John Constantine, Hellblazer #2 – Simon Spurrier, Writer; Aaron Campbell, Artist; Jordie Bellaire, Colorist
Ray – 8/10
Ray: Simon Spurrier has introduced John Constantine back to the Vertigo world – or at least its heir over at Black Label – and sent him around the universe’s books, but in Hellblazer #2, Constantine is back in the muck of a corrupted London.
When we last left off, John had been pulled into a mystery including a mute teenager and a mysterious scarred gang sorcerer, and the first few pages of this series are wonderfully surreal. The art by Aaron Campbell is excellent at simulating drug-addled hazes and the hallucinations that come with them, and you can feel the dirt and grime coming off every panel of this book. When Constantine pulls off another narrow escape, he retreats to a dingy London pub where he commiserates with an unlikely ally in the form of the attractive bartender he encountered last issue. Spurrier is slowly filling out Constantine’s supporting cast, but we all know things rarely end well for those people.
One change Spurrier’s made from the original Hellblazer run is that Constantine’s world is a lot more diverse – much like London today. There’s an amusing segment where Constantine tries to pull an off-color joke on a Sikh policeman and nearly gets run in.
Constantine’s fusion of the old-school and new-school leads to a great horror segment involving an ancient fallen angel trapped in a cell phone, gifted to Constantine by Tim Hunter and packing some of the most horrific visuals of the series. The inventive horror in this series drives much of the plot, and the story can be a little murky and grim at points. But there’s no question Spurrier knows Constantine inside and out.
The combination of guile and disgust at what his beloved London has become keeps us grounded in Constantine’s head, even as we find ourself puzzled by what his next move is going to be.
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Disclaimer: GeekDad received this comic for review purposes.