April 14, 2024

Gabbing Geek

Your online community for all things geeky.

Slightly Misplaced Comic Book Hero Case Files #93: Zauriel

There used to be an angel in the Justice League...

The various all-star superhero teams, the ones that are intended to fight off the biggest threats facing the universe that don’t have a special connection to the character, such as how the X-Men deal exclusively with mutant issues and the Teen Titans started as a sidekicks club; often means that the team can have a whole host of oddballs and weirdoes.  Space cops, gods, Amazons, various types of aliens, human perfectionists, super-soldiers, and the like, are common to these sorts of groups and can make for some interesting combinations.

But man, I am not sure anyone got as unique as Zauriel.

By the by, my autocorrect hates that name.  Apparently, it thinks I am writing this week’s column of Laurel, whoever that is.

Now that’s a fashion statement.

Zauriel first appeared during Grant Morrison’s JLA run.  After the initial story arc to get the new Big Seven team together, and then a quick one-shot to bring in a really short-lived member named Tomorrow Woman, the League responded to a winged man’s fiery descent over San Fransisco Bay.  Arriving on the scene, the Martian Manhunter found Zauriel, a fallen angel, sitting on a dry spot in the middle of the bay after he’d caused the waters to recede.

As it is, we learn why Zauriel was fallen.  It seems he’d spent a few millennia as a guardian angel, watching over powerful women.  He fell in love with one and asked to go to Earth and try to find love.  Zauriel was a member of the Eagle Host, one of the four angelic hosts sitting in Heaven, and the King Angels all basically said no.  Then they dumped him down to Earth anyway.  That seems counterproductive.  But the King Angel of the Bull Host, Asmodel, decided that wasn’t good enough, particularly since Asmodel wanted to conquer Heaven or something.  As a result, numerous angels of the Bull Host descend on San Fransisco and the only ones standing in their way is the Justice League.

Zauriel acquits himself well, though he isn’t the one to defeat Asmodel.  See, Asmodel shone with the Light of Heaven, and only the purest of beings can withstand that.  After nearly killing the Martian Manhunter, someone pure enough stepped forward and kicked Asmodel’s angelic ass.

Good for Superman there.

Only downside was the victory came during Superman's technicolor blue period.
Only downside was the victory came during Superman’s technicolor blue period.

So, what was next for Zauriel?  He was offered League membership, but he turned it down to go romance the woman he used to watch over.

That actually didn’t last.  In his own mini-series, Zauriel didn’t get the girl.  He helped the girl find love with a co-worker.  And he was fine with that.  Dude really was an angel, I guess.

His romancing over, Zauriel got some heavenly armor and a floating fortress called the Celestial Citadel and joined the League.  Morrison had initially wanted to make him the new Hawkman, but was denied, so he just stayed Zauriel.

By the by, if you think it might be weird that an angel of the Eagle Host was almost a Hawkman, don’t.  The four angelic hosts Morrison wrote about were all creatures symbolically linked to one of the four Evangelicals who authored the Gospels in the Bible.  Zauriel was of the Eagle Host.  Asmodel was of the Bull Host.  The other two were Lion and Man.  So, yeah, it makes sense.  And all four had wings.

As a Leaguer, Zauriel brought a few things to the table.  He could get into Heaven when necessary and knew a lot about magic and the workings of the place.  He possessed great strength, could obviously fly, had a flaming sword, and even some kind of weird scream that could disintegrate other angels in their mortal forms.  He also had one other power that wasn’t much of one if you thought about it, but helped out when he needed it.  Effectively, he couldn’t die.

Well, he could, but it wouldn’t stick.

See, during the last of Morrison’s arcs, when the civilization destroyer Mageddon was coming to Earth, DC let it be known that two Leaguers were going to die.  Now, whenever a comics company makes an announcement like that, the first thing to do to get a clue is check to see who still has his or her own solo title.  And for a group like Morrison’s Justice League, that was most of the team, and nobody seemed to be in danger of losing that solo title, so all that basically left was a couple New Gods, Superman’s armored pal Steel, Plastic Man, and Zauriel.  As it was, one of the two was returning member Az-Tec and the other was Zauriel.  How did Zauriel die?  Well, there was a bomb in the League’s Watchtower moon base, and Zauriel was standing right next to it when it went off.  Oh, he knew it was there.  He was waiting for it to explode.

Was it suicide?  Well, yes and no.  He was actually looking for reinforcements.

See, as an angel, Zauriel knew exactly what the afterlife was like.  He died and went to Heaven.  That seems like something of a cheat since faith requires belief without solid proof, but whatever.  Once back in Heaven, he pleaded with the angelic hosts there to join the fight against Mageddon.  That actually worked, and the Earth needed every fighting body it could get.

So, of course, once the day was saved, Zauriel…did not stay with the League.

Yeah, he just went somewhere.  I mean, he still popped up as a guest star in a number of places, and even in the New 52 has done a bit of time assisting Justice League Dark, but by and large, his biggest burst of exposure came and went with Morrison’s JLA run.

He exploded onto the scene and just as quickly went away.
He exploded onto the scene and just as quickly went away.

So, now he’s just a generic angel.  Well, I’m sure anytime someone in DC needs proof of the Christian afterlife, he’ll be on call.