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JohnMcMahon

John Constantine, Hellblazer #4

Your marks out of 10 for John Constantine, Hellblazer #4 please....  

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  1. 1. Your marks out of 10 for John Constantine, Hellblazer #4 please....

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JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER #4

written by SIMON SPURRIER
art by MATÍAS BERGARA
cover by JOHN PAUL LEON

John Constantine was missing for years—and in that time, England needed a mystical protector, a guardian at the gates. Heroically, the young man known as Tommy Willowtree stepped into the breach! This cosmically attuned mage has held evil at bay with the force of his positive white magic, unlocking a new era of peace for the citizens of London. He is a gentleman, a scholar, a clean-living, vegan acolyte of love.
So naturally, John Constantine hates his effing guts. And now they have to team up. Great.

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Fun little issue this, gave me a couple of laughs and a flashback to one of my first ever issues of Hellblazer, #110.

Gorgeous fill-in art too, really suited the story - especially the opening sequence.

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The art takes me back to the wonderful days of Riley Rossmo on Hellblazer, back when you knew that John was bisexual, and we weren't having any arguments about it.

I am a fan of Rossmo's art though, so I won't complain.

Yeah, it was pretty funny. I don't mind seeing  some comic relief pop up in HB once in a while, amidst all the darkness.

I mean, after the "grim 'n' gritty" Azzarello run, it was nice to get a few laughs like "Ashes and Dust"....Oh, wait.

Hopefully, this is only a two-parter though. I can't say I want to see this type of story go on for very long.

Also, it get points for not mangling meaning for any famous poets. So, 7 it is.

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It is indeed a two parter, it's not high comedy but

John going to all the trouble of slipping back into his old duds only to get attacked by a shit monster

got a laugh from me.

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1 hour ago, JohnMcMahon said:

It is indeed a two parter, it's not high comedy but

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John going to all the trouble of slipping back into his old duds only to get attacked by a shit monster

got a laugh from me.

A shit monster a neck beard failed to stop. Then again maybe the shit monster was meant to be DiDio

 

I feel for him. He might as well just settle for a suit vest and call it a day as backup. Still, for a one of a 2 parter, it feels very Jenkins with a dash of Ennis. A combo you can't go wrong with.

 

8/10

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Yeah, keep saying it cause it's true - it just all feels very 'Hellblazer', could easily be following hot on the heels of Milligans run on the original title.  There's an argument to be had that it's a little Hellblazer-by-the-numbers but (1) I LIKE the numbers and (2) we haven't had this in so long it feels kinda fresh again!  

Spurrier's done a lot right and it's still early in the game but his triumph so far hasn't just come from nailing John himself but in the fledgling crew he's built around him.  I'm fond of them already and can't wait for them to all suffer horribly cause of their closeness to our boy John!    

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There's the darkness inherent in the (political) setting Spurrier has given John, which just happens to be our world, which is working very well for me, and helping the "Hellblazer by the numbers" plotting.

It has the benefit of taking place a number of years after Milligan's run, whereas the current run's plotting may not have worked as well had it come immediately after Milligan. However, there's an almost oppressive and somewhat dystopian feel to this world that JC is currently operating that I think would have added appeal even had it followed immediately after Milligan. Plus, it probably would have helped as still feeling like a breath of fresh air with proper characterization for John again after Milligan.

That's a tone and setting that I don't feel has palpably been a part of Hellblazer since the Delano days, with their running commentary on Thatcher's Britain.

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Spurrier has confirmed on his Twitter that he plans for all his stories to be three issues at most and his run to be a series of these short stories that cohere into a larger macro plot. So at the very least, if he happens to write a bad story, at least it won't go on forever like some Constantine tales of years past...

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This run gets better and better. That's exactly what I wanted to see in HB. I'd say that HB's type of horror stories are best suited to a no-more-than-three part story, with maybe an occasional longer story-arc thrown in as something more major happening....which was how HB was written during the Delano, Ennis, and Jenkins days.

Even with the "golden era" of Delano, something like the "Fear Machine" story-arc was too drawn out and became a sprawl, not really working.

You can see the overarching plot developing with this issue, where there are references to the racist violence depicted in the first story-arc, and hints of an "old man" being responsible.

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Good shout on the feeling of the modern world that the displaced Constantine finds himself in Christian, it's almost like reading a story about a dystopian future but it's actually set in our present!

I wonder how they're going to collect this run given the shorter story arcs, are we going to see a mix of 5/7 issue trades ?

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3 hours ago, JohnMcMahon said:

Good shout on the feeling of the modern world that the displaced Constantine finds himself in Christian, it's almost like reading a story about a dystopian future but it's actually set in our present!

It's probably how it'd feel if you'd mysteriously appeared at the end of last year after having a bunch of weird censored stand ins filling in for you since 2013.

(This issue could even be read as a deliberate dig at the previous DCU Constantines, come to that...)

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The issue was fun and funny. 

John trying to drink Tommy 'man bun' under the table and failing made me laugh. 

The three arc micro stories sounds good. 

I wonder why evil old man Constantine is stirring up trouble?

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Maybe he's being run by the First of the Fallen?

 

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I thought Evil Old Constantine was meant to be the one from the end of Hellblazer. The message I got from the Book of Magics that led into this was that Evil Old Gemma shot him up with a dose of Happy.

