Review-a-day: Hellblazer #5

Posted: October 28, 2014 in Review-a-day
Tags: , , , , , ,


It’s time again for another very uncomfortable journey through the world of Hellblazer. It’s uncomfortable for different reason than last issue, but what more could really be expected but discomfort when you through a smattering of the Vietnam War into things. Good things rarely follow when ‘Nam is added to these things.

I’m not actually sure that it’s the story elements revolving around Vietnam were the biggest source of my discomfort in reading this issue. I think that distinction goes to Constantine himself who is for the most part a passive observer of everything that happens in this issue, just standing idly by while terrible things happen right in front of him, either unable or unwilling to even try and help. It’s instances such as this that have earned the character the name bastard over the years. So, how exactly does Vietnam factor into a story set roughly twenty years after that particular war? Well, the story focuses on Liberty, Iowa, as Constantine refers to it “a twentieth-century ghost town” who lost many of its sons in ‘Nam and the one son that came home. Watching the events unfold in this issue, both in flashbacks to the war and the events in present-day Liberty (which acts as a mirror almost to happened happened in the war), manages to still be enthralling while being incredibly painful and unsettling to read. With rape, murder, obsessed townsfolk, religious fanatics and a next to useless protagonist, this issue is pretty much a (to use a bit of an overused term) perfect storm when it comes to crafting discomfort. Credit has to be given to Jamie Delano, whose almost poetic narrative makes the story readable (it easily could have gone the other way).

I may have gotten ahead of myself in talking about last issue and the impending conflict between the Resurrection Crusaders and the Damnation Army, but with the Crusaders having a heavy hand in the events of this issue the conflict between that faction and Constantine would seem to be just around the corner. It should be a lot of fun, at least when it isn’t being highly disturbing.


Score: 8.5

Written By: Jamie Delano
Art By: John Ridgway and Lovern Kindzierski
Letters By: Todd Klein
Price: $1.99 (on ComiXology)


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