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Hellblazer #300


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Poll: Hellblazer #300 (23 member(s) have cast votes)

Your marks out of 10 for Hellblazer #300, please...

  1. 10 (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  2. 9 (1 votes [4.35%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.35%

  3. 8 (1 votes [4.35%])

    Percentage of vote: 4.35%

  4. 7 (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  5. 6 (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  6. 5 (4 votes [17.39%])

    Percentage of vote: 17.39%

  7. 4 (4 votes [17.39%])

    Percentage of vote: 17.39%

  8. 3 (2 votes [8.70%])

    Percentage of vote: 8.70%

  9. 2 (3 votes [13.04%])

    Percentage of vote: 13.04%

  10. 1 (5 votes [21.74%])

    Percentage of vote: 21.74%

  11. Zero (3 votes [13.04%])

    Percentage of vote: 13.04%

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#41 JohnMcMahon

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:56 AM

I'd go further back and wrap it after Ellis' brief stint - Mike's run had its moments but the whole Shadow Dog story felt badly out-of-place in the pages of Hellblazer and as for Swamp Thing's codpience of doom....eep!  

I keep meaning to go back and reread Diggle's stint, after hearing him speak on Hellblazer recently it got me to thinking that I didn't give it the chance it deserved.
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#42 Master Pernath

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 11:59 AM

I don't know, at least Carey's final arc feels like an ending.

#43 Atticus

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:22 PM

I thought #300 sucked a bit less than #298-#299 but it was still pretty awful.
I got the impression that after last month's teasing (where we expect to see JC turn up at almost every page turn, for him finally to appear when we've just about written off the possibility) Milligan tries to use the same trick again.
He's alive! No, he's not. He's a ghost! No he's ALIVE! No, he's falling apart. Is he a ghost? is he alive? Is he old?

There were a couple of nice ideas (the use of"made-up" magic incantations and the power of bullshit - which, while tapping into Hellblazer mythos, shouldn't have worked on such a powerful demon as Julian) but these were executed poorly (being used by Finn Bejaysus Begorrah O'Constantine, who seems to have become rather proficient pretty fucking quickly). The smoking the ashes just seemed a bit shoved in at the last minute as a handy device.

I too am fed up with seeing Gemma in such a pathetic state, when she was once so confident and assertive. The FotF's cameo was well-meant but laughable.  It also seems that someone told Milligan at the last minute that he had to stick Chas in somewhere. The business with the magic gun was ridiculous.

The last few pages gave some ambiguity to the resolution, but only insofar as to leave the reader wondering "was that shit, or reeeally shit?". The bottles on the bar were a nice touch, though the artwork was pretty poor overall.

A rather poor end to a much loved series, but a fitting end to the last few years of shit.
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#44 Lou K

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:28 PM

You'll have to speak up, Atticus. I cannot hear you.
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#45 Demon Chas08

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 01:34 PM

View PostMaster Pernath, on 21 February 2013 - 11:48 AM, said:

Yes, Gemma was already a mess before John's wedding. You could say that her mother's death really affected her, but when she appeared in Mina's final issues, she was fine.

By the way, we can all pretend that Hellblazer ended with Carey's run. What a good title it was!

I'm only gonna pretend it ended with #250
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#46 Shawn

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:04 PM

I did not buy the issue. After flipping thru it a bit at the store & seeing the spoilers and discussion here, I opted out. I'm glad I did. Thank you all, for saving me some $$. I used it instead to buy Indestructible Hulk #4.
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#47 Lou K

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:05 PM

You're not missing anything Shawn. Really.
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#48 Raindog

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 02:46 PM

I'm going to chime in with a small positive: I liked that Constantine smoked himself back into being (even if it sounds damn stupid to just say, it was a very cool visual).  When the title of the final storyline was "Death and Cigarettes" I though it was a stupid, vapid phrase. "Death" because this is a horror title's end, and "Cigarettes" because… well, it's Constantine, right?  Can't just say "Death and Trench Coats."  Used "trench coat" in the title of a storyline barely a year ago.  So (and this might be the soft bigotry of low expectations) the fact that cigarettes actually had an important role in the story was a sublime little moment.

