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Hellblazer 280


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#1 Rogan

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 04:49 PM

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Written by PETER MILLIGAN; Art by GAEL BERTRAND; Cover by SIMON BISLEY
When John Constantine gets a call from his niece Gemma telling him she's summoned a demon, he hurries to her aid. But Gemma is nursing a grudge against her uncle, believing him responsible for an assault. The truth is, Gemma Masters has always felt like a Constantine – and now she plans to kill off that Constantine part of her for good.

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- Electricinca, in conversation with Rogan.

#2 Rogan

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 05:13 PM

Well, I found this one written a bit better than the last few installments. The guest art was okay, following loosely the established Frusin/Camuncoli cartoonish style of the book.

Liked seeing some mention of The Man and the ghost of John's dad, and at least some insight into Gemma's life before and after John's wedding. Still, the broad strokes characterization and dialog really are a bit exhausting. I feel like I've read half of a comic.
Rule #1 to posting on this forum - don't take anything Rogan says personally, or seriously for that matter!
- John McMahon, Forum High Priest and "The Green Mountain Boy"

Anyway, this is a wonderful series, and I'm eternally in Rogan's debt for bringing it to my attention.
- Mike Carey, on La Bete Noire

"Yes I admit it I did occasionally think you came close to being humorous a few times."
- Electricinca, in conversation with Rogan.

#3 A. Heathen

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Posted 15 June 2011 - 07:06 PM

I kind of feel like I have skimmed two issues of a very good comic, but I liked this more than most of the last two dozen issues.

It fills some of the gaps that I was bemoaning in Gemma's behaviour back at the wedding, it gives a very deep exploration of her motivations (at this point she's written better than Phanny). Although as someone pointed out earlier, she could easily have called upon the kids from Gruinard, this version works better because why should she mess with them? The story benefits from being focused pretty much on Gemma and John.

I have over-rated this issue because I loved the art, loved the cover and it's been so long since I enjoyed an issue of Hellblazer.

So sue me.
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"But that's the whole point, it's supernatural, these things happen.
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#4 slinker

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 04:28 AM

I loved the art, and even though I'm not sure how I feel about the Constantine/Demon Constantine/Gemma rape triangle plot, I think this issue was very well written, a total page turner and will concur that it's one of the best issues in the past year or so. And how about the teenaged (appearance-wise anyway) John art? He looked so young!
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#5 Christian

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 04:57 AM

Well, you know, I didn't dislike it.
It has some major problems though.
I enjoyed Gemma's inner-dialogue and how it progressed the plot. The plot was interesting.
The negatives are found in both the writing and the art though. Milligan's dialogue was so unbelievable. It was like sleep-walking through the entire issue. I found Gemma's inner-dialogue convincing, but I found all the other dialogue to be totally unbelievable for real people.
Gemma just randomly smashes some guy with a brick, and the guy's wife responds like she's used to seeing people get hit with bricks at random on a regular basis. That's just the most glaring example. Gemma was far too calm considering that she's become a psycho.
The art was also not very good. Why in the flashback scenes did John look like a teenager? Why did the scenes with demon John make him look like a cartoon character?
So, I'll go with a 7 here, but it could've been higher had I gotten the idea that this wasn't rushed.

Now, who is The Man? The Family Man? Because I read that and thought something else..where I come from The Man is something else entirely.

EDIT:Hey, did anyone else notice the mistake on the letter's page?
It said that the template for this issue's homage cover was from issue #93. That's from the Jenkins era. The cover was from the Ennis era.
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#6 Rogan

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 05:13 AM

Nope, The Man is the child-bride polygamist killer who wanted to "marry" Gemma way back in Hellblazer 4, so John enlisted Zed's help in tracking her down.
Rule #1 to posting on this forum - don't take anything Rogan says personally, or seriously for that matter!
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Anyway, this is a wonderful series, and I'm eternally in Rogan's debt for bringing it to my attention.
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"Yes I admit it I did occasionally think you came close to being humorous a few times."
- Electricinca, in conversation with Rogan.

#7 JohnMcMahon

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Posted 16 June 2011 - 07:08 AM

I picked up that new version of the Original Sins trade the other day after spotting it in Chapters - I'll have to transcribe the blurb at the back later as it makes the series sound awful, anyway the point to this post is to throw a few :adore: towards Waiting For The Man and pretty much every other story in there (yes, even the one with the demon yuppies).

As for this, it was alright, not really buying the import being placed on John's coat.  Cracking cover though.

What did people make of the Brightest Day preview - didn't help that the opening scene sees John being slagged off for being "the only man left in Britain who still reads a newspaper" whilst two or three other people on the same page do just that.

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#8 James

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 03:05 AM

Bloody hell, that was a quick read. Did a good job of laying out Gemma's internal workings, and it's nice to see characters acting like actual, breathing human beings rather than vectors for the plot. I do think that this stuff could have (and should have) been seeded into the story throughout the past four issues, though, rather than being infodumped so close to the end. Especially when there isn't a huge amount else in the story.

Loved the art, but it felt a bit too cartoony for what ought to have been a dark and brooding issue. Camuncoli's pretty cartoony, of course, but he's also got a way with the grotesque that would have suited this well. Would love to see Gael Bertrand return to the comic soon, though, preferably in a comedy storyline.

On the whole... 6? It flashed by too quickly for me to really get much of a feeling for it.

#9 James

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 03:17 AM

View PostJohnMcMahon, on 16 June 2011 - 07:08 AM, said:

What did people make of the Brightest Day preview - didn't help that the opening scene sees John being slagged off for being "the only man left in Britain who still reads a newspaper" whilst two or three other people on the same page do just that.

