CONSTANTINE THE HELLBLAZER #7 [Review]

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CONSTANTINE THE HELLBLAZER #7/ Written by MING DOYLE & JAMES TYNION IV/ Finishes and Cover by RILEY ROSSMO/ Breakdowns by BRIAN LEVEL/ Colors by IVAN PLASCENCIA / Letters by TOM NAPOLITANO/ Published by DC COMICS

John Constantine is free of the the ghosts that haunt him.

Well, the literal ghosts, anyway.

John’s heart is still weighed down by the memories of all the friends and lovers who got killed by their association with him. Particularly Veronica – the first love John dragged with him into the world of magic who was transformed into… something else. His latest adventure saw her put to rest and left John in need of a distraction.

Oliver – a big bear of a chef that John met recently – proved most accommodating in that regard. And last night was wonderful. But now it’s the morning after and John’s already wondering how to best get the innocent and likable Oliver out of his life before the weirdness comes back.

Naturally, it doesn’t wait until after breakfast.

Alec Holland – the plant elemental and guardian of nature known as the Swamp Thing – emerges from John’s shower to inform John of a disaster requiring his attention. Something is keeping The Swamp Thing from being able to feel the plant life in Central Park and Holland has learned of police reports involving dead bodies ripped to shreds among the greenery and one woman who claimed the trees killed her boyfriend.

It’s about the last thing John wants to deal with right now but it does give him an excuse to get away from Oliver for a bit. And he and Swamp Thing DO have a history together. It’s an almost entirely negative history built around mutual exploitation, but for John that’s about the closest thing to honest friendship he can manage these days.

Besides, someone has to deal with these things and if not John Bloody Constantine, who?

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At first I didn’t like Riley Rossmo’s art on Constantine: The Hellblazer. I found it far too stylized and cartoonish, using designs that made for great monsters but odd-looking humans. John’s hair – seemingly inspired by Astro Boy – was perhaps the biggest sticking-point. No pun intended. But after a few months, Rossmo’s work has grown on me and I’ve come to appreciate it.  That said, I still find the colors by Ivan Plascencia to be a bit off-the-mark. The bright greens used for Swamp Thing, for instance, leaving him looking like he’s made of slime rather than plants.

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As per usual, Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV spin a most enjoyable tale. It’s always a hoot when John and Swamp Thing are forced together and this issue does a great job of acknowledging the characters’ shared history without needing to recap Alan Moore’s greatest hits. Despite the nods, this issue is easily accessible to new readers and a good jumping-on issue for those who haven’t given this series a shot yet.

Rating 4

About Matt Morrison

Matt "Starman" Morrison is The Grand Exalted High Macha of Raspur - a non-existent but real-sounding country. He has been writing about comics since before the word "blogging" was coined. He enjoys acting, role-playing, movie-riffing and sarcasm. You can follow his adventures on Twitter, @GeekyGeekyWays.

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