Review: Constantine: The Hellblazer #2

Story:

“Somebody is killing the only friends John has: the ghosts that haunt him! How can you kill what’s already dead? John is going to find out and make this adversary pay!”
Read more about this issue on Goodreads.

Constantine: The Hellblazer #2

Review:

I love it when magic and the occult are on the edge of society as feelings and actions you can’t explain and don’t want to delve too deeply into because you’re scared of what you might find. And I love it when you have that character who understands and jumps in anyway. Walks among the monsters. It’s all so creepy and I love it.

This issue we get some of the rules explained and they seem like pretty obvious stuff but you can’t take anything for granted when it comes to fantasy universes. So ghosts are echoes of the people who died and so they themselves as echoes can’t die. And this gets explained in a very entertaining way as the ghosts flee as a way of showing how much they trust Constantine (if they’re haunting him I guess he’s the one that got them killed or who they blame for it at least).

So he decides to force the issue and travels around the city collecting objects of power and walking through haunted places picking up a trail of ghosts as he goes. It’s a series of pages with very minimal dialogue. His narration tells the story of the people who died in these places and it’s genuinely creepy. The house at the beginning that he calls a thin place gives me shivers.

Gary who seems to be the main ghost that haunts him continually tells him that he should stop and it’s a bad idea. But Constantine is so confident by the end of his power and ghost collecting that you’re confident with him. The heroes always win and he won pretty effortlessly last issue. But there’s still that little bit of unease because the ghosts are scared of something. It makes what happens all the more powerful. And even if ghosts aren’t the actual person who died (as he insists) and only echoes they’ve still been with him for years.

The cover is again a symbol of what you’re getting inside which is always my favourite way they do covers. I never like art pulled straight from the panels. I always like it a little bit more symbolic.

This is such a good issue that I might buy it digitally so I can read it again and again without damaging my physical copy. I love how the magic works and the thin places and the horror of everything. The creepy characters he meets and his narration. It all works for me. I can’t think of a criticism. It sparks my imagination and that’s the best praise I can give it. I want to tell stories this good.

Rating: 10 out of 10

Previous: Constantine: The Hellblazer #1                                                     Next: Constantine: The Hellblazer #3

Review: Constantine: The Hellblazer #1

Story:

“The dark adventures of DC’s foremost occult detective continue in an all-new series as he investigates the cruelest case he’s ever come across—his own dark history!”

Read more about it on Goodreads.

Constantine: The Hellblazer #1

Review:

This is the first Constantine story I’ve ever read. The only things I know about the character are from that awful movie they made a few years ago and his appearance in The Sandman. I never got around to watching the TV show but I might have if they hadn’t decided to be bi-phobic and make the character straight.

So I know next to nothing about the character or the DC universe in general. I’ve only just started to read super hero comics other than Marvel because of their continued commitment to lie about diversifying their range and then remaining the same. At the moment DC is doing a lot better than Marvel but they can still do better.

I think this is quite a good jumping on point for new readers. I’ve read a few fist issues that had no business being called first issues but this isn’t that. I might not know entirely what’s going on but I don’t feel like I’m reading half a story. This feels like a beginning of something. And it’s a good beginning.

He appears covered in blood in a shop and has to use his magic to get a woman to not call the police and instead clothe him. Then he starts talking to a ghost and in the next few pages more appear and he tells them all to “sod off”. And I’m hooked. I want to know more about this character and this series is about exploring his dark past. I don’t know if I’ll read other runs between issues or just let the series tell the story with no research on my part. Probably the latter.

I really like the art and it suits the story very well. It’s the same as the cover which is Constantine stood alone in a dark alley somewhere. There are a few details that I didn’t notice at first and I enjoy art that does that.

There’s a lot of moral ambiguity in this comic and he even has the ghost calling him on it. He’s not a nice person but he is likable.

He’s also bisexual which is the one thing I did know about the character and the reason I decided to try the book. I want to read more genre stories with queer heroes.

His bisexuality gets explored here. Thankfully it’s not just implied. I hate it when they do that, as if that’s good enough. In one scene he flirts with a man and then goes to have sex with a woman. She’s some sort of demon called Blythe that needs his help. I love the page showing the nine levels of Inferno and the conversation they have as they descend to the bottom level.

There’s so much I love about this comic. He also has a ghostly entourage that only shows up when something’s about to go terribly wrong and it turns out it’s not Blythe that’s the trouble. His narration is entertaining and the last line is a good cliffhanger. I will definitely be reading the next issue.

And I now have a another favourite comic book character. I don’t think he’s really a super hero despite being part of the DC universe. He mentions super heroes but says he works in the shadows. Great first issue and I recommend it to anyone who likes dark fantasy.

Rating: 8 out of 10

Next Constantine: The Hellblazer #2