|Created by||Grant Morrison (writer)|
Tony S. Daniel (artist)
|Notable aliases||Bat-Devil, Azrael|
Michael Washington Lane is a fictional character appearing in comic books published by DC Comics. He debuted in Batman #665 (June 2007) as the supervillain Bat-Devil, before later taking on the identity of Azrael, being the second character to do so, after Jean-Paul Valley. As Azrael, he is a member of a group of assassins created by the Order of St. Dumas to bring justice in Gotham City, and has been both an adversary and ally of the superhero Batman.
The character appeared in the Batman: Arkham series of video games, where he was voiced by Khary Payton.
Michael Lane was introduced as Azrael as part of the Battle for the Cowl, a storyline told in a three-issue miniseries format written by Fabian Nicieza.
In 2009, a miniseries titled Azrael: Death's Dark Knight was produced as a tie-in to the Battle for the Cowl crossover event, with a later regular series.
The new Azrael is the Third "Ghost of Batman" to undergo Doctor Hurt's experiments, an ex-cop named Michael Washington Lane. He is approached by the Order of Purity to reclaim the mantle of Azrael after the Order's latest Azrael went mad and killed an undercover police officer. On his first night as Azrael, Lane fights Talia al Ghul (and her team of mercenaries led by Merlyn) and later encounters Nightwing. After convincing Nightwing that he was not responsible for the murder of the police officer, Nightwing persuades Talia to allow Michael to keep the Suit of Sorrows. In Batman and the Outsiders (vol. 2) #14, the character is displayed as a charming man who undergoes various purification rituals overseen by the Order of Purity.
Ra's al Ghul later attempts to manipulate Lane into destroying Gotham by having him commit suicide and be subsequently resurrected by the Suit, which had been dipped in a Lazarus Pit. Lane worked with metahuman Crusader to 'judge' Batman, Catwoman, and Red Robin for their past 'sins' to determine if Gotham should be saved. These included the insane obsession of Selina's sister that Selina is 'possessed', Robin not showing due reverence when he destroyed a church window to save hostages, and a childhood incident where Dick let another circus performer get assaulted because he was jealous. Although Lane is manipulated into perceiving the Bat-Family as having failed his tests, Batman convinces Lane to use his swords to test himself, revealing Ra's' plan in time for Lane to stop the planned destruction of new metahuman Fireball. Ra's intended for Azrael to detonate Fireball and make it appear as though Gotham had been destroyed by terrorists, inciting a wave of violence that would cleanse Earth and allow Ra's to take control.
Michael Lane has also appeared in The New 52. He was originally featured in Batwoman issue #2 as a cameo, which was written before the relaunch but published after; the art was however edited in order to remove him.
See also: Azrael in other media
Main article: Batman: Arkham
The Michael Lane incarnation of Azrael appears in the Batman Arkham series, voiced by Khary Payton.