Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Constantine, the Hellblazer #8 Review and *SPOILERS*

You Don’t Have to Be a Demon to Work Here, But It Helps

Written By: Ming Doyle & James Tynion IV
Art By: Riley Rossmo, Brian Level, Ivan Plascencia
Letters By: Tom Napolitano
Cover Price: $2.99
Release Date: January 13, 2016

*Non-Spoilers and Score At The Bottom*

John Constantine will never be a wizened sage. He’ll never sit in the lotus position, emaciated at the top of a mountain, or a chuckling, fat Buddha-type dispensing pithy wisdoms to his attending supplicants. He’s no couch potato, that Constantine, he walks through cities and dimensions and realms and never seems to break his stride. That’s how he keeps such a trim figure, I suppose. I wonder what kind of shoes John wears? Anyway, in this issue John continues his streak of never sitting down and goes clubbing with his pal Papa Midnite. You know, the voodoo priest that hates him? Yeah, that’s who you go clubbing with when you’re John Constantine. Want to see what kind of clubs he goes to? Then read on!

Explain It!:

Okay, you want to talk about good comics value? John Constantine, Hellblazer is good comics value. This issue contains five, count ‘em, five two-page spreads with completely awesome layouts that you just want to tattoo right onto your back. You can have the whole book for three bucks, that’s only sixty cents a spread. And you want to know the craziest thing? That’s only half of the whole comic book! But how’s the story? Well, here’s the thing: it won’t take a long time to describe in a review, but the devil’s in the details [pause for laughter] and the strength of this book is in the dialogue and interactions between characters. I’m going to do my best to convey that through plodding text, but I’m stating it outright in case it doesn’t come across in my review: this is a well-written comic book.

Papa Midnite has captured John Constantine’s current beau and ensnared him with his magic rooster-headed python in order to entice John on a quest to get Papa’s building and hellish nightclub back from the mysterious Mr. Rumor. Though Rumor bought the place fair and square, Papa Midnite explains that there’s a totem in his office at the tippy-top of Midnite Enterprises’ building that will allow him to regain control of his zombies and his empire. John believes too strongly in the righteousness of capitalism to engage in such chicanery, so Papa motivates him by having the rooster-snake bite his fella and inject him with a venom whose cure is—you guessed it—in Papa Midnite’s office, probably next to the totem. Looks like the boys are gonna pull a caper!

John and Papa go to the newly-owned Club Midnight, where they’re greeted by a creepy white-skinned demon-woman that has giant blue eyes in the sockets where her arms should be (her eye sockets, incidentally, are empty) who gives them the evil rules of his arcane establishment. Our heroes are wearing magic glamours to appear as demons, and almost get caught at the front door but John uses his wit and charm to get away. We get a shot of the club, and it is glorious—bloated, bloody corpses and demonic revelry in every corner, and you don’t even need to hear any of that godawful techno music to enjoy it. Midnite and Constatine mingle for a bit, when in walks the real owner of Club Midnight, and the guy who’s been snapping up New York City real estate with Mr. Rumor as his go-between: Neron, super very evil demon that looks sort of like a 1980s yuppie. He’s arrogant and brash, but so is John Constantine and we don’t hold that against him.

Papa goes over the many trials and tribulations one must go through in order to reach his penthouse office, but John Constantine has a better way to cut through the pocket hell dimension Midnite created in order to make his club boundless: step into the real world and take the stairs. Man, has this guy got a set of strong legs! They stroll quite easily to the top of the building where Constantine is shocked to discover that Papa Midnite has a portal to hell bubbling, which is used to power the pocket dimension somehow. Don’t worry, though: it’s guarded by a three-rooster-headed dragon. Man, Papa Midnite is so awesome. John and Papa make it to the office, where Neron is receiving pitches for new evil investment opportunities. Mr. Rumor is there and sees right through their glamours, then removes them with a wave of his hand. Now our boys are well and truly fucked!

It didn’t take long to describe, but I had an absolute blast reading this issue. Constantine is characterized so well, and his back-and-forth with Papa Midnite was a real joy to read. The art fairly well steals the show here, very rich and detailed with lots of two-page spreads that will keep your eyes flickering over the pages to soak it all in. This ain’t your regular punch ‘em up book for sure, but if you like a little magic and a little evil in your comics, then you’re in the right place. Not Club Midnight, mind you. Seems like any humans attempting to enter that particular establishment get flayed alive.

Bits and Pieces

What a pleasure it was to read a comic book about two lying magicians hanging out at an evil club filled with torture and gore. The story is good, the characterizations were better, and the art runs away with everything in the ad hoc awards show taking place in my head. And for best animal used to menace captives: the rooster-headed python! For strongest thighs and calves: John Constantine! Thank you, ladies and gentlemen, drive safely. And thank you, creators of this particular comic book. It is really picking up steam now.



  1. This comic is so terrific! Everything about it, the writers, the art and the layouts is perfect. I feel this is another gem that has come out of the DCYou but seems to get less critical attention than Martian Manhunter and other DCYou comics! I am deeply afraid it might get cut because of its poor sales and I can't take another Constantine loss (I will never get over NBC cancelling Constantine!), DC needs to promote the crap out of it! This and Dr. Strange have both been filling the much needed gap in magic representation in comics.