Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Review: CONSTANTINE: The Hellblazer #13


[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

WRITERS: Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV
ARTIST: Eryk Donovan
COLORS: Kelly Fitzpatrick
LETTERS: Tom Napolitano
COVER: Riley Rossmo
40pp, Color, $2.99 U.S. (August 2016)

Rated “T+” for “Older Teen”

John Constantine created by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, and John Totleben and Jamie Delano & John Ridgway


The original John Constantine comic book series, Hellblazer, ran for 300 issues.  Then, DC Comics folded Constantine into the mainstream DC Universe with The New 52, and started a new series, simply entitled Constantine.  Our favorite comic book occult detective, magus, con man and troubleshooter was not the same.

Last summer, DC Comics launched the publishing initiative/event known as “DCYou.”  One of the new series that came out of that was the third John Constantine comic book, Constantine: The Hellblazer, which was written by Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV, drawn by Riley Rossmo, colored by Ivan Plascensia, and lettered by Tom Napolitano.

Constantine: The Hellblazer was a good thing, as it found John getting back to his old self, albeit in a new city, New York City.  Now, with DC in the midst of a new initiative, entitled “Rebirth,” we will see John Constantine in his fourth comic book series, The Hellblazer.  I am kind of disappointed (and I was not impressed with The Hellblazer: Rebirth one-shot).  Constantine: The Hellblazer is still good, and stayed good even after series artist, Riley Rossmo, moved on, although he continued providing lovely cover art for this series

We say goodbye with Constantine: The Hellblazer #13 (“Worthless”).  The Donald Trump-esque demon, Lord Neron, and his partners, Papa Midnight and Blythe (a demoness), have Constantine in a bad position.  He cannot break his contract with them, or can he?  You can't keep a good/bad magus down.  This time, however, John will win one of his most hollow victories.

Ah!  What a delightful run.  I think that Constantine: The Hellblazer is an imaginative dark fantasy comic book, one of DC Comics' best recent efforts in this vein.  This series is a fresh take on a character, John Constantine, that occasionally needs an injection of lemony fresh.  The ending of this issue is chilling and heartbreaking.

Through no fault of its own, Constantine: The Hellblazer is connected to sour reboot, Constantine, The New 52 effort to bring Constantine back into the DC Universe proper.  I would not be surprised if Constantine: The Hellblazer ends up being the last sustained run of quality John Constantine comic books for a few years.  I hope I'm wrong, but I think I'm right...


Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

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