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I especially like the way that the fat guy who says that appears from nowhere, then does exactly the same thing in Kew Gardens a couple of pages later. Quality art, there.

For more, we discussed it over here.

#10 Christian

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 05:09 AM

We're pretty sure "fat guy" is Chas.
He follows John around to say random quips.
"I wish it were fin du globe," said Dorian with a sigh.
"Life is such a great disappointment."
-Oscar Wilde

#11 Rogan

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 12:31 PM

And look, he even has Shia's cap, for the people who only know Constantine from the movie.


Can someone help me with the timeline of this issue a bit - did Gemma whack the old guy in the head with the brick after she god raped (which is the way I read it), or just before she went to summon the demon that'll off her uncle John? Since i think I recall her suddenly having the very same brick from the cover in her hand when John arrives to the abandoned warehouse to help her. Is that brick her familiar, so she summons it when she's in distress?
Rule #1 to posting on this forum - don't take anything Rogan says personally, or seriously for that matter!
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Anyway, this is a wonderful series, and I'm eternally in Rogan's debt for bringing it to my attention.
- Mike Carey, on La Bete Noire

"Yes I admit it I did occasionally think you came close to being humorous a few times."
- Electricinca, in conversation with Rogan.

#12 James

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 02:32 PM

They're two separate times - the first time was immediately after the wedding reception (she's wearing the same clothes in the flashback). If you want to be charitable, picking up the brick could've reminded her of the time she clocked that one guy.

Looking at it again, I really like the art. Great facial expressions and body language, interesting angles, lovely detail. I still think it's a bit too cartoony for this particular issue, but I'd definitely like to see more in the near future.

#13 Rogan

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 02:50 PM

I guessed as much, though with such a brick-heavy issue, i miss Bradstreet on covers.


Speaking of art - i loved the way Gael Bertrand had the Demon Groom Constantine (wee need that action figure STAT!) with that eeeeeevil grin, it was a bit too on the nose for a dramatic issue, but I agree with James - this guy has big comedic chops. There's some great stuff at his DeviantArt page :


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Rule #1 to posting on this forum - don't take anything Rogan says personally, or seriously for that matter!
- John McMahon, Forum High Priest and "The Green Mountain Boy"

Anyway, this is a wonderful series, and I'm eternally in Rogan's debt for bringing it to my attention.
- Mike Carey, on La Bete Noire

"Yes I admit it I did occasionally think you came close to being humorous a few times."
- Electricinca, in conversation with Rogan.

#14 James

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Posted 18 June 2011 - 04:47 PM

I think I'd quite like to see him taking Bisley's slot as the regular alternate artist. Just looking at the panel where Gemma says 'I said... I hate him' - amazing body language. Brilliant.

I think the only bit that looks off is the expression on the woman whose husband Gemma just beaned. She just looks a bit surprised, as though Gemma let her dog crap on her lawn. Other than that, it's sterling work. I'll have to dig up some other stuff that he's done.

#15 JasonT

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 07:08 AM

The art was technically accomplished but too cartoony and whimsical for me to get full value from the serious subject matter. Facial expressions were a particular turnoff for me: I read them as adolescent, not lively.

That was a brief read with quite a lot of exposition. Compared with where we were at the end of 279, not much happened. As usual for Peter Milligan's run, it sets us up for a future instalment in which something does happen. I neither liked nor disliked it.

Interesting to read in the letter column Pete's confirmation that 'Scab' wasn't intended to be the foundation of an ongoing run on the title. Hence (as previously noted) Phoebe appearing out of nowhere to serve a plot requirement.

#16 James

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 08:24 AM

Another commendation for the artwork: excellent attention to detail. Everyone in the flashbacks is wearing appropriate clothing congruent with their last appearance, and everyone looks like they should.

Compare this to the amazing changing clothes in 'Cross Purposes' (the Carey/Camuncoli one-off that was squeezed inbetween 'Reasons to be Cheerful' and 'Down in the Ground') - Angie goes from wearing a negligee and trenchcoat to her usual headband/jeans style and then back again. It must be easy to take your eye off the ball and let that stuff slide. Big props to editorial and Bertrand.

#17 sethos

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 01:21 PM

glad to see I'm not the only one who really liked the artwork. yeah, it was a bit cartoony in places (and I hate the look of the demon, but that one was established in the previous issue, I think?), but he's got some really solid inking skills. And like James said, great attention to detail. the stuff that mostly goes wrong in Hellblazer these days went very right for once.

and that's some FANTASTIC stuff on his Deviantart. wow.

the story was quite good too. a lot better than the previous, oh, ten issues? fab cover as well.
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#18 Trace

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 11:02 PM

Wow, a Pierrot Le Fou from Cowboy Bebop reference!
“It seems only yesterday I used to believe there was nothing under my skin but light.
If you cut me I would shine.
But now when I fall upon the sidewalks of life, I skin my knees.  I bleed.”

#19 Rogan

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Posted 19 June 2011 - 11:09 PM

I believe this was more of a reference to the Jean-Paul Belmondo flick, especially considering the likeness, as well as (presumed) Gael Bertrand's nationality :


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Oh, and there's a review for HB #280 up at CBR. They rather liked it.
Rule #1 to posting on this forum - don't take anything Rogan says personally, or seriously for that matter!
- John McMahon, Forum High Priest and "The Green Mountain Boy"

Anyway, this is a wonderful series, and I'm eternally in Rogan's debt for bringing it to my attention.
- Mike Carey, on La Bete Noire

"Yes I admit it I did occasionally think you came close to being humorous a few times."
- Electricinca, in conversation with Rogan.

#20 James

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Posted 20 June 2011 - 12:45 AM

He's talking about the other guy, also called Pierrot Le Fou (hence 'Les' - plural).

My link

Great episode, too.




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