Hellblazer lights up more fun for Constantine
I never read an issue of Hellblazer. John Constantine seemed like a cool enough character. I even liked the Keanu Reeves movie, but reading his exploits never became a priority. After watching the TV series I became a huge fan of Constantine. For latecomers to the source material, Hellblazer Rebirth is a good primer on what to expect from his comic.
Cursed with a spell that will kill him if he stays in London, Constantine finds a new home in the United States. Writer Simon Oliver uses a funny topical excuse to bring Constantine back to London. There he literally has to fight his old demons with the help of his buddy Chas.
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Fans of the TV show will find Hellblazer a very easy to follow read. Oliver approached the Rebirth issue smartly. Instead of using that as the first issue in a bigger continuous arc he crafts it as a sampler. There’s some out of the public eye threats to humanity and only a chain-smoking wisea$$ can handle it. Oliver has a certain confidence in his writing and character so he doesn’t feel obligated to bait the reader with a cliffhanger. The issue’s final line seems to embody Oliver’s approach.
There’s some reference to Constantine’s deal with Swamp Thing that was hinted about in DC Rebirth. Two main Justice League characters make a cameo to follow-up on this potential bad tidings. Swamp Thing or Zatanna are probably as far into crossovers with other DC heroes the title needs. Hellblazer doesn’t need Superman or Batman randomly showing up to help boost sales so hopefully this was a rarity.
Moritat’s art style probably wouldn’t work on more action demanding titles, but it fits the Constantine tone just fine. There’s no gimmicky panel arrangements or big splash pages — Hellblazer looks like a throwback comic in that sense.
Hellblazer might not be the week’s biggest surprise or must-read title in the Rebirth banner. It’s solidly entertaining and fills a very specific character void that’d been missing in DC Comics.
Rating: 7.5 out of 10
Images Credit: DC Comics