writer: Mike Carey
artist: Marcelo Frusin
on in the adequately thrilling conclusion to the "Staring
at the Wall" storyline, the Beast Who Would Not Be Named
tells Constantine, "I think you're desperate trying to
scare me with smoke and mirrors. Hoping I'll think you've
got a plan, when all you've really got is an attitude."
this is Constantine's usual modus operandi -- the Beast is
clearly not the sharpest point on the pitchfork if he is only
now figuring this out. But if you don't think carefully about
the ending, you might assume the same applies to this story's
action mostly consists of one desperate ploy after another.
Spatchcock shows up and revives Swamp Thing. Swamp Thing gets
a temporary costume makeover and throws his weight around
in a pointless (though kinda cool if, like me, you figure
Swamp Thing would still be cool in an apron baking sugar cookies)
attack on the Beast's lair.
a third of the way through this issue there's an ad for the
new Swamp Thing series, which I guess explains why his role
in the story seems mainly, as he bitterly puts it, to be robbed
of "something which I did not need." The theft of
that "something" is enough to make me want to check
out his new series. But it's really just a diversion.
idea" here, as we used to say in grade school, is that
the collective unconscious of mankind may be the source of
evil, but also of the shield against that evil. It's the thematic
element this story needed to make it worthwhile, but it was
nearly buried under the massive supporting cast, the occult
mumbo-jumbo, and the red herrings.
have been nice to see more of a balance. Constantine and company
saved the whole of humanity here, but those in distress usually
appeared only in shadowy crowds. More specificity would have
given us a better sense of what was at stake. Carey loves
writing superheroes -- magicians, elementals, demons, fallen
angels -- but the stories would have more emotional impact
if we got personal with the ordinary human characters who
don't have access to, say, tree branches from the Garden of
Eden. Dangerous situations develop for our protagonists, but
they don't feel dangerous so much as think dangerous.
room for more felt danger in the next storyline, maybe, foreshadowed
by a dazed Constantine waking up on the last page to discover
he's lost more than just blood over the course of this crisis.
good setup for a more interior storyline, and if Carey has
a good plan for it instead of just an attitude, he might finally
bring back some dimension to Constantine's character that's
been sorely missed.