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Demon Chas08

Revisitations 6: The Mike Carey Years (2002-2005)

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Demon Chas08    295

After the 25 issues worth of doggy blowjobs, Batman analogues all that other daft shit, we say good riddance to Brian Azzarello and a might hello to Mike Carey! Also up for discussion tying into this is our boy's six issue appearance in the fourth Swamp Thing revival, the gay pimp looking version of Papa Midnight's mini and All His Engines!

 

 

 

 

 

 

No Keanus Allowed!

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Christian    728

Mike Carey was better than Azzarello, but I lost interest pretty quick. I loved his first story, and the finale to his run is a classic, but everything in the middle was where it felt like generic Constantine began.

All His Engines, though, is one of my favourite HB stories.

 

The less said about the Papa Midnite mini, the better.

 

The Swamp Thing revival has left no lasting impression on me, that's how great it was.

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TimC    43

The only run where the consistently poor quality of writing and art made me decide to drop the book (saved only by a temporary upturn in art when Manco started).

 

All His Engines didn't distinguish itself from the monthly chaff. The Papa Midnite thing tried to do something different, at least, but still wasn't much cop.

 

We call it... the dark times. And not in a good way.

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dogpoet    431

Piffle, Tim.

Carey occasionally stretched his huge sinister ongoing metaplot a bit too thin, but he also wrote the first version of Constantine who felt completely right as a character since Delano's run (not even Jenkins could manage that), and anybody who can find anything wrong with "The Game Of Cat And Mouse" needs their head examined.

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TimC    43

It's the sad truth, I'm afraid.

 

Which one was the cat and mouse one? Was it that interminable one about a dog?

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dogpoet    431

The one with him being chased through London by Demons. Had some rather nice art by that Jock fellow?

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slinker    893

My favorite run of the series, metaplot and all.

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A. Heathen    1,120

I liked it.

 

A Game of Cat and Mouse is a superb example of a comic book.

 

It was a pleasure to go back to enjoying the series after the disclimactic discharge of Azzarello's final stories.

The supporting cast that were original had a lot more charm (or villainous appeal) than some of the long term ones we've seen from each writer, and besides the overloaded continuity killing plot, the three alternative Constantine Kids were very engaging.

His use of the Constantine family (including Chas & his family in this) was coherent and believable.

The single issue and shorter run stories are great. Really. Great.

If the Writer Who Will Not Be Named* had any respect for any of the preceding writers it was hard to spot, but one stand out story could have played nicely into his rubbishy Gemma sub-plot.

http://www.insanerantings.com/hell/comics/ongoing/hb187.html

 

Constantine's interaction with the world should be a benchmark for the current writer. (Swamp Thing crossover noted.)

His London was as much rooted in the real city as anything else in the history of the book, only challenged by Jenkins' "Life in London" and Ellis's "London Miscellany", but not a serious challenge.

 

And the stupidity of that rejecting magic story line being retconned in the very next issue after Carey left will remain a mystery.

 

Yeah, Manco is my ideal Hellblazer artist, the rest (except Sean Phillips) are merely fill-in artists**.

 

 

 

* until his own thread comes up.

** Just engaging in a bit of TimC hyperbole here.

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Demon Chas08    295

I liked it.

 

A Game of Cat and Mouse is a superb example of a comic book.

 

It was a pleasure to go back to enjoying the series after the disclimactic discharge of Azzarello's final stories.

The supporting cast that were original had a lot more charm (or villainous appeal) than some of the long term ones we've seen from each writer, and besides the overloaded continuity killing plot, the three alternative Constantine Kids were very engaging.

His use of the Constantine family (including Chas & his family in this) was coherent and believable.

The single issue and shorter run stories are great. Really. Great.

If the Writer Who Will Not Be Named* had any respect for any of the preceding writers it was hard to spot, but one stand out story could have played nicely into his rubbishy Gemma sub-plot.

http://www.insaneran...oing/hb187.html

 

Constantine's interaction with the world should be a benchmark for the current writer. (Swamp Thing crossover noted.)

His London was as much rooted in the real city as anything else in the history of the book, only challenged by Jenkins' "Life in London" and Ellis's "London Miscellany", but not a serious challenge.

 

And the stupidity of that rejecting magic story line being retconned in the very next issue after Carey left will remain a mystery.

 

Yeah, Manco is my ideal Hellblazer artist, the rest (except Sean Phillips) are merely fill-in artists**.

 

 

 

* until his own thread comes up.

** Just engaging in a bit of TimC hyperbole here.

 

We could always handwaive it off as being several months after RSVP

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Demon Chas08    295

No, because we can never handwave it being a good idea and stupid thing to reverse immediately.

 

Aw, shit! You're right. :blush:

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Gwilym    330

Probably doesn't count as a revisit since it's only been about eight months since I first read it, but The Gift really is excellent (the trade collection, I mean, though the story is particularly good). I find a lot of Carey too plot/action-focused, without enough internal monologue, but he hits the balance really well in this collection. And he's just generally good at writing John - on the occasions where he has some alone time the narration comes close to Delano quality, and even when he's got an offsider (which is too often) his lines are pitch-perfect. I've only read the second half of Carey's run, so seeing specific praise for stuff I haven't read yet is neat.

 

I just wish he did more scary bits. The first two pages of Ward 24 are terrifying.

