writer: Mike Carey
artist: Doug Alexander
I must admit it's been a while since I've
been able to care about Hellblazer continuity. It's
a boring position to take, but I don't think the book's had
any real heart to speak of
since the end of Garth Ennis's run years and years ago.
When Brian Azzarello took over the helm for
a while, I got hooked again, but it was a different Constantine,
a mystery man, a gambler, outgrinning the Joker. Azzarello
wrote him some gripping plots, but I never worried about Constantine
or wondered how he'd pull out of this one and what it would
cost him this time.
Carey took over, it felt like he was just going to put some
Paul Jenkins porridge (overly familiar mythologies and friends
we don't care about) on the Azzarello hard-boil and stir until
lukewarm, but with issue 187, the start of a new
two-parter, we're beginning to scent a bit of the real and
sinister darkness Jamie Delano kicked
off the series with when John Constantine first went "solo."
this impression that the story reunites us with Constantine's
niece Gemma, who's rousted from a flophouse by the cops and
bailed out by Ghant, an old and ruthless associate of her
with these scenes is our introduction to Gruinard Island,
the site of an ill-fated
earlier expedition shared by John and Ghant, also the home
of a trio of unusually hungry
young teenagers and some foreshadowing about dinner. It's
hard to tell where the past ends and the present begins, what
with the shadowy and blunt-edged artwork of Doug Alexander,
but this is in part the point as yet again Constantine's past
appears poised to catch up with him or his loved ones.
be nice to feel that we are leading up to something big, a
major story arc that brings Carey's hints of something-wicked-this-way-coming
to fruition, but so far this is only the appetizer.
the flavor is right even if it's not yet hot enough to eat.