Monday, 10 November 2008



Fleeing from yet another colossal shitstorm, John Constantine falls in with a commune of back-to-nature mystics in Thatcher's England. Like a lot of Jamie Delano's Hellblazer run, it gets a bit over-written at times, and a lot of the layouts are pretty confusing, as if Mark Buckingham hasn't quite figured out how to master the sequential bit of comics art yet. The story itself is pretty cool, even if it dwells a bit too long on pagan revivalist rituals in Scotland. There's a rather cool engine of horror, so to speak, at the heart of the story that would work even without the social trappings. Much else in the story is a product of its time, which is fair enough, as it was written as a political and social satire - as much of Delano's run was. I think the series lost a lot of British-ness at later points, but on the other hand it did so under some very capable writers, so there's your classic half-full, half-empty comicbook fandom quandary.

The main part of this tpb is given over to Constantine's discovery of a serial killer called The Family Man, and his pursuit of the killer in vengeance for his father's death. There are other odds and ends fitted in, possibly to make volume, which I seem to remember being chucked in at the end of one of the other tpbs as well, so it isn't the most cohesive collection around. Still, it's good to see the whole of the Delano run finally being reprinted - a few years back Hellblazer fans were convinced this would never happen.

Again, there's some good stuff (Constantine senior calling his son a 'cheap, flashy little crook'), some suitably creepy stuff, a bit of overwriting and odds and ends of social satire (including a rather more benign take on soccer fandom, which shows up to much more sinister effect in Son Of Man, I think). As Constantine himself says, he's used to dealing with demons - humans are a bit different, so it's a nice touch seeing Johnny boy grappling with a non-supernatural demon for once, although I find the whole treatment of the serial killer psyche rather by-the-numbers and trite.

1 comment:

reeferjournal said...

Oh man, I thought The Fear Machine was a bit all over the place and totally agree with you on the confusing layouts bit. It got so irritating I felt like skipping those pages.

Anyway, in other news, Great Indian Rock turned out to be Great Indian Bore.