Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Hellblazer #9 Review and **SPOILERS**

Hoisted By His Own Petard

Writer: Simon Oliver 
Penciller: Davide Fabbri 
Inker: José Marzan Jr., Karl Kesel 
Colorist: Carrie Strachan 
Lettering: Sal Cipriano 
Cover Artist: Declan Shalvey with Jordie Bellaire 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: April 26, 2017


Once more into the breach, folks. I didn’t really understand the last issue, perhaps this will provide some clarification. I’d offer more glib meaninglessness, but I’d only be forestalling the inevitable. Let’s take a look at my review of The Hellblazer #9. Right right?

Explain It!

So Constantine, Mercury, and Misabel are hot on the trail of that kid’s magic-infused sneaker, in an attempt to find Uncle Henry’s journal. Or some such. In that journal is…something? I forget. Something the Djinn doesn’t want people to know, and maybe Misabel wants the information for herself…I’m just trying to put the pieces together here. The trail of the floating shoe ends right in front of some French drug dealers, who have to listen to John Constantine’s babbling while Misabel takes off in their taxicab. Initially, they drive so slowly that Constantine can run alongside the car and blabber a little more. But then Misabel pulls away, leaving John Constantine feeling dejected even though I barely know what the fuck they were talking about.
That leaves Mercury to berate John Constantine a while as they walk the lonely streets of Paris. Meanwhile, at the Houses of Parliament in England, some mousy fellow named Mr. Carver takes the majority party to task by bragging about purposefully incompetent he is. Do we know this guy? I don’t think so…he doesn’t look familiar but there are so many ancillary characters I could have easily missed or forgotten him. Mr. Carver heads to the Tate Club, run by that pal of the Djinn, Clarice. He tells Clarice she’s his only friend, then gets drawn into some opium stupor with a couple of hookers because that’s how the Illuminati relaxes. Then, that Djinn buddy that’s been farting around for like…nine issues now? Somehow it feels like more than that. Anyway he rushes in with some folks and subdues Mr. Carver, which I’m sure will have some great impact on the things he was doing poorly on purpose, for instance maybe they will be done correctly for once. But we’ll get to that in a moment.
Back in France, John and Mercury head to an antiques shop and root through its used books in search of Henry’s journal. In his book section are a bunch of actual old comics, including an issue of what looks like Swamp Thing vol. 2 #37, cover dated June 1985. This is the first appearance of John Constantine, and it’s a very good comic that should be read in lieu of this one. Anyway, there’s some more traded quips and John and Mercury shuffle off without finding anything but their own humiliations. Later, they ask some other nerd about the book, and he turns out to be in the employ of Misabel. Back in London, that Djinn says a bunch of stuff to gain Mr. Carver’s confidence, including showing him an angel’s wing and having an implied conversation that seems to suggest that God has vacated his throne, Preacher-style. This somehow gives Mr. Carver dispense to behead and de-wing an angel, and then give the Djinn access to an abandoned Air Force base, for some reason.
I do not know what the fuck is going on in this book. At all. I have no idea what the plan is, who the bad guys are, what happened to Swamp Thing and Abigail, and why Mercury is even there, except maybe to sell John out to the Djinn later? I just don’t understand anything. It’s awful. It’s like a bunch of ideas written on slips of paper were blown off a desk, then hastily shuffled together and stuck into a matchbox. Looks like the artist has changed, and they do a good job. But I am weary of this book, and I don’t care to look at decent artwork anymore. I just want this nonsense to end.

Bits and Pieces:

We shuffle between seemingly unimportant scenes and are introduced to a few new characters who may or may not be of future importance. Still no Swamp Thing in sight. This book seems to be digging a pit for itself, ever deeper.


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