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Christian

The Hellblazer #16 and beyond

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Yeah, I couldn't resist that Sean Philips cover when I saw it on the stands. I decided to pick up the final issue. My review will follow after reading. I'm not sure how well I'll follow it, since I haven't read the book since the first issue of the Richard Kadrey story-arc.

Update: So, that's how this ends, eh? Wow. I guess the writers knew that John would be appearing in JLD next. Well, this was $2.99 wasted. I found this to be a horrible read. Sure, I didn't know the back-story, but regardless, the writing was just plain bad. This read like an issue of Huntress guest-starring JC, and I have pretty much zero interest in her (even though I did read some of the '80s series I found in a 25cent box). I'd have to say that I prefer Peter Milligan's run on HB over what I saw of this series. I would rather not read either, but Milligan's awful had some sense of trying to do something different. This was just badly written, but it was about as mediocre and safe as you can get. It's about how I remember this volumn of Hellblazer's quality from when I was wasting my time reading it.

As I've said three times before now (HB #300, New 52 John, DCU John), it's a mercy killing.

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It's a rather odd way to end a Hellblazer series - John gets a stiffy as Huntress verbally abuses him and then they make out. Oh, and he um also turned his ex-girlfriend into a vampire.

Presumably the Djinn died on the way back to their home planet.

Seeley's second story definitely was a step down and probably more from his first. Huntress' presence in the story never really did shake the feeling of her being out of place, and the role her backstory played in foiling the mobster's plans in this final issue were a blatant attempt at justifying her presence. And as nice as it was seeing Nergal and other familiar faces again, that excitement dims when it becomes apparent that there is not much to them in this story besides fan-service.

(speaking of familiar faces why did Seeley use Blythe from the Tynion/Doyle Constantine as John's demon lady friend instead of Ellie? You'd think John might be a little wary about dealing with the demon who pretty much sent his boyfriend Oliver from that series to hell. I guess John ultimately cared about him as much as we did)

John's girlfriend in this arc lacks any sort of compelling characterization to make me care what happened to her. She pretty much is just a plot device to motivate John, and she spent most of the story as a vessel for the mobster villains anyhow. And it was rather dickish, even for John, that his bright idea for saving her from demonic possession was to turn her into a vampire. I suppose it is a novel way to show that John dooms everyone around him.

On the plus side, Davide Fabbri's art definitely improved compared to what he was putting out during Oliver and Kadrey's stints.

This might just be the weakest ending to a Hellblazer/Constantine series yet. Bad as 300, New 52, and DCYou might have been their endings were the culmination of their writer's grand plot and tried to have some gravity to them. (Tried being the key word) This just feels like the start of an odd new status quo (Another wrench is thrown into Constantine and his roommate vampire ex-girlfriend's relationship when Constantine's cool new superhero girlfriend moves in!) that Seeley wanted to play with, only since the series is ending, these are just plot points that will probably be forgotten whenever DC tries again with Hellblazer.

It's a directionless series that finally slowed to a stop, is what I can say to sum it up.

Perhaps the best thing to do with John is to give his solo books a rest. People on the Internet like to say "give it back to Vertigo" but I feel Vertigo won't make much of a difference if the creative team has nothing interesting to say or try or much of a plan for the character. And a plan doesn't make much of a difference, considering Simon Oliver and all the rest had plans too...

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I also hope it will be a long time before we see John Constantine starring in his own series again. Keep him as a guest-star if DC really wants to keep him out of limbo, but that's all he should be at this point. It's been far too long since a JC story has read as if the writer had a real plan for the character, instead of just wanting to write John Constantine. It was probably during the Mike Carey run when it seemed like a writer last had some actual direction in mind for the character, instead of continuity-mining or writing John wildly out of character.

I give you props for remembering who the hell Blythe actually was, as I totally forgot about that character. I thought it was some new character from the part of the story I skipped. Yeah, odd to see her being treated that way. Why bring back that particular character if you're just going to ignore what the creative team did on that book? Better to just pretend that Doyle's JC never happened.

If I remember correctly, even the Doyle book seemed to just ignore what happened with Blythe and Oliver shortly after it happened on the page.

