Review – The Hellblazer #23 (DC Comics)

Publisher: DC Comics
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artwork: Davide Fabbri (pencils), Christian Dalla Vecchia (inks), Carrie Strachan (colours)
Lettering: Sal Cipriano
Release Date: 27th June 2018

I truly am going to miss Constantine. Since reading the last issue it came to my attention that Tim Seeley was brought on to end the current run, a discovery which helped all the recent story lines make a lot more sense.

Seeley is closing shop for Hellblazer fans, tying up as many loose ends as possible, including with slight nods and flashbacks, before turning off all the lights on his way out.  It’s a bloody shame because, as I kept saying, it really felt like John was finally finding his footing with the rest of the DC crowd. Now he’s thrown back into limbo waiting for a random Batman cameo in a few months’ time, or clinging on to the vain hope that the resurgence of Vertigo Comics will bring him back to life.

But back to this issue, which picks up where we left off with the return of Nergal to the mortal world along with a heap of beautifully grotesque nightmarish demons (I again say hats off to getting this into a mainstream comic release). The Day Brothers have returned and brought hell itself with them to possess the old-school gangsters of London. And with Nergal at the helm, they mean to take control of London in a way the East End Firms never could, gutting and burning their way through the population of the capital. But don’t worry, John and Huntress are on the case, fighting the hell spawn with the ferocity of a Vatican-sent Bat Family member and the wit and cunning of a scouse mage.

This arc has shown just what team ups can be when done right. Not just a lazy way to sell comics, but a way to give fans a new insight into characters in the universe they might not have explored. I’ll admit that I always wrote Huntress off as one of the many carbon copies of Robin or Batgirl, but we get to see her true self here with her flaming arrows of device justice and tendency to monologue while dealing said justice.

The rest of the cast get their own time to shine in this issue too, all showing their true colours in unique and surprising ways. Seeley brings you up to the point you expected before pulling the rug from under you just at the last minute. Some might feel cheated by but if you’ve been following since his reintroduction into the DC universe, this moment will make total and satisfactory sense for John.

I’m going to be bloody sad to see this series end next issue, especially since it feels like such a great full-circle way to tie up John’s progression over the last few years, from head of the Justice League Dark to romantic New York interludes and now struggling to find his roots in his home town where the devils have come to roost.

Rating: 3.5/5


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

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