, immune to usual mortal frailties such as aging and disease, apparently not needing food, water, air or sleep, and having endured for millions of years serving Paradise.

The most potent of Zauriel's powers is his devastating sonic scream (sometimes called a "sonic flash"), which is capable of tremendous amounts of destruction. An ability that is specific to angels of the Eagle Host, Zauriel's scream is acutely attuned to the vibrational frequency that angels adopt when temporarily descending to the Earthly plane, enabling Zauriel to vaporize an angel in milliseconds.

A less-defined property of Zauriel's angel-hood is what he refers to as his angelic over-mind, Zauriel's mental connection to Heaven. This connection grants Zauriel various abilities, including the ability to communicate with any type of animal and a divine connection to the flow of magic on Earth. He can also sense good and evil around him and in people.

Zauriel has a number of other powers, including a moderate amount of superhuman strength, durability and agility when compared to a normal human. He can perform what he calls the "Red Sea trick," enabling him to part a body of water in much the way Moses did. He has also been submersed in water at length without drowning on more than one occasion.

Skills and talents[edit]

Zauriel has quite a diverse and versatile set of skills. Zauriel is an incredible swordsman, having wielded a flaming sword (see Weapons and Equipment below) since the dawn of creation as a guardian angel. He also has amazing flight capabilities, again considering his extensive experience. His role as a leader and a guide are impressive, as he has led groups into Heaven and has served as guidance to various individuals, including the present Hawkgirl, Kendra Saunders.

He is an expert in the ancient warfare, customs, and theologies of the Abrahamic religious traditions. For example, he invoked the beliefs of the Gnostic Christians when counseling Hawkgirl.

Weapons and equipment[edit]

Armor[edit]

Zauriel has three major pieces of equipment. The first is his Heavenly armor. Although built of Earthly materials, this prototype is designed by the engineers of Heaven and is blessed with divine properties that are theoretically impossible to replicate on Earth without omniscience. This suit of armor greatly enhances Zauriel's physical properties, including strength, durability, foot speed, agility, flight speed and stamina.

Zauriel's Sword (Flaming Sword)[edit]

Cast in the foundries of the Fifth Heaven—a creation of Elemental Angelic Fire. It embodies Zauriel's will and can cut through all bonds, dispel shadows and even wound non-material entities.

Zauriel's second piece of equipment is his flaming sword. This sword, which is characteristic of both guardian angels depicted thus far, is directly bonded to Zauriel's will. It is able to emit blasts of holy fire, and because it is controlled by Zauriel's will, the sword can cut virtually anything, including otherwise intangible objects and people, and even dimensional fabric itself. Zauriel was once able to cut a hole in the dimensional barrier separating Heaven and Earth when the blade was magically pumped up by teammates, enabling himself and his team to traverse dimensions.

Despite it being a heavenly weapon, Zauriel's sword can be exhausted of power. It has been blown out at least once, but was re-ignited by one of the powers wielded by the then-Supergirl.

The angel Abariel has since commanded Zauriel to surrender this weapon in exchange for Michael's battle staff-spear.

The Aerie[edit]

Zauriel's final piece of equipment is his headquarters itself, the Aerie. Floating high over Los Angeles, this shining, golden tower is much like Zauriel's armor in that it is made of Earthly materials but is of Heavenly design. The equipment far surpasses the technology of other humans, even going as far as to supersede the technology within the JLA Watchtower.

Michael's battle staff (spear)[edit]

The angel Abariel, after commanding Zauriel to surrender his sword, gives Zauriel this heavenly weapon "until such time we may need it back", formerly wielded by the Archangel Michael himself, when he joins the Shadowpact; it is said to be even more capable than the Trident of Lucifer wielded by the Blue Devil, and "has great and terrible powers far beyond your sword's meager abilities". It is powerful enough to actually wound Doctor Gotham, an enemy of the Shadowpact whose mystical powers far surpass those of the vastly potent Enchantress.

Other versions[edit]

  • Zauriel has appeared in the Justice League Unlimited spin-off comic book in issues #7 and 14. In the latter, he is assisted by other mystical heroes such as Deadman and Doctor Occult.
  • Zauriel is featured in the Elseworlds one-shot Supergirl: Wings as a friend of Matrix and tries to help her. He is depicted as a Lindel, an angel who plans out the lives of human beings before they are born.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "He was originally intended to appear in the JLA under the name Hawkman and I imagined a sense-strangling battle of the Hawkmen between Zauriel and Katar Hol at some point down the line. The Hawkman name was seen as a biohazard after the numerous continuity maulings the character had sustained. We were asked to retain the angel concept and simply call him Zauriel." -- Grant Morrison, on Zauriel. Retrieved on 1 May 2010.
  2. ^ a b JLA #6, June 1997
  3. ^ JLA: Secret Files #2, August 1998
  4. ^ JLA #41
  5. ^ 52 Week: 13
  6. ^ Helmet of Fate: Zauriel (March 2007)
  7. ^ "Shadowpact" #13 (March 2007)
  8. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #56
  9. ^ Justice League of America (vol. 2) #57
  10. ^ Phantom Stranger Vol. 4 #10
  11. ^ Trinity of Sin: Phantom Stranger #11
  12. ^ Constantine #10
  13. ^ Justice League Dark #27