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Story: Mike Carey
Art: Steve Dillon, Marcelo Frusin and Leonardo Manco

First, the good news. Hellblazer #200, the double-sized milestone issue, does what you'd imagine it set out to do. Rosacarnis makes the most of Constantine's day as her slave, setting up three new characters that should provide rich, exciting storylines for at least fifty more issues. A number of old faces make cameo appearances. And best of all, there's almost no chance the storylines to come could ever tie in with the movie.

The bad news is that it's just a setup issue. There's a little jolt with the introduction of the first character; the tease is well-crafted, a "what if John had settled down to raise a family with Kit?" scenario. It's also crisply and brightly illustrated by Steve Dillon, adding to the sense of a Garth Ennis flashback.

After that, though, the second and third parts of the story retain all the surprise value of a row of pawns being placed on a chessboard at the start of a game. The sequences have their interesting moments, but by this point we know what's going on, and we know better than to care.

It's unclear how Rosacarnis does what she does with only one day -- how she divided the time, and given the supernatural nature of what happens, what significance the time period has at all. But hey -- it's magic, who needs logic?

This is a pivotal issue in Hellblazer history, but its value as independent narrative doesn't stretch beyond that. It makes cursory gestures at what has come before, but its gaze is focused squarely on the character development and hellraising to come.


Andrew Simchik


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