Review – The Hellblazer #15 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Jesus Merino, Carrie Strachan, Sal Cipriano
Release Date: 25th October 2017

I’m not going to lie, I expected a bit more out of this finale, but it’s one of those feelings you frequently get from reading Constantine.  There are no big battles or final showdowns, only John living off his wits and trying his best to somehow get one step ahead of his foes.

The action picks up right from where we last left off, with John arriving at the morgue in search of an ex he last heard screaming in terror down the phone. Surveying the ghastly scene he pursues the two dark dwarfs straight through the open torso of a cadaver into a gruesome world of rivers of blood and stomach acid and a bar made up of bone and internal organs.  Artist Jesus Merino is on form again. creating environments straight out of a nightmare with the same John we know and love clawing his way through them. The style matches the changes in the story, creating a brilliant flow from reality to the other world and then to the dream-like world of John’s creation.

How does John try and save the day? A wager, of course. Let him drink the evil juice which caused him to kill the young mouthy chav, but this time let’s see if he can use the power to really have some fun and not just be used as a puppet for the deluded jollies of these two dwarfs. Simple, right? Unless we factor in that changing the fabric of reality causes the entire Justice League to come after him. While only appearing briefly, it’s worth noting that Jesus does a great job with his rendition of the League to the point where they don’t feel like they’re necessarily out of place in a Constantine tale.

Writer Tim Seeley plays this well. It’s typical Constantine with yet more nods to classic Hellblazer.  Yet again we see him being given a chance to take a pop at modern day culture, this time at bands like the Rolling Stones or Public Image churning out yet another “Greatest Hits” 30 years after their heyday. It also serves as another reminder that, while John is now very much in the land of the superheroes, he doesn’t appreciate it or them. There is action going on, but we don’t fully see it as the focus of the story is squarely on John’s actions and the consequences leading up to ultimate reveal of his plan to pull one over on his devilish villains. And, in the end, yet again pushing those who care for him away for their own protection.

It’s strange, but like I said, this definitely doesn’t feel like the New 52 anymore. In this brief arc Seeley has given us a glimpse of the old John again, almost gnawing his teeth at the fact he’s part of the DCU. This is also why I can’t say it’s perfect, because it makes me miss the Vertigo Hellblazer so damn much.

Rating: 4/5.

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The writer of this piece was: Indiana “Indy” Marlow
Indy Tweets from @smokingpunkindy

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