Review – The Hellblazer #22 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artwork: Davide Fabbri (pencils), Christian Dalla Vecchia (inks), Carrie Strachan (colours)
Lettering: Sal Cipriano
Release Date: 23rd May 2018

This issue continues the trend of going back to the good ol’ days both for readers and characters alike.   In the first few pages we’re gifted with Nergal explaining his plans to not only kill John and exact his revenge, but to take everything he’s ever loved away from him in the process.

It’s not merely a Bond villain-esque plot reveal however, as it also provides us with a glimpse of this John’s past exploits which wonderfully call back to events from classic Vertigo issues. This takes just a few panels but to me it’s hugely important that those stories I thought lost to the fire of DC’s reinvention of Constantine are now acknowledged as part of the canon, particularly as they add so much more depth to John as a character.   Now it seems that he really does have a past, and not just the Justice League Dark stint or his frequently confusing pre-Rebirth arc.

At the same time, and in spite of this impressive expansion of the character, it’s still a bloody good story to read. While we start to see Nergal’s plan with the gangster brothers of old unfurl, we also follow John, still bleeding from an arrow wound, on the trail of the devils with Huntress. Oh, and doing so while still being pursued by the gang of youths who John temporarily gave the slip last issue. There are some nice heartfelt moments in the panels too, both for Huntress and, surprisingly, for a vampire seeking salvation.

The art is still top notch, with wonderfully dark scenes and black tones accentuating the vicious gore. Nergal and the rest of the old school demons are faithfully recreated with their own unique spin to fit into the style of this new universe they find themselves a part of. All of this comes together to give me the feeling that I’m reading a classic Ennis Hellblazer tale. The mix of London, gangsters and monsters fits like a glove for Constantine and I can tell that this tale is ramping up to a great finale.

Rating: 4/5.


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

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