Yes, the next iteration of Hellblazer will be a quite fun sitcom about some crazy mismatched pairings living together in the big city. It will be similar to Friends.

I did like the ending of the Doyle Hellblazer series. I thought it was a pretty fitting ending that I probably wouldn't have even minded seeing in the real Hellblazer comic (just that final page, I mean, not the entire final issue, which while it was an ending, instead of what this book gave the reader, was also a pretty bad comic book)....as everything that followed issue #300 is not really Hellblazer, but just a bad dream. Regardless of the rest of Doyle's run being something to avoid.

The ending of the New 52 and issue #300 were weak, but yeah, much better than this ending. Considering that Seeley admitted that he knew that DC wanted him to wrap up this version of John, it reads a lot like a writer who didn't realize the book was being canceled by issue #24.

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This is the solicitation copy for issue #24. I think that editorial meddling reared its head. I'm guessing at some point DC decided to stick John in JLD, when that wasn't the original intention (he wasn't listed as a member originally). Because of that, DC had to get Seeley to rewrite his original ending. The issue we got bears no resemblance to what is described. Even the main cover (not that lovely Philips cover!) seems to point to something else than what's contained in the pages of the comic.

It sounds like Seeley might have had a decent ending planned here.

What would you sacrifice to save someone from damnation? The final chapter of 'The Good Old Days' puts what may be the final nail in John Constantine's coffin: preparing to say goodbye to this mortal coil, John's oddly introspective, brooding over an ex-lover who's possessed by demons. Since she can't be exorcised, she's bound for Hell-unless John makes the ultimate sacrifice and takes her place. Pack light, John-we hear it's warm where you're going.

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Yeah, I think this must be far from what Seeley originally had planned, it seemed for sure that he had something more appropriately "final" in the works for the end of this story.  I get all the complaints, but I actually really liked Seeley's brief tenure here, though this arc wasn't anywhere near as good as his first.  Margaret Ames was a plot device, sure, and one who really got the short shrift in the artwork department (I swear Fabbri increased her breasts by a cup size each issue, she was approaching Power Girl levels by the last issue), but I quite liked John's characterization and his interactions with the other characters.  I didn't even mind Huntress, whose appearance was more than the typical "guest star superhero twat", like Captain Marvel in the Fawkes run.

All that said, I think it's a mercy killing to end John's series at this point.  It's a bit sad that it'll be the first time I'm not buying a Hellblazer/Constantine comic every month, even when the quality was down I still didn't regret it (well, okay, maybe by the end of Doyle's run, that shit was awful).  Maybe let the character lay in rest for a few years before trying again.

RIP John, you deserved better.

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Well, if you really want to continue buying a comic with John Constantine every month, you could always pick up Justice League Dark. I think John is supposed to be a regular cast member. In the first issue, he only showed up for one brief scene, dressed in a really nifty outfit.

Worrying too much about continuity can really hurt a book. If Seeley had plans for a permanent ending for John, and DC said that John was going to make a guest-appearance in JLD, which would be too confusing for readers based on the original ending of The Hellblazer, so they forced him to completely change his final issue, then that's just a shame.

I don't understand how DC can pretend that all these iterations of John are the same character. DC has a Multiverse now, why is it so hard for them to just go with the idea that John Constantine from HB was different than later versions of John, and that the JC in JLD is a different character than the JC from The Hellblazer. It makes a lot more sense than trying to figure out how John looked and acted like a guy in his early-20s in the Doyle series, but then looked to be in his 30s for the current series, but we all have to pretend that John is really in his 60s because of the original series. That seems more confusing to me than just saying it was an alternate universe version of John.

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I think I'll pass on JLD, didn't like the last incarnation of it at all.  I agree that DC's attempts to force every iteration of a character into one timeline is a bit excessive, I think it tells more about how they perceive their readership (dumb as fuck) than it does about the readers themselves, who are more than capable of keeping multiple versions of characters straight in their minds.

