Azazel (DC Comics)
|First appearance||The Sandman #4
|Created by||Neil Gaiman (writer)
Sam Kieth (artist)
|Place of origin||Hell|
|Abilities||mastery of maleficium|
Azazel is a fictional demon appearing in books published by DC Comics. He first appeared in The Sandman #4 (April 1989), and was created by Neil Gaiman and Sam Kieth. A different version of Azazel fought Madame Xanadu in The Unexpected #190 (March/April 1979) created by Cary Burkett and Juan Ortiz, which was technically a reprint from Cancelled Comic Cavalcade #1.
Fictional character biography
Azazel is first seen in Preludes and Nocturnes. He is part of the triumvirate (along with Beelzebub and Lucifer) that rules Hell. He is depicted as a black void of variant size and shape, full of multiple floating sets of white, fanged, grinning teeth.
Azazel returns in the graphic novel Season of Mists. After Lucifer Morningstar abdicated Hell, he left the key to the gates of hell to Dream. Azazel is one of the supernatural beings who petitions Dream for the key, and the right to rule Hell. Azazel offers to return to Dream his ex-lover Nada (Dream had condemned her to hell after she refused to be his queen) in exchange for the key.
Dream is tempted by the offer, but refuses after receiving instructions from a higher order (implicitly, God) to give the key to the angels Remiel and Duma so they may rule Hell. Azazel then threatens to consume Nada, forcing Dream to enter Azazel in order to save her. The overconfident Azazel forgets that he is in Dream's realm, and is easily defeated by Morpheus. Dream imprisons Azazel in a small bottle.
The bottle (and Azazel) are seen briefly in The Kindly Ones, inside a box full of other objects collected by Dream.
Azazel was not a character in Sandman only, but was part of the hierarchy of Hell being canon in the entire DC Universe at the time. Azazel has also been seen or referred to in DC titles such as Swamp Thing, Hellblazer, The Spectre and The Demon. In Secret Origins #48 (1990), he and the Triumvirate are even featured in the origin story of the humoristic Stanley and His Monster. The box with Azazel in a bottle is later glimpsed in JLA #23 (1998).
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