Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Hellblazer #16 Review & **SPOILERS**

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Sleight of Plan

Writer: Richard Kadrey 
Penciller: Davide Fabbri 
Inker: Jose Marzán Jr. 
Colorist: Carrie Strachan 
Letterer: Sal Cipriano 
Cover Artist: Jesús Merino with Carrie Strachan 
Cover Price: $3.99
On Sale Date: November 22, 2017

**NON SPOILERS AND SCORE AT THE BOTTOM**

Great News! We are starting a new story arc this issue! That means that last one was the conclusion of a three-issue arc! The rarest of comic book plums. Let’s not delay jumping into this new yarn and look at my review of The Hellblazer #16, right now!


Explain It!

San Francisco, like many American cities West of Chicago, is more a collection of disparate towns grouped by public transit and districting into something called a city for lack of a better word. No two areas are alike; from the broader streets of the Haight spilling into Golden Gate Park, to the crowded public art gallery that is the Mission, on down to the Victorian mansions overlooking the Wharf, each area is so distinct from the other that they seem almost like separate fiefdoms, pieces of turf that demand their own tributes and attitudes. In short, San Francisco is a city of magic, it’s own Land of Oz with no Emerald City at the end. Unless the Wizards relocate to Oakland.
John Constantine finds himself in San Francisco after a chubby fellow is found dead with a hole blown in his chest and “THANK YOU” scribbled on the wall in his own blood. While in town, he looks up an old pal named Jenny, who tells him that there have been at least six such instances: dead bodies with their appreciation smeared on the wall behind them. John advises that she get out of town, after she gives him the name of a dirty cop that might be able to help out. Later, Jenny dies because she spoke to and was friendly with John Constantine, which we know is akin to signing your own death warrant.  He meets this cop and after pulling a trick that would make David Blaine blush, is able to get the file from the detective working on the Thank You Murders. But it’s going to take a couple of hours.
Nothing to do but kill some time then, so after dodging a beggar-turned-mugger and being beset by some colorful monsters, John finds himself in a church, where he can use a big golden crucifix to knock these demons silly. They revert back to human form, and before they can give up any names one of them clocks Constantine with a brick and both dudes scamper off. John gives chase, but winds up finding Jenny’s body—see, I told you she would die. Once John gets the police file, he finds out that the murdered folks were members of the Wheel of Time church, and after paying the appropriate licenses to Robert Jordan, John pays the establishment a visit. There, a multi-armed blue monster on fire chases him out of the place and practically back to his own home, where members of the Bay Area Grand Dawn Coven, who want him to answer for Jenny’s grisly death!
Sounds like a lot of crazy stuff went on in this issue—and I guess, strictly speaking, it did—but it felt more like John was wandering around aimlessly, waiting for the story to happen. It was never clear as to why John is looking into this case at all, and he doesn’t use any magic except for a cheap parlor trick pulled on the crooked cop. The art is serviceable, but a bit stiff, and thusly somehow fitting to this stilted tale. This isn’t even a comic to aggressively dislike. I’m more curious as to why it was made at all.


Bits and Pieces:

The story seems partially told and the art is unnaturally stiff. There's barely any magic in the issue at all. Pretty disappointing, especially after the last issue which was great.

3.5/10
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