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JasonWanderer last won the day on August 25 2018

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About JasonWanderer

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    Constanteen PG15
  1. Ignoring the potential page count this would be... Delano: #1 - 2, #7 ("Ghosts in the Machine"), #27 ("Hold Me") Ennis: "Dangerous Habits" Part 1 or 5, #45 ("Dangerous Habits" - Epilogue), #50 ("Remarkable Lines"), #68 ("End of the Line"), #76 ("Confessions of an Irish Rebel"), "Rake at the Gates of Hell" Part 4, 5, or 6. Jenkins: #97 ("The Nature of the Beast"), #100 ("Sins of the Father"), #104 ("Difficult Beginnings" - Conclusion), #106 and #107 ("In the Line of Fire" - Parts 1 and 2), #120 ("Desperately Seeking Something"), #128 ("How to Play with Fire" - Part 4) Ellis: #142 ("Setting Sun"/"One Last Love Song") Carey: #175/176 ("High On Life" - Parts 1 and 2), #181 ("The Game of Cat and Mouse"), #200 ("Happy Families"), #202 ("Reasons to Be Cheerful" - Part 1), #213 ("The Gift"), #214/215 ("RSVP - Parts 1 and 2) Mina: #216 ("Empathy is the Enemy" - Chapter 1) Diggle: #230/#231 ("In the Deep End" - Parts 1 and 2), #245/246 ("Newcastle Calling" - Parts 1 and 2) #250 ("Holiday Special") Milligan: #259 ("The Cottage") Looking at the list after typing it out, it's not really celebrating a whole 30 years, but if we're going for the essentials, for both old readers and new readers coming in, these would be them. To compensate, put some other arcs in the back as a cover art showcase; Issue 225 is still both my favorite piece of Hellblazer art as well as my favorite piece of comic cover art.
  2. Haha, thanks. Honestly, I just didn't like my other options. Having it all be a dream/story would have been a cop-out and having it be some magical transport just goes against the essence of the work to me. "India" actually was pretty good, you're right. In fact those first few stories may not have been the best, but they weren't bad either. "The Devil's Trenchcoat" made me cringe, but not because of what it was, instead because of what I realized it could have been. The scenario is actually pretty interesting and could have been a great character piece. But it was what it was. "The Cottage" was good, that is true. Come to think of it, everything started to fall apart the moment Milligan started to rely on old characters. When he was doing his own thing, it wasn't half bad. For some reason he stopped creating new scenarios and as things started to wind down, he just went the Diggle route. Except at least Diggle seemed to do it out of respect. Yeah, Epiphany could have been a solid character if their was an actual focus on her rather than her being better than the other options. It really makes sense Angie was butchered. She was Epiphany - the magician who could keep up with John, while also having Kit's ability to see through him and still feel love - done so much better, since Angie at least had her own character. The last issue seems more like an end to Milligan's run rather than the series; his swan song, not Constantine's. Yes. After John finds out, Milligan (because I doubt the other writers had this in mind) has him contemplate what the meaning of Demon Constantine wanting Gemma was. To remedy this, I just took it as the lust for a younger girl that John had during Milligan's run and not necessarily a long standing lust for Gemma.
