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Constantine: The Hellblazer #1 Review and *SPOILERS*
Written By: Ming Doyle, James Tynion IV Art By: Riley Rossmo, Ivan Plascensia Cover Price: $2.99 Release Date: June 10, 2015
*Non Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*
It's time for Constantine to get back to his Hellblazer roots and get back to the darkness that seemed to be lost with him living in a world of superheroes....... Yeah, he's still living within the DC You, but the heroes bit looks like it's going to be played down, instead of our hero traveling to Earth-2. It's funny to me because while a lot of people had problems with John being so prevalent in the superhero community, that Earth 2 story was one of the finest to come out of the previous series. At this point I'm just writing for writing sake because I like to have a recap section, but since this is a first issue there's nothing really to talk about. So let's quit the jibber jabber and get into Constantine: The Hellblazer and see how our old pal John is doing. Let's check it out.
Our issue begins hilariously as we see Constantine standing in a clothing store, buck naked and covered in blood and hoping beyond hope that the clerk doesn't scream and or call the police, but since when does John put much stock in hope? Yeah, he magics the girl up and makes it look like he's a perfectly fine, upstanding citizen and that a scrap of paper that he gave her is a valid credit card. Yeah, the clerk is probably going to get fired after John cleans up and gets some new duds, but unlike John's old pal Gaz, who's haunting him, Constantine just figures that them's the breaks. Thems the breaks should certainly be John's motto too because as we see him exit the store, Gaz isn't the only one haunting him. Everybody that John has betrayed or gotten killed because of his douchebaggery, is ever present around him, but when has specters or ghoulies ever stopped John from going about his day to day?
After grabbing some lunch and trying to pick up the guy running the restaurant, John is met by an old demon acquaintance of his named Blythe, who seems to have a imp problem that only John can fix. Blythe is bad news and even though John and her have a past from knocking boots from time to time, he reluctantly agrees to find these imps in her club and cast them out, since Blythe doing so herself would call her back to hell as well. After getting back to her club/theater house: Inferno and knocking those boots for old times sake, we find out that this place is designed after Dante's nine circles of hell and anyone who traverses each level will have their soul taken........due to some demon legal mumbo jumbo at the door. This part is really cool because we see Blythe and John go down each level and it's shown by turning your comic to the side...... Yeah, it's nothing special, but it was a nice touch that I appreciate.
In the end, we find out that this imp problem Blythe supposedly had was all a ruse in order to get John to the bottom level and meet her demon business partner; so John could kill him and Blythe could take control of the club and all the souls it collects. After briefly getting his ass kicked by this hulked out demon, John begins casting the demon back to hell, but screws up the last words to the incantation, making Blythe finish the recitation and thus creating a portal back to hell that swallowed the pesky business partner whole. This is where we get the classic Constantine con job where Blythe realizes that Constantine wasn't the one to banish the demon, she was and since that action is punishable by banishment herself, we get Blythe cursing John's name while she gets pulled down herself. As John lights up a smoke and prepares to exit the club, we see that his ghosts return and Gaz tells him that something is killing his ghosts and that it's all his fault....... I suspect Jake Busey because he's a repeat offender in the murdering of ghosts........... Come On! It's a Frighteners reference!
That's it for this first issue of Constantine: The Hellblazer and man did this issue really turn my opinion around about the art. From what we saw in he Hellblazer Sneak Peek, I thought that the art was really off putting for this title, but I have to tell you that it really grows on you as you read. By the end, I found myself being a complete fan of the style and I hope it continues for a long time. The thing that I was looking forward to the most for this title was a pseudo return to form for the title character and the type of stories he'd be featured in and while the majority of this book was great, I have to say that the ending, where Constantine just tricks Blythe into being banished was really simplistic and could be spotted a mile away. Well, there were one of two things going to happen at the end in my mind, Constantine would trick Blythe into banishment or she would trick Constantine into traversing the entire club, thus forfeiting his soul. Both of these are really simple conclusions and I kind of hoped for a more clever ending. Besides for my own personal gripes about that though, this was an excellent start to what promises to be an amazing series featuring our brash Brit.
Bits and Pieces:
This series certainly started off on the right track! The tone, the humor and the lack of empathy was spot on and man did I have to eats my words about not digging the art from the Sneak Peek because while I initially thought that the style didn't match the dark tone of the book, I found myself really getting into the art as I read this issue. So yeah, top notch Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascensia, top notch. I'm really looking forward to this series and anyone who hasn't checked this out yet, should.