Story: Mike Carey
Art: Marcelo Frusin
have the best idea for the 200th issue of Hellblazer.
It's going to be so awesome. There are going to be demons,
and old friends, and old enemies; some people we thought
were dead, some people who really are dead but still get
to walk around and talk because this is that kind of comic,
and some really unbelievable surprises. And of course, Constantine
will get his memory back and he'll flash that grin right
at the end, flip a silk cut into his mouth, and disappear
into the fog.
the fanboys are going to love it. All the Keanu Reeves fans
(well, there must be some out there) and all the popcorn
blockbuster set are going to come into the comic store after
seeing the movie (well, you can dream - especially since
the movie won't make it out in 2004) and the changes you
will have wrought with this climax will thrill them into
forgetting that the protagonist isn't Ted "Theodore"
Logan after all but some old English blond guy
in a tan trenchcoat.
It's going to rule. There's just one problem: the big event
is two issues away, and you only have enough buildup story
planned out for one.
what do you do? Well, on Doctor Who they used to
solve this kind of problem with time-honored padding techniques
like having the Doctor captured, possibly tortured, and
then letting him escape only to be recaptured just in time
for a cliffhanger. The result was an episode you could really
just skip; it would take only a minute or two of recap to
go straight into the next episode with barely any story
what we've got here, minus the police box and the trippy
long scarf. There's a page or two of exposition, wherein
we learn that this is a villain rejoining us from an earlier
Carey story arc (and not from the distant past, as one always
hopes until one remembers that there are probably laws against
that sort of thing), and a page or two in which Constantine
makes an apparently deus ex machina ally, and some
really cool drawings of demons 'n' devils that put your
heavy-metal-phase school notebook doodles to shame, and
pretty much the rest of it is meaningless torture and the
old running-around-only-to-be-recaptured shtick.
be so bad except that the old villain (Ghant, he of the
bone abacus and the holiday on vampire island) spends the
whole issue promising some exquisite revenge on our hero,
but when the big reveal happens, it ends up not being all
that subtle or exquisite after all.
to spoil it with speculation, but my guess is that Constantine
is being set up into a position where he is forced to call
upon Rosacarnis and accept her bargain: the return of his
self-knowledge (and attendant occult and fast-thinking faculties),
in exchange for a short stint of servitude. So we have #199
to accept the bargain, and #200 to carry it out, with what
we can only hope will be genuinely horrific and long-reaching
meantime, here are Carey and Frusin short a verse and grinning
wildly as they vamp their way to the next chorus. The vamping
is great, with some terrific layouts by Frusin and some
good one-liners from Carey, but this would be a good time
to head into the lobby for some refreshments before you
scurry back to your seat for #199 and #200.