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So I started reading this newest series just so I could complain along with you guys : P

First of all, just finished issue 10 and the damned Djin crap is still going. Worse, the first 6 issues were a wasteland of repeated scenes and absolutely nothing happening, the main villain is only starting to look like less of a ponce around issue 9, what little happened in issues 7 and 8 was rather drawn out and boring and it's not until issue 9 that we got any scene that I'd even classify as Hellblazer-like, what with the angel dismemberment scene.

Also this is shaping up to at best be a shitty rip off of Fear Machine.

Also alsor eally glad Philip Tan got the boot as the artist after two issues. His wanna be manga art style is so shit it looks like something farted out by Nick Simmons. Yes that one.

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Well, fortunately for you the Djinn stuff is almost over - the ending makes it rather obvious that Oliver was taken off the book earlier than he had planned (I recall him stating in early interviews that his initial Djinn Bender plan was a three-story arc - in the end he finished only two) and as such he had no idea how to satisfactorily resolve his Djinn Bender. Though the book just sort of meanders after that, bouncing from Tim Seeley to Richard Kadrey to Tim Seeley again like a game of hot potato until its cancellation.

I have a feeling that Phillip Tan could be a good comic artist, but much of his art that I've seen ends up feeling half-finished, and hard to follow. Perhaps he's an artist who doesn't do monthlies well?

Moritat was probably my favorite artist that they got on this incarnation of Hellblazer. His art wasn't perfect by any means but he had a unique style that fulfilled the "fantasy-creeping-into-mundane" and "urban social horror" vibe that I like when it comes to Hellblazer art. Too bad he was removed before Oliver finished his first storyline - his art did begin to look like he was straining under deadlines in his final issue so that could be why he was replaced but the replacements were definitely were not to my tastes. Jesus Merino did do a good job though on Seeley's first arc - wish he could have stayed to draw the remaining issues.

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I just got there.

12 issues of blathering on about Abby Arcane and she never even shows up. 10 issues in they suddenly bring up King Solomon and some sort of machine and that never gets explained. Six issues devoted to finding a damn book to find the way to a city we never get to see.

If they had to boot Oliver off the book, couldn't the next guy at least try and wrap that up instead of making the previous 12 issues a complete and utter waste and just starting off something else ?

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Honestly, the first Seeley arc with Jesus Merino was the only bit of the newest series I'd recommend at all.  The Oliver and Kadrey stuff was awful, and Seeley's last arc was stretched out way too long.

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Did you really want to see more plots about the Djinn after Oliver just wasted twelve issues moving the story by an incremental inch? I, personally, was pretty relieved that we were finally moving on from what Oliver was doing on the title. Seeing what followed upon Oliver's story-arc ending, I wasn't any happier about where the book ended up, but I was still somewhat relieved that it wasn't going to continue being about the Djinn.

Really, the book had no excuse for existing other than that DC wanted a Hellblazer comic book.

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17 minutes ago, Christian said:

Did you really want to see more plots about the Djinn after Oliver just wasted twelve issues moving the story by an incremental inch? I, personally, was pretty relieved that we were finally moving on from what Oliver was doing on the title. Seeing what followed upon Oliver's story-arc ending, I wasn't any happier about where the book ended up, but I was still somewhat relieved that it wasn't going to continue being about the Djinn.

Really, the book had no excuse for existing other than that DC wanted a Hellblazer comic book.

I'd have at least liked to have gotten some resolution to literally any of this.

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Okay, finished the stupid Bardo Score thing. Yet another damp squib I feel, where Seeley just starts setting things up but then doesn't have much actual substance so everything gets undone almost immediately. The ease with which the bad guy was taken down and his rather shallow plan were very disappointing to say the least.

 

Edit: welp did not realise this had already ended. Honestly I would not mind if this continued if they: A got some quality writers and B made it for mature readers again. Cause I fee a lot of this writting attitude is down to that mentality of having to be appropriate.

The Good Old Days wasn't perfect but well, it was the only storyline in this entire run that both felt like a Hellblazer story and that also didn't feel like stuff just ended without much happening. It's kinda sad in that respect, really. 300 issues the original's lasted and since then they can't break 30 no matter what they do.

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