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Story: Mike Carey
Art: Chris Brunner

It's really a shame this was the conclusion to a two-parter. There are not one but two points where even the most jaded reader of this book has got to feel that clenched-throat "what is he going to do NOW?" sensation.

The first one concerns a bargain Constantine is offered by the demoness Rosacarnis; the second a no-win dilemma imposed by Peter Gill, the psychic serial killer. It's the second one that's the gut-twister, involving Chas and his family in about as dire straits as straits get.

Oh, why be coy? They're in a hotel room with Gill, duct-taped at the ankles, wrists, and mouth. It's not pretty, but Constantine's solution is not at all out of (his pre-amnesiac) character.

What's interesting is his response to Rosacarnis's proposal, an explicit rejection of his old self. It's hard to tell whether this is to be an ongoing conflict, or just a device to make Constantine's eventual recovery of memory seem less inevitable and desirable. Certainly the fact that the issue ends with more blood on Constantine's hands suggests he is not on track to a new life as a priest working in a soup kitchen.

Really, this is the best issue of Mike Carey's run so far, and that's saying a lot with his recent winning streak. You, too, might find yourself rereading a few pages just to make sure you saw what you thought you saw.

Unfortunately, at some points you might be doing this because of Chris Brunner's art. He's given Constantine a lantern jaw and a mouth that nearly connects his ears, more like an English boxer than the magician we recognize. During a crucial scene you have to look closely to figure out who's who.



Andrew Simchik


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