JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER #1 & MORE! [Review]

Books Of Magic #14 CoverBOOKS OF MAGIC #14/ Script by KAT HOWARD & SIMON SPURRIER/ Layouts by TOM FOWLER/ Finishes by CRAIG TAILLEFER/ Colors by JORDAN BOYD/ Letters by TODD KLEIN/ Published by DC BLACK LABEL

Review by MATT MORRISON

John Constantine is back and the con-man magus who once guided Tim Hunter into the world of magic has a test for the young mage who may save or damn the world. But this Constantine has seen the world fall to the corrupted Tim Hunter and is untrustworthy at the best of times. Will John try to kill Tim just to be safe? Can he pull it off if he tries? And will the world survive the attempt in any case?

Kat Howard and Simon Spurrier join forces to spin an interesting issue that twists and turns between John Constantine’s perspective and that of Tim Hunter. Both stories are drawn by Tom Fowler, but look drastically different thanks to Craig Taillefer’s finishes and Jordan Boyd’s colors. If you’ve never read a John Constantine or Tim Hunter comic before, this is a surprisingly accessible one and a solid issue of this series for the long-time fans.

5-5

 

Detective Comics #1016 CoverDETECTIVE COMICS #1016/ Script by PETER J. TOMASI/ Pencils by DOUG MAHNKE & TYLER KIRKHAM/ Inks by CHRISTIAN ALAMY, KEITH CHAMPAGNE, MARK IRWIN & TYLER KIRKHAM/ Colors by DAVID BARON/ Letters by ROB LEIGH/ Published by DC COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

With Nora Fries’ mind damaged by the process Lex Luthor developed to save her life, Victor Fries forms an unlikely alliance with Batman to save Gotham from the woman he loves, as he plots to save her soul. But can the two enemies together possibly stand up against the menace of Mrs. Freeze?

The highest complement I can play to the artists is that I had no idea this issue had two pencilers and four inkers until I looked at the credits to write this review. Tomasi’s story is so engaging I didn’t see the seams until I looked and even then it all looks good. The ending of this issue will leave you haunted, as it is a worthy follow-up to the classic Heart of Ice episode of Batman: The Animated Series. A flawless book and a worthy conclusion to one of the best Year of the Villain stories.

5-5

 

John Constantine Hellblazer #1 CoverJOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER #1/ Script by SIMON SPURRIER/ Art by AARON CAMPBELL/ Color by JORDIE BELLAIRE/ Letters by ADITYA BIDIKAR/ Published by DC BLACK LABEL

Review by MATT MORRISON

John Constantine is back and sticking out like a sore thumb in new London. The hole-in-the-wall pubs John frequented are now trendy bars for West End girls and IPAs have replaced G&Ts. Despite this, the world still needs a bastard to do what needs doing… such as figuring out why a horde of angels now seem to be protecting a park and smiting any sinner unfortunate enough to enter its boundaries.

What can I say about this issue beyond “Welcome back, John?” Simon Spurrier has brought back Hellblazer in all its foul-mouthed, ultra-political wonder and the artwork by Aaron Campbell and Jordie Bellaire is a welcome throwback to the glory days of Vertigo Comics. A welcome return to form and a sign that DC Black Label might be worth something ignoring all the Harley Quinn mini-series after all. It’s also a must read for all John Constantine fans, of course.

5-5

 

Second Coming #5 CoverSECOND COMING #5/ Script by MARK RUSSELL/ Art by RICHARD PACE/ Finishes on Sunstar Pages by LEONARD KIRK/ Colors on Sunstar Pages by ANDY TROY/ Letters by ROB STEEN/ Published by AHOY COMICS

Review by MATT MORRISON

Satan meets with God to make him an offer he cannot refuse, as Sunstar – desperate to adopt a child of his own – goes on a mission of mercy to the one nation on Earth that might allow an alien from another planet with no job but “savior of Earth” to adopt a child.  Meanwhile, Jesus meets with his new group of followers and explains just where his dad went wrong with making Man then making the commandments.

With every passing issue, I become more and more enamored of this series. Richard Pace is crafting the finest work of his career and the finishes by Leonard Kirk and Andy Troy are fantastic. Mark Russell’s scripts are thoughtful and funny in equal measure and I would dearly love to see him given a Superman series to write. (Yes, I know he’s writing Superman in Wonder Twins. I mean the main monthly book!) I will miss this series once it comes to its ordained end, but I am hopeful we will get a second helping of Second Coming at some point in the future.

5-5

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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