Having first read Gemma in Ennis' run and really liking who she became in Mike Carey's hands, seeing her reduced to this trembling, stuttering shadow of her former self seems really unfortunate. On one hand, she's the most obvious symbol of all Constantine's failures, and not even his occult ones, just his simple failure to be a reliable family member for his niece. On the other hand, Milligan doesn't seem at all interested in exploring her as more than a paper-thin persona.  Milligan's women in this story, from his cheap fat jokes at the expense of Angie, to the abuse heaped on Gemma, even Epihany (who I like) are thin shadows of real people.  

Constantine's final departure from Piffy seems ridiculous, too.

I don't know if Gemma's magic bullet kills Constantine and he disappears and we see that for John hell is really being an ordinary old codger in a Liverpool pub, or if it's mean to be a kind of Finnegan's Wake wherein the whole series has been the fleeting thought of an old man, or we're seeing John's future as having escaped his fated death but now is just a lonely old man and we're catching him in the moment of realization of what an idiot he's been, or (as mentioned previously) that the bullet destroys "magician" Constantine and we see the 60-year-old man he really would be.

Maybe it's just a cruel joke at his expense or a curse.  Either one is kind of appropriate if we look at John turning his back on everything good in his life in another "nobody hurt anymore" bout of self-pitying avoidance that finally bites him right on his old arse.  

Or maybe it's a little meta commentary.  He winds up an old man surrounded by hipsters, trapped.  Just another undying piece of intellectual property... and nothing makes you show your age like never growing old.

Hellblazer is dead.  Long live Hellblazer.
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#49 JohnMcMahon

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:16 PM

Good post that.
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#50 Lou K

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:28 PM

I did like the last page or two, and figured it a very fitting ending for our John. Raindog's speculation as to who he is and how he got there is great and leaves a lot to our own interpretations.
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#51 Mark

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 03:47 PM

Seconded.


I choose to believe that the ending represents all and none of the suggested options. On the one hand, that sort of ambiguity could be seen as a bit of a cheap writerly contrivance - in a lot of ways it's taking the easy way out - but in this instance, I find it quite fitting. I neither need nor want everything to be spelled out for me, and given how little I've cared for most of the endings Milligan's come up with on his own, I'm actually fairly grateful that he's left the actual, final end up to us to decide. I'm pretty sure that my imagination is capable of interpreting those last couple of pages in a manner rather more satisfying than whatever Milligan himself would have chosen.

Still a bit of an ignominious anticlimax to Vertigo's longest-running book, though. A hastily assembled, rushed wrap-up for a handful of recent loose ends, almost entirely devoid of any nods to the past prior to the current run (for which I don't entirely blame Milligan, who clearly had this dumped on him at the last possible moment - no time to squeeze in so much as a couple of commemorative pinups/splash pages by a few of the many, many artists who've said how much they'd have loved the chance to do something Hellblazer-related. Appropriate enough, I suppose, given what a complete clusterfuck DC appear to have made of their editorial departments of late, but still a damn shame.
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#52 TimC

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 05:30 PM

As with most of Milligan's run, I enjoyed this a lot more than the rest of you whinging bastards, but won't argue the toss right now.

But anyone who's assuming the magic bullet that John tossed back to Gemma is the same one he took from her probably needs to think on.

#53 A. Heathen

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:11 PM

View PostLou K, on 21 February 2013 - 03:28 PM, said:

I did like the last page or two, and figured it a very fitting ending for our John. Raindog's speculation as to who he is and how he got there is great and leaves a lot to our own interpretations.

I might spend some time cut and pasting silent panels from the 299 issues (well not really the last three dozen) telling Constantine's story in wordless cameos. It'd have been a more suitable ending than this.

Tim, glad you've been enjoying it, and you're not alone judging by comments elsewhere,
but the complaints here are based on a lot of time invested in a comic that has been poorly commemorated by this issue. Do you have any evidence for some sort of magic bullet switcheroo?

And of course, the fact that it's been shite.
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"But that's the whole point, it's supernatural, these things happen.
It's not supposed to be realistic in that sense."

