Review-a-day: Hellblazer #1

Posted: October 18, 2014 in Review-a-day
Tags: , , , , , ,

Hellblazer1

With the series premiere of NBC’s Constantine just six days away, it’s high time I took a trip back to 1988 and check out the first arc of Hellblazer, for the very first time. John Constantine is a character for which most of my familiarity comes from DC’s “New 52” comics. Undoubtedly there is a huge difference between the 1980’s DC Universe and 2013’s post-reboot DC Universe.

The first thing I need to talk about because it hit me almost immediately upon starting to read this double-sized issue, is the narrative. From page one the narrative in Hellblazer feels completely different from any comic I have read in recent memory. The best way that I can describe it is that it reads like a novel, yet without presenting large blocks of text to the reader. I can’t put my finger on exactly how Jamie Delano managed that, but it was certainly a feeling i enjoyed while reading it. Now let’s talk about John Constantine himself. It’s a bit of a strange thing to say about a character who in the aforementioned narrative refers to himself as a bastard, but in this one issue I can already see how he has become the iconic and beloved character he has over the past 26 years. As this insane and twisted situation slowly forms around him and overtakes what’s going on in his life, seeing how he is reluctantly and even begrudgingly pulled into it is a beautiful thing. Even more so watching how he stays more or less calm throughout, only breaking for a moment when he is confronted by the ghost of a dead love. And then there’s Papa Midnite. even more than Constantine himself, this is a character I’m not familiar with. I know mostly by reputation only as a significant character in Constantine and DC magic lore (I think he’s appeared once in The New 52, though honestly I’ve dropped almost all DC’s current magic books at this point). All I want to say about him, is that it is infinitely impressive, all the credit in the world to Jamie Delano, John Ridgway and Lovern Kindzierski, how intimidating the character manages to come off while dressed in a grass skirt, tailcoat and top hat. He should be completely laughable on the level of any Z-list DC villain, but he’s not.

It’s no surprise to me considering how much friends of mine have talked up the series, but this was a very strong debut issue. Even if I weren’t planning on covering the entirety of the books first arc surrounding the Constantine premiere, I would (as I am) be excited to jump into the rest of this series. I want to know more about Emma’s death. I want to see how things develop with her and Constantine now that she’s a ghost. I want see what comes of papa Midnite’s conversation with Gary Lester. I am really looking forward to what this series has to come.

Hellblazer1_capture

Score: 9.0

Written By: Jamie Delano
Art By: John Ridgway and Lovern Kindzierski
Letters By: Annie Halfacree
Price: $0.99 (on ComiXology)

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