Wednesday, June 27, 2018

The Hellblazer #23 Review and **SPOILERS**

Group Exorcise

Writer: Tim Seeley 
Penciller: Davide Fabbri 
Inker: Christian Dalla Vecchia 
Colorist: Carrie Strachan 
Letterer: Sal Cipriano 
Cover Artist: Tim Seeley with Chris Sotomayor 
Variant Cover Artist: Sean Phillips 
Editor: Kristy Quinn 
Group Editor: Jim Chadwick 
Cover Price: $3.99 
On Sale Date: June 27, 2018


Wot, essat that time agin? Let’s ‘op on back t’jolly aul’ London mate, viddy a few birds and hoist a few points and rabble-rouse wif th’ best of ‘em. To hear more of myself and Chris mangling the British vernacular, check out this week’s episode of Cosmic Treadmill! To read some mangling of British culture, check out my review of The Hellblazer #23, right here!

Explain It!

Ehhh…I don’t drink alcohol very much anymore, but this book makes me want to. Partly just to get into the slovenly mindset of John Constantine. He’s got the look of someone in a perpetual hangover. But also because this thing is such a slog, I’d really rather it be handled while in an alternate state. What about that potion that Dr. Jekyll devised, the one that manifested his base urges into a new personality? So to recap, as best I can: John Constantine walked away from a fuck buddy called Margaret Ames like twenty years ago, so she turned to the occult in order to get revenge on him, and this made her susceptible in the present to becoming a vessel for the criminal brother of a Priest named Day. Because of her occultish proclivities, however, Margaret was also the vessel for a demon named Nermal, who we know is the cute kitten that vexes Garfield in his self-titled comic strip. Where was I?
So Nermal the Demon called forth a host of other potential demons, and meanwhile the Priest resurrected two more of his shitty brothers because this story needed to be expanded to six issues in order to make a salient trade collection. Elsewhere, John Constantine wants to save Margaret Ames’ soul, I suppose? And he definitely wants to protect her from Helena Bertinelli aka the Huntress, who’s been tasked with killing crime bosses, of which Margaret happens now to be. Frankly, I’m not sure why the Huntress is there exactly, except for the usual bolt-firing business, but I guess it’s supposed to be a counterpoint to Constantine’s magic-wielding. Which he hasn’t done in issues, mind you.
And now, what’s this? Margaret Ames is going to sacrifice a virgin so a bunch of demons can roam the Earth? So what? How many demons are currently roaming the Earth? It’s like whenever the stakes get raised in this book, the story just gets duller. To drive my point home, Constantine asks his ex-girlfriend and demon Blythe for help, in exchange for a favor. And that favor? Letting her roam the Earth unfettered.
You know what? Fuck this book. Enough is enough. I think there may be a mediocre story here, but that was obliterated into total mind-numbing drudgery by the need to draw this shit out over a bound edition. At one point, the Huntress gets “permission” from John to murder the ancillary criminals that are not Margaret Ames, and I think this is supposed to be a big, watershed scene—but it reads like we’re filing our taxes. Everything looks so stiff, and beyond that the narrative has gotten away from the elements that would comprise a readable story. The big surprise ending here is that the virgin sacrificed for the rite or whatever is the Priest himself. So next issue, we’ll wrap up this whole embarrassment and never speak of it again.

Bits and Pieces:

This thing keeps dragging on, losing all sense of urgency or interest along the way. The storytelling is clear but stiff, so even action scenes seem perfunctory. Let's put this IP to bed for a while, folks, maybe dust off the old trench coat when cigarettes come back in vogue.


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