Wednesday, October 26, 2016
The Hellblazer #3 Review and **SPOILERS**
I Dream of Djinnie
Writer: Simon Oliver
Colorists: Andre Szymanowicz and Moritat
Lettering: Sal Cipriano
Cover Artist: Moritat
Cover Price: $2.99
On Sale Date: October 26, 2016
**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**
Shouldn’t the Hellblazer be titled the ‘Ellblazer?
Think about it. Then stop thinking about it because it’s stupid. Read my review instead!
Swamp Thing and Mercury are getting closer and closer, while sitting atop a grassy knoll and chatting about this n’ that. Swamp Thing explains that there are three forces of life: the Green, the Red, and the Rot. This really pissed me off because Charles Soule established the Grey for fungi, the Machine for technology, and implied a limitless number of life forces from Bacteria to Story itself that was a smart and fairly organic way to expand Swamp Thing’s lore. And that was all seemingly wiped away in idle conversation with a character we hadn’t seen since Bill Clinton was in office. Fuck. Anyway, Mercury is surely crushing on Swamp Thing, except he can’t stop bringing up his ex-girlfriend Abigail, now the avatar of the Rot. Seems they had a deal where Swampy could traipse through the Rot whenever he liked, provided Abby was on the throne…but now it looks like she’s taken a powder without telling anyone, and Swamp Thing is worried. Despite wanting to cuddle with our moss-encrusted mockery, Mercury agrees to help Swampo find Abby, and proceeds to ask a jillion questions that don’t have an answer. Isn’t that just like a demon slayer? Ultimately, Swamp Thing takes Mercury to the Rot, which is weird since I thought he said that was specifically a thing he couldn’t do if Abby wasn’t in place. Meanwhile, at the Tate Club (for Evil and General Deviancy), Clarice Stockton is being chastised by some handsome fellow in a goatee for letting John Constantine walk in and out of the club unmolested last issue. When she balks at providing information, he has one of her old boyfriends hauled out from the back room, and then this guy rips him bodily in half right in front of Clarice. For some reason, this makes her face melt, so she tells him that John has a mate, a taxi driver named Chas, that might be able to say more. This guy with the goatee knew that already, he just wanted to rip a human being apart to show how tough he is.
Let us not forget John Constantine, who has tumbled down the mystical rabbit hole from a station on London’s Underground to…what looks like another subway station. Except this one is spookier. There, he meets a guy in a hard hat named Map, who is, like, the caretaker of the spiritual circulatory system for London? It’s a weird job, I know. And it takes a lot more college than you’d expect at first blush. Problem is, Map’s gone mad, which implies that something screwy is going on around London. Map tries to impart some information about a warning, but he speaks in riddles and can’t be understood clearly. How’s that taste, John Constantine? Thought you had the market cornered on being cryptic, huh? After Map sings “Do You Know the Muffin Man?” Constantine snaps and is able to worm out some information about the Djinn, a race of beings that existed before humans and now want their planet back. See? All you had to do was tell Uncle John what’s the matter. John laughs at the premise, but Map tells him that they want the Swamp Thing, and he’s got to stop them from meeting and possibly starting up a tech company.
In the Rot, Mercury and Swamp Thing are just trudging through the Rot, and now Mercury is taking him to spiritual school. Eventually, they make it to a shimmering hole in the sky, that Swamp Thing calls a wormhole and Mercury condescendingly says it will do. Swamp Thing can’t see it, so Mercury has to go through it alone, leaving Swampster defenseless against the Rot—which seems pretty tame at the moment, to be honest. Back in London, Constantine emerges from a wormhole and considers the full impact of the Djinn, and how they might be resentful at their little brothers the Human Race having taken over Dad’s business. It was supposed to be God & Sons, not God & Son! He ponders this all the way to Chas’ flat, where he finds Chas is tied up in the kitchen and surrounded by some menacing blokes, including Chas’ bookie—who is curious to know why the horse racing bet John made him place paid out so bloody well!
Some pretty interesting developments here: a force of bad, a quest in the Rot, this thing with Chas. It’s a lot of plates to keep spinning simultaneously. Unfortunately, it isn’t done as deftly as I’d like, and the writing is a bit clunky in parts. John Constantine’s dialogue is something I love to read, but there’s a lot of superfluous chatter that might have been better used to get to the flipping point in fewer pages. I still love Moritat’s artwork, though his rendition of the Rot looks more like a New England marsh than the fetid realm of decay and death. In all, a fairly good issue that provides just enough information to make me curious for the next.
Bits and Pieces:
Juggling a few plots simultaneously is no easy feat, as evidenced by this issue. I'd like to say it worked more often than not, but truthfully each story came across like a pile of bricks rolling down a cobblestone hill; we get the point by the end, but there's a lot of tossing off before we get there. That's the proper Britishism, isn't it? "Tossing off?" Like s story throbbing in jerky spasms before gushing to the inevitable payoff. A totally legitimate literary term.