#54 Lou K

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:23 PM

View PostA. Heathen, on 21 February 2013 - 06:11 PM, said:

View PostLou K, on 21 February 2013 - 03:28 PM, said:

I did like the last page or two, and figured it a very fitting ending for our John. Raindog's speculation as to who he is and how he got there is great and leaves a lot to our own interpretations.

I might spend some time cut and pasting silent panels from the 299 issues (well not really the last three dozen) telling Constantine's story in wordless cameos. It'd have been a more suitable ending than this.



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#55 Mark

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 06:53 PM

View PostA. Heathen, on 21 February 2013 - 06:11 PM, said:

Tim, glad you've been enjoying it, and you're not alone judging by comments elsewhere,
but the complaints here are based on a lot of time invested in a comic that has been poorly commemorated by this issue.

Yeah, but presumably Tim's enjoyment of the issue was based on a similar longterm investment and a simple disagreement about the adequacy of the finale's commemorativity. Commemorativeness. Whatever.

I don't especially disagree with most of your criticisms of this issue, but I must admit that there's been a stridency to the way you're expressing them that's uncharacteristic of you. I've got a lot of respect for your usually firm grasp of the opinion/fact divide - you've called me out, quite correctly, on a couple of occasions when I've allowed my partiality to get the better of me in the Doctor Who thread, for example - but I think you've come closer to landing on the wrong side of it than I'd expect of you when it comes to this particular issue. I sympathise - as a long term reader who hasn't enjoyed Milligan's run I feel much the same way - but stuff like the comment I've quoted here does you les credit than you deserve.
"As we journey through life, discarding baggage along the way, we should keep an iron grip, to the very end, on the capacity for silliness. It preserves the soul from dessication."
- Humphrey Lyttleton, 1921-2008

"The Doctor remembers every Doctor Who story ever told. Every episode, Target book, comic strip and every game of companions and TARDISes that you played as a kid. The universe he lives in has no record of it, because paradoxes and divergent dimensions and the Time War have reset things... but the Doctor remembers and sometimes when he is sad it's because you've stopped being 8 years old and he can't run around the school playground with you anymore."
- some wise soul on the internet somewhere, 2009

#56 Atticus

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 07:17 PM

View PostLou K, on 21 February 2013 - 01:28 PM, said:

You'll have to speak up, Atticus. I cannot hear you.

Oops. That ok for you now? Ya cheeky bastard :laugh:
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#57 Lou K

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:11 PM

View PostAtticus, on 21 February 2013 - 07:17 PM, said:

View PostLou K, on 21 February 2013 - 01:28 PM, said:

You'll have to speak up, Atticus. I cannot hear you.

Oops. That ok for you now? Ya cheeky bastard :laugh:

Much better, thank you.  :icon_wink: :tongue:
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#58 A. Heathen

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 08:17 PM

View PostMark, on 21 February 2013 - 06:53 PM, said:

View PostA. Heathen, on 21 February 2013 - 06:11 PM, said:

Tim, glad you've been enjoying it, and you're not alone judging by comments elsewhere,
but the complaints here are based on a lot of time invested in a comic that has been poorly commemorated by this issue.

Yeah, but presumably Tim's enjoyment of the issue was based on a similar longterm investment and a simple disagreement about the adequacy of the finale's commemorativity. Commemorativeness. Whatever.
...
I sympathise - as a long term reader who hasn't enjoyed Milligan's run I feel much the same way - but stuff like the comment I've quoted here does you les credit than you deserve.

You're reading something I didn't mean to say.
So I apologise to Tim if it seems that I was doing anything more than addressing the term "whinger" which I think was tongue in cheek.
I don't think Tim's yet defended it as a fitting commemoration, though. He's enjoyed Milligan's run, and it's certainly an end to that.

As for your other comment, I am everso slightly exaggerating some of my disenchantment for comic effect.
I perceive a need to address the way we mostly feel about it in a few more words.

"Stridency" eh.
I don't read many shit comics, so it's hard to know how to review them.

Let me say that this is not even in my bottom 50 of all Hellblazer comics ever.
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"But that's the whole point, it's supernatural, these things happen.
It's not supposed to be realistic in that sense."

#59 Mark

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:28 PM

Fair enough :-) Thanks for clarifying.