  3. That last point is really telling. I guess what Hellblazer used to be associated with was no longer what was being looked for. Which really ties into how there really hasn't been anything quite like it in recent years. Plots have gotten more complex, and entertaining at the expence of seeing a bunch of guys talking about stuff in a pub. ------ I figured I'd wait to comment again until I finished Milligan's run. Firstly, as a whole, the run was a bit up and down. I didn't like it as much as Diggle's, but stories like "Scab" were better than what Mina had. Unfortunately, I cant really remember much past "Scab" being particularly interesting. The rest wasn't necessarily bad they just weren't particularly great either. As shoehorned in as it was I actually didnt mind the Finn storyline. That arc was rather solid. Really, like a lot of the later runs, I wouldn't give a Milligan issue to anyone and say, "here read this, maybe you'll get something out of it" instead it's "here, read this, you'll be entertained for a few minutes." Epiphany was alright, but the fact that her and John's relationship was built off some long-lasting unrequited love that came from absolutely nowhere made it hard to believe in. Had Piffy been a child that was seen during the Delano run and made a re-appearence during Milligan's run at least it would have had some basis, but I digress. The rest of the cast was hit or miss. Julien was pretty good though; genuinely creepy at times. Alright, now I feel the need to talk about two issues in particular: 275 and 300. John's wedding was one of the most dissappointing issues I've read of a beloved series. Nergal was a complete waste, I'm not sure why he was even there. When did Hell become so petty that their sole goal was to make sure Constantine was not hurt, but just baseline unhappy? Why did every new writer have to butcher what made the character of John so easy to relate to, making it so otherworldly forces are the real cause of his unhappiness rather than Constantine being himself? Past that we have Gemma. I'll accept that she was broken, I can slightly understand that (despite being fine in the Mina run). What I don't get is what they chose to do with her. The girl was raped, and as sad as it is to say it I could care less. It was thrown out there for shock value with every subsequent scene she was in dealing with her acting in a way wherein everyone says, "Gemma you're being stupid." All Milligan showed was her mistakes, and not in a way to showcase her as a human, but it almost seemed liked she was presented as a nuisance (which seems to be a trait of Milligan with Angie being reduced to a vessel for fat jokes - unless I'm seriously misinterpreting all this). Gemma went from a character who showcased another side of Constantine's life and world, to one that was reduced to being the cliche irritating child. And here I was thinking after the wedding their would be a split perspective showcasing the happiness in John's life and the overwhelming, struggle that Gemma's life is. But like everything else with this run it boiled down to summoning demons and light-up hands. Also, is it just me or was inviting all his old loves especially cruel of John? I'm not sure if that was the point, but it seemed more like Milligan just wanted old characters to show up. As for Issue 300: Maybe it would have been best to just have the real joke be that Constantine was actually dead...? What we got was a really strange, wishy-washy idea. Finn comes back and is destroyed because he met John yet Ghost John tries to sort him out. So what was the point? John ruins things or fixes them? As for the actually ending, it's ambiguous, but I'm choosing to take it that Gemma saying "Uncle" after shooting John is years later when she finds him in a pub which is why he looks so surprised. In hindsight, I actually wouldn't have been upset with an It's a Wonderful Life situation; had John died and Issue 300 consisted of him and The First going around looking at his life. There wouldn't even need to be a debate. Just two characters who can go up against each other reflecting on how they've lived. As it stands now, I see the end as unfinished. When something ends, there's supposed to be an understanding; a resolution and relevation. All this amounted to was the question of "What really happened?" I didn't take anything away from the end of this 300 issue series. I closed it, and immediately went to Rake at the Gates of Hell and RSVP to get a proper conclusion. A conclusion that explores John's character and presents various ideas regarding him, the series, and the reader. On a much lighter note, I read "All His Engines" and...wow. That was exceptionally done. Creepy, interesting, character driven and thematic. The way Hellblazer should be. Anyway, I've droned on a bit too long. Just figured I'd close with a thank you. Nice to know this forum is still here to discuss things!
  4. Yeah. In fact, I'd say all of the Hellblazer writers are good at their trade. It's the series itself that isn't versatile (or rather not without sacrificing what makes it Hellblazer). Makes me wonder who would have worked better than writers like Mina or Azz. Neil Gaiman is probably the only person I could think of. Grant Morrison? Like you said though, it's almost impossible to go by prior works of the writer to judge their ability to writer for the series.
  5. I should stop just looking at cover art and actually examine the names. This isn't the first time I missed a guest writer! I'm sure Aaron probably thought to include a rather obscure character as a gesture of fan service without ever actually going back to check whether said character was even alive. But then, guess twenty years of continuity will cause things like this so I'll give him a pass. Who was the character Carey brought back? Oh! "Mortification of Flesh" was actually quite good. Constantine playing all sides is always fun, and it actually had a nice bit of thematic relevance as well. Definitely my favorite Diggle story. I didn't like the Golden Boy reveal either, but I will say that I'm not sure if it was purely Diggle's fault. It seems more like a product of it's time. Going through these last few runs, I feel like Hellblazer stopped being what Delano started when thr Jenkins era ended. The Ellis - Azz - Carey trilogy had some elements, but also took it to completely different places, ending with it being more "normal" with a push for longer arcs. Then comes the Mina - Diggle - Milligan trio which almost seems to make it mainstream. Very heavily plot based with much more action and large-scale situations. While this began in the Carey run, it seemed to be the focus of every major arc in Mina and Milligan's eras; which is why I respect Diggle. He tried to dial everything down, but still keep it to the style the series was heading towards. It's just odd to see a series go from being about a guy who cons his way out of the supernatural, but is always hit hard when it comes to the natural to a man that's shooting lightning bolts and actively performing chants to battle over-sized Indian gods. Aaron was a guest writer for the Newcastle two-parter.
