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.
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
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.