Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The Hellblazer #2 Review and **SPOILERS**

Look Mom! I Put London’s Souls in Dire Peril!

Writer: Simon Oliver
Artist: Moritat
Colorists: Andre Szymanowicz and Moritat
Lettering: Sal Cipriano
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: September 28, 2016


One of the worst things about being a superhero is that a lot of your work goes unrecognized. Oh sure, Superman gets plenty of accolades after saving Metropolis from one of Brainiac’s giant robots, but only if he punches it into the stratosphere in full view of its citizens. And people wonder why he doesn’t change the venue of every cataclysmic fight to Antarctica: for the props, man! The Green Lantern Corps saved the universe from hidden threats dozens of times, and everyone hates them because all they see are the atmospheric-level arrests. This is why Booster Gold makes a lot of sense to me. Sure, if you’ve got the powers then you should use them heroically, but there’s nothing wrong with getting a little face time with the people while you do it! Heck, I’d rather watch Wonder Woman showboat than Keeping Up With the Kardashians. And what I’d really like to see is Wonder Woman dragging Kris Kardashian behind her invisible jet by her golden lasso. What does this have to do with this issue of the Hellblazer? Mmmaybe it’s relevant, read on to find out!

Explain It!

That John Constantine is more than just a shitheel sorcerer, he’s also quite the matchmaker, as Mercury and Swamp Thing languish atop a grassy knoll in view of the setting sun and utter sweet nothings to each other. About John Constantine. Mercury wants to bash John, but Swamp Thing takes a more tempered, Avatar of the Green approach and admits that John will be necessary when they have to go deal with Abigail in the Rot in the next issue or two. And besides, if you hate John so much, Mercy, then why are you talking about him? Huh? You hate the guy so much but it seems like every other word out of your mouth is “Constantine!” I don’t think you hate him at all! I think you luuuuurrve him.

His mate Chas, on the other hand, does not love John Constantine. Not right now, when he’s squatting at Chas’ apartment, forcing his wife Renee to move out for the interim. Chas is trying to gently tell John to fuck off, and John gets the hint but doesn’t really care. John is one of those “give an inch, take a mile” kind of fellas, and he evidences this by producing a large knot of cash and telling Chas to bet it on a specific horse that day—then keep a couple of bucks for himself, for being a good sport. Yep, a real prick, that John Constantine. He then tells Chas to give him a ride somewhere, which is just par for his shitty course, at this point. Do you expect him to start asking nicely now? Chas is pissed off and runs his cab meter while ferrying John around, and I don’t blame him a bit.

But let’s not forget about poor John’s feelings. He’s upset because he held every soul in London hostage for his freedom from a curse, but no one from the Underworld has come to tell him off about it. Like, “Why isn’t anyone threatening me, the biggest goddamned jerk in the universe?” Allow me to suggest that it may be a mutual contempt, Constatine, and leave it at that. John makes it to some evil supper club, where he encounters Clarice Sackville, some kind of CEO in charge of boogeymen and witch’s curses. John and Clarice talk in riddles, and Clarice says that he may have screwed up dispensing with that demon in the Rebirth issue by paving the way for a worse fate later on. Yeah, but that could happen to anybody! Later, John is drinking at an Irish Pub being glared at by twin weirdos in green suits that had been hanging around that Sackville dinner party. John tries to give them the slip, which is seemingly impossible, and then he descends a spiral staircase found in a subway tunnel to meet…Map? He says “Map!” Do you think this means he’s going to meet Maps Mizoguchi from Gotha Academy??? Squee! Crossover of the Century!

Another great-looking, brooding issue of the Hellblazer with some great character moments…where there isn’t a whole lot going on. I mean, John going to see the Boss of Evil so he can be punished for his magical transgressions seems really out of character, but it didn’t come to anything in this issue so it seems inconsequential. I’m sure it will bear fruit further down the line, but I wonder if I will even remember the awkward conversation that started it all. I am super excited for Mercury and Swamp Thing to get folded back into the story, so I can see this effed-up Trinity at play! Moritat is doing a great job on this book, the visuals are really clear but the embellishments can be dark and oppressive, and he plays with your mood throughout the issue. Hellblazer is a really promising book. Let’s not go back to John Constantine’s Existential Errands like the last volume did.

Bits and Pieces:

Though much of this book is John Constantine making the rounds, the dialogue and character moments are enough to keep you engaged. I just wish I could say more about this issue than "John chatted with some people, and then ran away." The opening scene with Mercury and Swamp Thing was a little bit enlightening, but not enough considering the page count. The art is spectacular and could never be denied, at once cartoonish and horrifying, like Johnny Craig, but looser and with a heavier line. Keep your eye on this series, I have the feeling it's about to go all warbly (that's British for wibbly.)

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  1. I honestly found myself falling asleep during this issue. Not much went on.

    1. 'tis true Deron...I liked John's exchanges with Chas most of all. If not for the art, I would have chucked this entirely.


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