  6. Figured I'd address both of these... What gets me the most about Mina's run is that it had all the works to be incredibly satisfying, and poignant. "Red Right Hand" amounted to absolutely nothing (though, I will say that Issue 225 has my favorite comic cover ever, of all time; why it's attached to that arc is beyond me). Even with only 13 issues, I feel like there was more that could have come out of those stories. Which leads me to my major gripe: it's starting to feel like Hellblazer has been sucked dry. I don't want to say it started with Carey's run because that would diminish the good that came out it, but it definitely began with the more structured, long-running arcs. In and of itself, I prefer the longer stories, but there seems to be an extreme focus on plot and that overshadowed the actual purpose. Mina and Diggle's run, generally, (I just finished up "Roots of Coincidence"), have these large-scale events and complex workings that amount to nothing at all. Just another demon to stop. The reason Hellblazer was so great for me wasn't necessarily due to the writing, or the characters, or the art, but rather that it had something to say and unlike many (or most) other works it did so in a human, grounded way. Magic aside, Constantine's life and situations were normal. It could be felt. All the magic's (pun intended) seems to have be taken from the series. I haven't learned anything, nor have I decided to re-evaluate aspects of existence. There's been a lot of lines that may get me to smile, but nothing that's gotten me to think or feel; not since "RSVP" (and, really, if I must be honest, before that it was "One Last Love Song" all the way back in the Ellis era). It's all been exciting, but nothing particularly engaging (even arcs that I thought would go somewhere good, like John going back to Ravenscar ended in a plot-driven, ":entertaining way" - with absolutely no substance to it, nor anything to learn or gather...) Now, all that said, we get to "Roots of Coincidence" (Part 2). Like the rest of Diggle's run, the first part was a fun issue; nothing more. I expected the second part to be the same, but then something miraculous happened: the antagonists were gone within the first few pages. After that I get to witness John and Chas in a pub, for pages...and with that, the old spark came back just a bit. It was good to see John as a person again, and it was even better to have an arc end (excluding the revelation he gets while talking) with a moment of humanity. As for the DCU/New 52 series: I'll definitely check them out. I love Hellblazer enough that I went to experience all of it. That said, I want to read the side-arcs (i.e. "All His Engines") first. Not only was it resolved, but it had a point back when it was originally introduced. Why Diggle decided to turn what happened at Ravenscar from a twisted situation to one involving magic that amounts to some creepy child-like demon baby being tossed from a bluff is beyond me. Going back to Newcastle seemed like a good idea, but again it just comes down to dealing with a situation that had no business being brought back up nor did it bring any introspection or revelations; even thematically it was useless. Diggle's constant usage of the past is the same problem I had with Mina's callbacks. It feels like there's no uniqueness left to the title. The writers are going backwards rather than moving forward like Ennis, Jenkins, and even Azz did; all of which brought a unique style and take with only minor pick-ups from those before them if the arc called for it.