For the most part I've figured it was hyperbole - and mostly enjoyable hyperbole at that - there's just something about the "my opinion is more right than yours because I've been a fan for longer than you" line of argument that really pushes my buttons, and even though I knew that wasn't what you were actually saying (and if it had been, TimC would have been better placed to object to it than me), it was closer than I was entirely comfortable with. Cheers for taking it in the spirit intended.

I'm inclined to agree about the lack of commemorative weight, as I touched on in my post earlier, but that's something I blame DC for more than anything. Milligan was well within his rights to devote most of his final issue to wrapping up his own story, even if it's a story I didn't really care for - and he did at least manage to throw us those final couple of pages, which were about as close as we were likely to get to a satisfying and appropriate ending at this point. Not quite close enough for my tastes, but credit due for trying.

On which note, while it didn't occur to me when I read it at first, I'm erring towards Tim's dart switch theory. One final get-out-of-dying-free con seems a suitable enough way to say goodbye to the character that I'm going along with it whether it was intended or not (and I haven't re-read it to see how plausibly intentional it feels yet). It's just a shame about the route it took to get there, really - I think a story which credibly brought Gemma to where she is in that final scene could potentially have made for an excellent ending to John's story, and I rather wish that was what I thought we got.

"As we journey through life, discarding baggage along the way, we should keep an iron grip, to the very end, on the capacity for silliness. It preserves the soul from dessication."
- Humphrey Lyttleton, 1921-2008

"The Doctor remembers every Doctor Who story ever told. Every episode, Target book, comic strip and every game of companions and TARDISes that you played as a kid. The universe he lives in has no record of it, because paradoxes and divergent dimensions and the Time War have reset things... but the Doctor remembers and sometimes when he is sad it's because you've stopped being 8 years old and he can't run around the school playground with you anymore."
- some wise soul on the internet somewhere, 2009

#60 Christian

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Posted 21 February 2013 - 10:39 PM

Considering Milligan's run takes up nearly 50 issues worth of HB, yeah, I wouldn't rank it in the bottom 50 either.

The ending pages have resonance. It's just a shame that they couldn't be clear.
The whole "magic bullet" doesn't even seem to hit John, if you look at that page. There's just clear white space, and the bullet. It doesn't seem to puncture any skin. Is it meant to metaphorically be hitting the reader? I can't say.
The magic bullet completely destroyed all elements of Demon John, when it was first used in HB. Maybe there is a detail that we have forgotten, but it was one of those "worst 50 issues".
Swtiching the bullets is simply a guess based on John's long history of pulling a con, yet the final page of the issue does not show any proof that John did switch the bullets. The look on his face showed that he had not pulled off a great con and escaped it all, just the opposite.

This issue could have been handled very well. There was a lot of room for a promising ending to John's tenure, except it was all hidden amidst what was actually printed on the page. Most of what I see in reviews are ideas that people hoped to see on the page, and that they could almost get out of the reading, but yet, ideas that Milligan did not include within the actual story.
That's probably the greatest shame, that a seasoned writer of quality comic material since the 1980s could not clearly explicate his ideas on the page. Instead, as Adrian already pointed out, the actual content of the story was wasted on trying to wrap up plot threads that would have been better just left ignored in the final issue. As some reviewers have pointed out, this was more the fitting end for Milligan's run, rather than for Hellblazer.

John growing tired of life. John seeing that people he cares about are better off without him. John trying to change, and deciding that it would never work, and he'd be better off dead than trying to do what he talked about with Epiphany. John dying and discovering that his version of Hell is exactly what he talked about with Epiphany, and there's simply no way for him to escape that fate. These are all excellent ways to end Hellblazer. Ways that would have great emotional resonance with me as the reader (and I think many HB fans). Yet, none of that was made clear in the issue, where Milligan seemed to bounce around from idea to idea.
"John's tried of life." "Oh no he's not! John is always working a con!" I already went into the failures of the whole "people are better off without John" failure. It's just spastic writing, something that a seasoned writer of quality comics since the 1980s shouldn't be having problems with.
Maybe that "magic bullet" was meant to hit the reader in the head, so we could all imagine how the issue worked much better than what Milligan had done for the preceding number of pages.
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