Reviews

Comic Review – Constantine The Hellblazer #1

  • Writers: Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV
  • Art: Riley Rossmo
  • Colors: Ivan Plascensia
  • Letters: Tom Napolitano
  • Publisher: DC Comics
  • Release Date: 6/10/15

Constantine the Hellblazer #1 coverJohn Constantine is back in a brand new series that also returns his old Hellblazer moniker. After leading the Justice League Dark and headlining his own series under the New 52 banner, it’s time for Constantine to go back into the far darker corners of the DC Universe and away from heroes for a while. Here is a title that straddles the line between mainstream DC and his former Vertigo home. So, is everyone’s magical con man able to pull off a strong start, or is it a spell gone bad?

Our story begins with a traditional start of the day (or night) for John Constantine: naked and covered in blood. One bit of magical trickery later, and he is dressed and walking the streets of New York, taking note of his ghostly entourage of friends and foes that he failed to save, including fan favorite Gary Lester, who is trying to tell him something important. While stopping for a bite to eat (and flirting with the male proprietor, this is a Constantine that is openly bisexual), an old demon flame comes calling in need of some assistance with a banishing. Is this a real plea for help, or is there a trick involved. If so, best not piss off John Constantine….

Doyle and Tynion have given us a more classical Constantine than seen previously in the DC Universe. He’s a bit more crass and sexual, and he has his famous entourage of ghosts following him. He’s still tricking humans and demons alike, while handling himself quite handily against his opponents. Gary Lester here acts a bit as John’s conscience, and the thing he is trying to warn John about helps set up the plot for the next arc. It’s also interesting to see John be more open about his bisexuality in a mainstream DC comic, though his flirting gets a bit much after a period. Blythe, his demon contact, is a match for him in deviousness and cunning, not to mention having a crass sense of humor. This is a very wordy issue, which might put some people off; but it is an issue full of magic, humor, and action.

 

Rossmo brings an indie sensibility to the book with a bit of a punk edge. His John is a handsome rake, whose cunning can be seen in every panel. Blythe is depicted as a Kabuki geisha in modern day SOHO, and gives her a cheeky aspect. The demons are unique and monsterous. Rossmo also provides a two page spread through a funhouse that has the reader hold vertically, in a tribute to Dante’s nine layers of hell with plenty of details. The slight drawback here is that John looks a bit too clean cut in some images. Plascensia provides a surprisingly vivid color scheme to the book that complements the pencils.

For fans of Newcastle’s most infamous magician/con man, this book is a treat. It is perfect for long time Hellblazers, new Constantine fans, or those who loved the (doomed before its time) TV series. John Constantine is back, he’s a bastard, and we can’t help but watch him do his thing.


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About the author

Daniel Kalban

Daniel is the writer of The Eagle webcomic and aspires to one day join his favorite writers at the Big 2. Until then, he keeps plugging away at various projects, as well as serving as a reporter for Word of the Nerd on various subjects, especially the DC Comics "beat".

Contact him at danielk@wordofthenerdonline.com

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