- Written by: Tom Taylor
- Art by: Darick Robertson
- Colours by: Diego Rodriguez
- Letterer: Deron Bennett
- Cover by: Darick Robertson & Diego Rodriguez
- Variant Cover by: Lee Bermejo
So back in September of 2020 I reviewed issue one of this new Hellblazer mini-series from DC Black Label which you can read here or you can stick around here because I’m going to be reviewing the story as a whole, since I now own the collected edition of the mini-series thanks to James Stone a.k.a The Caffeinated Critique who you can follow and read his stuff by following this link here: https://caffeinatedcritique.com/
So, not much has changed since the first time I reviewed a HellBlazer book, as I never got round to reading any more from this side of the DC Universe but trust me when I say, after this book, I am more eager than ever.
John Constantine, born in Liverpool, England and from a young age he has lived with the feeling of guilt due to his father blaming a young John for his mother’s death, since she died after giving birth to John. Young John Constantine was, and remains to be, someone surrounded by trouble wherever he goes, and it all started when he accidentally gets his childhood friend killed by the riverside, whilst trying to show off some magic trick using candles and an old book. Little did he realise what else he had brought upon the world that night besides a parents grief for their young son.
Later down the years, John meets up with an old friend who was also their that night, now Detective Bukhari, but known to her friends, such as John, as Aisha. Mrs. Bukhari and her Partner were investigating naked angels seemingly falling out of the sky to their deaths, John intervenes by re-introducing himself back into Aisha’s life after over a decade, and together they discover the reason behind the deaths and unearth their dark past from that night by the river. However, nothing is ever so simple when John Constantine is involved, so get ready for a story that involves death, the devil and demon possession which, accompanied by the art, is genuinely terrifying to look at.
Darick Robertson’s art in this book is brilliant with his clear line work, accompanied by excellent colouring by Diego Rodriguez to make each page and panel stand out. The designs for the characters ensure that (from what I know) you can recognise who they are if you have seen them in a previous story.
The way the characters are drawn, especially for close ups, you can tell their exact expressions which brings the characters and the story to life, as you can sense their shock, their confusion , their horror and whatever else they feel throughout the story. The line work also highlights and brings out facial features which sometimes make the character look a lot less pretty than they look in other comics and portrayals.
More than that, Rodriguez’s colour scheme, whilst a little dull to fit the tone of the plot, is still rather eye catching and fits the landscapes of the panels extremely well, giving you the correct sense of the atmosphere in each panel and scenario. The city is mostly filled with greyish blue’s and yellow lights, whilst there are scenes of Hellscapes to portray visionary story telling involving hell as well as demons and the devil.
Tom Taylor, known for his work on other best-selling stories in the DC Universe such as; the DCeased series, Injustice: Gods Among Us series, and the 2019-2020 run of Suicide Squad to name a few, is by far one of my favourite writers for his in depth character diving and twisted story telling that always leaves the reader wanting more. He made us love Superman being a villain in the Injustice series and broke our hearts as he showed no mercy in killing off any and almost all heroes in DCeased, so it’s no wonder he was chosen to write a story about the highly troubled and guilt filled John Constantine.
Guilt is the main theme of the story and is portrayed through more than just John. Even Lucifer himself feels guilt in this story and you can tell by reading it that whilst somewhat humorous, it is also genuine, which says a lot about both Tom’s writing and John’s effect on other characters in his universe.
Oh and with the Character of John Constantine being British, it was great to see the hilarious use of British language whether it’s calling someone a “bellend” (calling them a Dick basically), telling the devil to get “munted” (to get drunk) or referring to police as “coppers” (Copper meaning “someone who captures”, used as a name for Police since the early 1700’s), it was great to read story where I actually understand the slang terms because I too am from England, and a lot of the comics I read, especially from the big two companies, DC and Marvel, are American, so I don’t always understand the slang they use for some of their characters.
Accompanied with the magnificent art by Robertson and colours by Rodriguez, the story Tom tells is amplified into your mind as you go on this journey that involves a demon, a Ghost, a magician, a detective, and the Devil.
Demons, the Devil and Dark Magic, this book was right up my street and I honestly do want to delver deeper into the world of John Constantine, whether it be through his solo series of HellBlazer or with his team of misfits in the Justice League Dark series, I love all of the supernatural stuff and it makes a nice change from the usual caped crusaders.
John is a great character who can shock and surprise you at any moment (or at least, he can if you don’t know him well enough) and with his many charming characteristics on display in this book, including the brilliant portrayal of John’s sexuality, there is definitely something for everyone in this book, and it is a great place to start if you’re new to HellBlazer and want to slowly work your way into the universe.