Wednesday, November 23, 2016

The Hellblazer #4 Review and **SPOILERS**

A Chat in Chas’ Kitchen

Writer: Simon Oliver 
Artist: Moritat 
Colorists: Carrie Strachan and Tony Aviña 
Lettering: Sal Cipriano 
Cover Artist: John Cassaday with Paul Mounts 
Variant Cover Artist: Yasmine Putri 
Cover Price: $2.99 
On Sale Date: November 23, 2016


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!
Explain It!

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.

Bits and Pieces:

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.



  1. Man, that art does not really fit Constantine at all...

  2. Well, hopefully now that John is with Swamp thing again, things will get moving. The Swamp Thing parts....loving that art, but agree that John's parts, the art wasn't that great.