  7. "R.S.V.P." is great for exactly the reason you stated; the finality. However, it does make continuing a bit jarring as whole. Starting off Mina's run, I felt like everything was a bit of a side story. Carey's end even hearkened back to Delano's beginning with John once again seeing the ghosts of his past within reality; it's a chilling full circle. As for Mina's run, I'm almost through "Red Right Hand" at the moment. It's been an interesting ride. Something is a bit off about it as a whole though. Nothing is particularly terrible, but it's all just muddled. Something that's irking me is the constant call-backs that were placed within "Empathy is the Enemy;" Kit, for example, or using almost the exact same image as the end of "R.S.V.P." (with the ghosts around John, although here it isn't of the past). It doesn't take away anything, but the greatest thing about "Dangerous Habits" or "High on Life" is while they may have been a continuation of a series, they were unique and brought about the start of a distinct era. "Empathy" seemed almost too tied to Hellblazer's past. Don't get me wrong, I love when John or the series itself reflects on what's happened, but for the start of a run...it almost seems like fan-fiction rather than a new chapter. Even the outcome is very reminiscent to the end of the Shadow Dog arc in Carey's run. I didn't really get a sense of what's to follow nor did I see Mina's unique interpretation. The rest of "Empathy" isn't all too bad, and I like the overall literary flow. It's just that it all seems a bit heartless. There's really nothing so far that isn't incredibly overt and the stories themselves try and be personal, but rarely feel impactful. I'm hoping "Red Right Hand" has a satisfying conclusion (one with, at the very least, personal reflection). Yeah, it's a bit jarring. He's in it up to his knees, but kind of decides to just not use spells which is just inefficient. I'm not really sure how taking part in the situation, but not using magic (until doing so in "Red Right Hand" without even stopping to comment on the fact that he wasn't supposed to by his own standards, I might add) equates to his intention at the end of RSVP, but I digress. I guess the whole "empathy" thing made him go forward with helping out. The actual ending of "How to Play with Fire" is what really made it. Definitely some of the best lines in the series. I have to agree with you about Carey's run. I liked it, don't get me wrong, but RSVP was definitely the best part (I'll admit, I shed a tear when John asked Swamp Thing to produce flowers and the subsequent panels showed the grave with almost a full garden). Nothing else really stood out. All things considered, Ennis's John is pretty unlikable as a whole (the whole "I'm too much of a man to cry" attitude was a bit off-putting). For me, it's more so the situations, his reactions, what he was reacting to, and why he was reacting in such a way that really makes some of those issues the best. In terms of Constantine, Jenkins and Carey's versions are definitely my favorites. RSVP had John be at his most human. Something that I really took away from that arc is that it fully reflects reality; it's not really exaggerated at all. John doesn't do something extreme like cut himself off and live on the streets. He still interacts with people, is still part of society, and that's where he twists the knife in; reflecting and wallowing when he's alone, but keeping face while around others (for the most part).
  8. He may not share the necessary characteristics to be considered as such in a literary sense, but I've always found Delano to be very comparable to Lovecraft; less-excessive or overt threats. Conversely there's Ennis who's a ton more explicit with everything. I think this carries over into the stories as well. Delano usually took the Lovecraft approach with the "antagonist" or evil being the primary focus as it usually revealed something about humanity, nature, society, etc., or allowed John to come to a conclusion. Ennis, on the other hand, and to my memory, never really used what Constantine was facing as a metaphor or a window. Most of the stories within his era used the situations as a backdrop to the more character focused story. Where Delano would have an issue commentinh on the legality of literature leading to Winnie the Pooh pulling someone down "funny" stairs (which may not necessarily be horrific, but is, in some ways, unnerving), Ennis has an issue devoted solely to Kit leaving John and the aftermath or one dealing with Kit's side; no supernatural. In a way, I feel like the extremes Ennis went to were a reflection of how little he thought the supernatural elements (as well as complex metaphors and symbolism) meant to Hellblazer. At the end of the day, he threw the most gruesome stuff out there because doing it in any other way would take away from what he wrote in as the central idea. --- Finished up Carey's run yesterday. I'll admit I had a bit of a flip-floppy opinion of his era. Originally it was "alright", then I thought he was comparable to Jenkins, before going against that a bit later. However, from "Down in the Ground" to "The Gift" to "RSVP"... Carey might have had the best ending run, beating out "Rake at the Gates of Hell" for me. Those last three arcs encapsulated all the great things about Hellblazer. "Down in the Ground" was a tense supernatural story with actual weight to the outcome (I was getting a bit tired of the fake-out deaths that were happening every few issues), "The Gift" was a crude little side story in all the best ways with a great look at John as a character, and "RSVP" was just a perfect introspection piece rivaling what I loved so much about Ennis's run. Above all, these last three arcs pulled back on the random magic use. It actually felt like John was human again and had to deal with the emotional consequences of being a con man rather than a magician. Overall the run is mid-tier, but those three are definitely among my favorites.
  9. Would have probably worked better overall as some sort of special/PSA (even though the content of "Shoot" isn't that great for it, the base idea and the limitation of Hellblazer-esque aspect makes the concept work better as a non-regular issue). Would you mind elaborating on the Swamp Thing censorship? I had a similar situation. I heard about Hellblazer a while ago, but didn't think to read it until the show came out. Then it kind of fell to the wayside as I thought it followed the supernatural formula, but was surprised to find it to be incredibly unique. What made you enjoy the first 9 issues most?
