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I’ve thought about it, and if I was a magician,
I’d definitely be the evil kind. Preferably one that wears mystical robes all
the time, for extra comfort. I don’t think I’d be sacrificing human
babies—depends on the spell, I suppose. But using precognition to win the
lottery or stopping time to shoplift undetected? Yeah, I’d be there. Seems like
there’s a dire price on your friends and loved ones whenever you use magic
anyway, you might as well get a little scratch out of it. That’s why I’d get
along with John Constantine, I reckon, until one of use stabbed each other in
the back. Until then, it would be a diabolical match made in hell. Why, just
take a look at my review of the Hellblazer
#4, and see how swell it is to be a pal to John Constantine!
John Constantine and Chas are in South Bloody
London (hey, it’s described that way!), tied back-to-back to a chair in Chas’
kitchen by his regular bookie White Boy (again, that’s just his name!) Chas
earned a windfall betting on a horse picked by Constantine, and now he wants
some of that gambling mojo. After antagonizing each other for a bit, White Boy
confesses his intention to kill Chas if John doesn’t tell his magic secrets, so
John relents and gives White Boy a list of things to procure from the witchy
supermarket, or wherever fine cauldron ingredients are sold. This leaves Chas
along with John for a while, and John admits that he is just stalling for time—classic
John Constantine! You ol’ so n’ so!
Meanwhile, in Rotworld, Swamp Thing bids adieu
to Mercury again, though this time she has a scarf she can pull around her
mouth that she didn’t have last issue. As Mercy steps into a corona to find
Swamp Thing’s ex-girlfriend Abby, the Rot begins to swarm Swampy, causing him
to decay from within. He wants to stand his ground to receive Mercury when she
gets back, maybe put a shawl around her shoulders and serve up some nice
chicken soup. To keep alive, Swamp Thing has to draw, uh, essence or whatever
from the Rot, turning him into a kind of cool skeleton/plant monster, and this
will likely plague (pause) him down the line.
Back in Chas’ kitchen, Chas and John are
arguing—or moreso, Chas is yelling at John for being the worst friend in the
universe. White Boy returns with the eye of newt and wing of bat requested by
Constantine, and now it’s time for him to weave some bullshit. While he puts on
a show worthy of Doug Henning, in a car outside sit demon club-goer Marid and
the fella in a goatee from last issue whose name I never did catch—the guy that
ripped one of Marid’s ex-lovers in half to prove some kind of point—and they’re
planning to retrieve Constantine and kill everyone else in Chas’ home. White
Boy and his gang are then murdered, serial killer style, while John and Chas
hotfoot it out the back door and make off with their lives. Cut over to Swamp
Thing and Mercury, now in the real world. She didn’t find Abby, or the seeds,
or whatever the hell it was that Swampo wanted, but John Constantine has shown
up out of nowhere, so things are sure to get even more dodgy going forward!
Why did that whole scene with the bookie
happen? Why did John even go to London in the first place if he was only going
to end up back at Mercury’s pad anyway? What is the guy in the goatee’s name? This
comic is spinning its wheels and my interest wanes by the page. I love Moritat’s
art, and it’s still a huge saving grace for this book, and the dialogue is
pretty funny. But someone spouting cutsey Britishisms and working “bollocks” in
as many sentences as possible does not an entertaining read make. It looks like
the Dark Trinity of Swamp Thing, Mercury and John Constantine might be finally
forming, but I think it may be too little, too late.
John gets Chas into hot water, again, and gets out of it by hook or by crook, again. Meanwhile, whatever the hell is happening with Swamp Thing and Mercury continues to happen. It's a strange thing when the protagonist seems involved in a comic book's B-plot, while ancillary guest stars seem to be the only ones propelling the story forward. My enthusiasm for this book has lessened with every issue, and if something really cool doesn't happen next issue then I'll definitely call this story arc, if not this series, a bust.