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Review – The Hellblazer #20 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artists: Davide Fabbri, Christian Dalla Vecchia, Carrie Strachan, Sal Cipriano
Release Date: 28th March 2018


What better way to start an issue than to have a semi-naked possessed police inspector dancing on a crucifix, on the roof of a church, in broad daylight? It may sound surreal but hey, that’s Hellblazer for you.

Last issue we discovered that John’s ex had been possessed by the dead brother of a trio of former gangsters intent on taking back their old hold of London by any means necessary, supernatural or otherwise.  And, yet again, John is stuck in the middle trying to inadvertently save the day by putting his own desires first.

What I particularly like about the current run is the way it manages to mix different genres together whilst reaffirming the overall continuity from the New 52 onwards. Over the last few years DC have taken a fair few stabs at trying to get the character of John Constantine right; one minute he was the PG-rated superhero in charge of Justice League Dark, (which I hear won’t have John in it when it returns in June, something I’m incredibly glad about because it means he’s sticking solo), then the younger-looking almost hipster in New York, but since his return to London he’s retreated from the light side of spandex antics. However, this latest issue shows that those periods are still important and have repercussions of their own, much like bigger events like Newcastle or mucous membrane.

One of the demons he mucked about in the “Constantine: The Hellblazer” arc gets summoned to help him track down who has possessed his ex. It turns out she didn’t take to kindly to it and has grassed him up to heaven. So enter the avenging angel Huntress tracking down John’s ex by beating her way through London. While this is going on, the ex is using her police connections to rebuild her empire and John is tracing his steps through memory lane in order to find her. It’s a quick issue with a lot going on, which made it feel slightly rushed, but the different stories gel well in the end.

Like I said before, this series has a strange sense of different genres shifting back and forth. You have the gumshoe supernatural feel of John while the police and gang element of London reminded me of shows like Luther or Anna Friel’s Marcella. And, with the addition of Huntress we have a solid grounding in the larger DCU, and a nice little reminder it’s all happening in the same world. It shouldn’t really work but it does somehow, and after the climax of this issue the only way is up with more action and insight into John certain to follow.

Rating: 4/5.


[PREVIEW ARTWORK]


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


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