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dogpoet    431

Just wait until you read that first collection of his: unlike everybody else, Carey hit the ground running...

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Christian    728

Don't you mean, "exactly like almost every other Hellblazer writer"?

Most of the Hellblazer writers started out strong.

Ennis, Jenkins, Ellis, Azzarello, Carey, Diggle, Milligan....

Delano it's arguable if he started out strong. His first couple issues weren't his strongest, but they were pretty good, although he got to much better work as his run progressed.

It was just a matter of it they could keep up or the quality quickly dropped. Which most did drop in quality very fast.

Which would be the argument about Carey's run, as in my opinion, he fits that mould. I couldn't stand the Red Sepulchre story. His run had ups and downs after that, but I don't think it was ever as good as his first story until the end of his run.

He is one of the few writers to go out on a high note though. Delano is really the only other writer to be able to claim that.

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Gwilym    330

Unfortunately the only first-half-Carey trade I could get my hands on right now was Black Flowers. How steeped in continuity is it? Should I save reading it 'til I can get All His Engines and/or Red Sepulchre?

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JasonT    433

I can't recall how much 'Black Flowers' relies on context, but as a general rule, yes, you'll be best off reading Mike Carey's run in sequence.

 

... Delano it's arguable if he started out strong. His first couple issues weren't his strongest, but they were pretty good, although he got to much better work as his run progressed. ...

 

The first two issues of Hellblazer weren't strong? :ohmy::tongue:

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J. White    6

Mike Carey's run was where I actually started buying Hellblazer month to month. I liked the huge mega plot he crafted for the most part. I loved A Game of Cat and Mouse, Bred in the Bone, The Gift and R.S.V.P. There was some excellent writing there. I also liked what Carey did with #200, but after that and the introduction of the Constantine spawn, the run struggled to me. Manco's art sure did fall apart too. Tim Bradstreets covers were edgy and sharp, though. Let's not forget him for putting up some of the usernames here on the cover of 214.

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dogpoet    431

Don't you mean, "exactly like almost every other Hellblazer writer"?

Most of the Hellblazer writers started out strong.

Ennis, Jenkins, Ellis, Azzarello, Carey, Diggle, Milligan....

No, I mean "almost exactly unlike Ennis (Dangerous Habits was shitawful), Jenkins (who spent his first three issues clearing up the mess Eddie Campbell had left Constantine in down under) or Milligan (who started a lot better than he finished, but hardly managed a first salvo as good as Carey)".

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Lou K    1,051

Dangerous Habits was shit awesome. As was Critical Mass. I think the only thing Jenkins had to clean up from Cambell was a flight from down under to Heathrowe.

 

I think every HB writer starts out really strong and then some just fizzle afterwards (Jenkins) while some crash and burn (Azzarello).

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Christian    728

You're definitely going against the grain on "Dangerous Habits", as well. Even if you think all of Ennis' run was awful, "Dangerous Habits" would still have to stand up as among the strongest stories he wrote on HB.

A lot HB fans consider "Dangerous Habits" a high point of the series. I don't, but that would still have to give Ennis' first story-arc ranking as a "strong start".

And, it wasn't a matter of degrees with Milligan. Even if you consider Carey's first story as better than Milligan's, Milligan still started out very strong on HB, and then turned to complete shite almost immediately. So, he had a strong start.

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Christian    728

Unfortunately the only first-half-Carey trade I could get my hands on right now was Black Flowers. How steeped in continuity is it? Should I save reading it 'til I can get All His Engines and/or Red Sepulchre?

 

I think it's best to read the entire Carey run in order.

 

All His Engines is a stand-alone graphic novel that can be read at any point though. It's not part of Carey's monthly run on the title.

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dogpoet    431

Dangerous Habits was shit awesome.

Half right, Lou.

:tongue:

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Balthazar    163

Carey's run was what got me into the book (besides the film). But I came in during 201, I believe, and I was hooked. I haven't fully read every writers' full run except for Carey, although based on all I've read, Delano is my favorite.

 

I liked the fast pacing of Carey's run. Loved the grand ideas and all the characters involved. The continuing plot as it kept building and building worked for me. The only thing I wasn't too fully invested in when I started to read the first half of his run was how out of nowhere Rosacarnis (is that her name?) appeared and the whole thing with his children. What came out of it as the story progressed I enjoyed, but it's introduction to the grand scheme/story was very off for me.

 

That story where John loses his sister to the First of the Fallen was great. I loved the Hell arc. I need to re-read that. I'm waiting to fully collect all of Carey's run first.

 

The Papa midnite mini had a ton of great stuff but was a boring and weak read as a whole. I learned to appreciate it more recently, but still not something I fully look forward to reading.

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Gwilym    330

Finally read all the Careys! And in contrast to the rather negative write-up I gave him in my introduction post, I think I'm a convert. I still believe his plots are too twistcentric, and I still wish he'd spent more time scaring us*, and I still wish I hadn't started with his clear high moment (The Gift, though his opening story was also fantastic), but when he's on form he's incredibly good. Reading some of his other comics, he's definitely a hit-and-miss writer for me; his stories either leave me a bit cold or absolutely enthralled. There's not much middle ground.

 

*because when he tries to, he's brilliant at it - he does 'helpless victim in company of psychopath' so perfectly. The page with Peter Gill in the portable toilet, and the page of Ghant trying to find the angel bone - I read each of them over and over and over, they were so masterful and effective

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