  10. Most six-part stories feel like a bit much for me (which is odd as I much prefer longer arcs...just not in comics) Rake at the Gates of Hell is probably the only time it seemed to have all been paced well. Haunted just had a really great conclusion. The worst part of Ellis's run was the way it was forced to end. Sad that Ashes and Honey is the last Ellis arc. Not that it was bad, just that it wasn't well...an ending. Hey! Carey has a lot of great actually characterization in the situations he has. The only thing missing is the more individual, character driven issues, which were replaced with denser plots. Was there any particular reason he even wrote "Shoot"? I'd be really interested in hearing that. Hello! Yeah, I just got someone else into it too. Need to spread it around a bit. Even without the inherent controversy, that ending would have still caused an uproar most likely.
  11. When I'm done with Carey I'll go back and read the arcs you mentioned. I'm curious to see Azz at his best. I just started the second arc. It's an interesting way of writing it, and I'm happy Carey tried something different. Though I'd be lying if I said I wasn't upset that the more personal arcs were absent. It's a good middle-ground, almost feels a like a well-done reboot in some ways. Not the best, but just a cool experimental take on the series. As for the subject of the arcs, I felt similar. The Shadow Dog had a bit much going on; like an extended crossover event. Hehe, I try (or I guess I wont). No, I haven't. Thanks! --- Oddly enough I realized I never commented on Ellis's run and that shouldn't speak of it's quality. It just slipped my mind for some reason. I'm not really sure where to place it. "Haunted," "The Crib," and "One Last Love Song" were exceptional. In fact his writing overall was just...great. He understood Constantine. He understood good drama. It's a shame he had such a short time on the series. He's definitely better than Carey. On par with Jenkins I'd say.
  12. It manages to capture the good and the sad aspects of the character quite well. Thanks! I hear you, 300 issues is a bit much to keep around. Thanks, old son. Care to tell me what you thought of Azzarello's run? That's a shame. I was actually excited for Mina's set of issues; curious how a novelist wrote the series. This issue #250 is intriguing already. Hellblazer is one of those series where the worst is still considerably better than other things out there. You're spot on about the guest writers. Some of those issues were really great. Thanks for the suggestions. I actually just found out about Winter's Edge too, so I'm tucking those away for a few weeks (I'm interested to see what a Constantine Christmas is like). Thanks! ----- On a side note, I just got through "Staring at the Wall" and moved onto the amnesia arc. The former was pretty good overall. I find Carey's run to be more exciting, tying in characters like Swamp Thing; the world itself seems a bit large with cameos from Lucifer as well. That said, I'm still a bit...I don't want to say upset, but maybe confused at the more man-of-action Constantine. Carey does really well with the characterization, but it no longer feels as though he's a regular guy. He's spouting spells, and hooking up with other magicians. The most Constantine thing he did was the meditation while letting his hand boil. The more magic-focus doesn't take away from the stories too much, but I guess I just wouldn't be surprised if fire-balls start coming from his hands. Additionally, and this might be a product of not yet finishing the run, but I can't quite put my finger on Carey's central focus (comparable to Delano's counter-culture or Ennis's "end of the line" writing of Constantine's life). It seems to be more broad, dealing with the working of the world as a whole and the order of events that come from things, but I could be wrong...?
  13. Lucky me, I skipped Ashes and Dust. Thanks! You summed that up much better than I did. I need to go through Delano's run again, I feel like I missed a lot from it as a whole, in terms of the messages. I wonder if Jenkins was trying to be a middle ground between Delano and Ennis. Jenkins's stories never really dealt too much with the smaller aspects of Constantine's life, but everything ultimately tied back to his direct actions. He seemed to keep him at the center, but at the same time deal with other ideas. While it's always good to fit in, if only it were under better circumstances...
  14. Thanks! I wish I could have been here when the series was in its prime. I've been skimming through old threads to try and get a taste of that. Great profile picture, by the way.
  15. Dangerous Habits is definitely the quintessential Hellblazer story. It has just enough crudeness, humanity, and emotion all while dealing with a supernatural threat (plus the epilogue led me to my favorite song). I'm curious: how do people who haven't read previous issues react to it?
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