With Rocksteady’s utilization of Azrael within their Arkham series, and the recent reveal of the involvement of the Dumas family in Fox’s Gotham; the Order of St. Dumas is starting to get more recognition in mainstream media. This particular faction in Batman lore has a rather unique backstory, that is definitely worth going over.
The Order of St. Dumas of the Batman comic lore was a former faction of the Knights Templar (you know; the dudes you kill in the Assassin’s Creed). Before they were an independent faction, they were formed during the 14th century Crusades, with the intended purpose of protecting pilgrims making their way to the Holy Land. The Order eventually broke away from the Church and followed the man that The Order would be named after—a man that Ra’s Al Ghul describes as an “insane fanatic” (Manhunter vol. 3 #28). The Order abides by Dumas’ rule that vengeance is to be valued as the ultimate form of justice.
The Order eventually trains an assassin to take on the name of Dumas, and embody his ideals. Despite his training he was defeated by the vigilante, Manhunter (who, long story short, attained his name from the same androids created by the Guardians of Oa). With the Order’s champion defeated, a portion of the faction then broke away from them, calling themselves The Order of Purity—as they were more dedicated towards religious ideals. Both factions then created their own warrior champion who would go by the name, Azrael. For the Order of St. Dumas, the mantle of Azrael is a hereditary line, passed down for generations. Eventually the mantle was passed down to Jean-Paul Valley, a man who was engineered to have super-human physiology, and conditioned to follow the Order’s commands in doing whatever it takes to ensure their rise in power. With the aid of Batman, Valley was able to break away from the Order’s psychic bonds. When free, he then proceeds to destroy the Order of St. Dumas, leaving only the Order of Purity.