 

Back on this book, most of the above.

It was fun. It also felt like Lesson 101 in how to make a hipster version of Hellblazer without making Constantine a dick. Cool youth "Chas", benign laughable "Nick Neckbeard", same old Constantine. An excellent step in a cohesive run of shorter stories. 

 

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I forgot to mention that John is right on the money with his comments about the art in this issue.

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I thought that old man John was the JC from HB #300 also. I was wondering if the "old man" being referred to by hipster Tom was supposed to be Old Man Constantine or not. I thought maybe it was someone else. I can't see our John stirring up racism, although an earlier issue did show Old Man Constantine meeting with that Right-Wing politician.

So, maybe Old Man Constantine really doesn't have anything to do with the classic HB series.

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9 hours ago, Christian said:

I thought that old man John was the JC from HB #300 also. I was wondering if the "old man" being referred to by hipster Tom was supposed to be Old Man Constantine or not. I thought maybe it was someone else. I can't see our John stirring up racism, although an earlier issue did show Old Man Constantine meeting with that Right-Wing politician.

So, maybe Old Man Constantine really doesn't have anything to do with the classic HB series.

Unless Old Man Conjob only blocked Willowtree  so our boy can get shit done.

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9 hours ago, JohnMcMahon said:

Need Chas to step from the shadows, like 20 issues from now, to smugly reveal to John what's going on and to lend a needed helping hand.

But he's not much time left

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If that really is Old Man John turning heel and getting cozy with Right Wingers, maybe Spurrier was inspired by the kind of aged punk rockers who pivoted from singing about anarchy and rebellion against the system to singing praises of Brexit and Trump?

Though it is also possible that this is part of a scheme he's playing to get Young John where he needs to be - in the time that's passed between #300 and now, perhaps Old Man John has become willing to make the kind of decisions that not even Classic Vertigo John at his most cynical and self-serving was capable of.

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^It sort of fits with John's interpretation under Milligan.

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I am hoping that we don't see an "old people are bad" direction for Old Man Constantine.

Sure, a lot of old people are evil and horrible excuses for humans. I don't like the thought of someone like John, who was a life-long Socialist and anti-Establishment, deciding to support anything that involves racism though. I don't believe it.

I mean, look at Bernie Sanders. He's pretty damn old, but he's not very evil or very horrible. So, not all old people are vile bigots who hate minorities. Only most of them.

Don't trust anyone over 30! Hey, you're 45 years old now, Christian! Damn!

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9 hours ago, GottaGetAGrip said:

If that really is Old Man John turning heel and getting cozy with Right Wingers, maybe Spurrier was inspired by the kind of aged punk rockers who pivoted from singing about anarchy and rebellion against the system to singing praises of Brexit and Trump?

Maybe the cattiness over the course of this issue between the ageing new romantic era dandy Constantine and the equally affected Jack Whitheall hipster mage is setting up something of that sort?

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First of all - thank the gods for John Paul Leon. The cover hit me off the shelf right away. If i was unfamiliar with the book, i would have been intrigued. If i was on the fence whether to continue buying the current run (i was) it would have swayed me towards yes, let's give this a look (it did). Art on the inside is on the weird side - appropriate for a book with weird demons. That shit monster looked awesome. The story felt fresh, true to Hellblazer and enjoyable. It did not feel abrupt - Si Spurrier writes like an old school writer and crams the book with a lot of scenes, good dialogue and sarcasm that is a must with John. Tom The New Character is in perfect balance to John and his darkness.

I like the feeling that there is a story building and some perhaps Serious Shit coming - that John in his current state might not be able to deal with - and might not even want to admit that he is off his game. He has been running on reputation for a while, but reality is catching up to him

 

I'm excited for the next issue. I thought about giving it a 7 but the more i think about it - the more i like it - plus great art, cover, new character that is enjoyable - and bringing back my enjoyment of reading Hellblazer again - shit.. i give it a 9

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On 2/29/2020 at 2:38 AM, GottaGetAGrip said:

If that really is Old Man John turning heel and getting cozy with Right Wingers, maybe Spurrier was inspired by the kind of aged punk rockers who pivoted from singing about anarchy and rebellion against the system to singing praises of Brexit and Trump?

Though it is also possible that this is part of a scheme he's playing to get Young John where he needs to be - in the time that's passed between #300 and now, perhaps Old Man John has become willing to make the kind of decisions that not even Classic Vertigo John at his most cynical and self-serving was capable of.

We're all taking it for granted that the old boy is the last panel of 300, which may not be the case. There's another Constantine who got zapped by Gemma's magic nerf gun, after all, and he'd have a good reason for taking a possessive approach to John's soul as well as explaining the physical link between the two of them. Maybe even telling John boy to be the best Constantine he can is just to free him up to be the worst himself.

Maybe it's John's evil twin...

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8 hours ago, dogpoet said:

We're all taking it for granted that the old boy is the last panel of 300, which may not be the case. There's another Constantine who got zapped by Gemma's magic nerf gun, after all, and he'd have a good reason for taking a possessive approach to John's soul as well as explaining the physical link between the two of them. Maybe even telling John boy to be the best Constantine he can is just to free him up to be the worst himself.

Maybe it's John's evil twin...

If that's the case then everything in the Milligan era was just The Golden Boy not going into that goodnight quietly in Diggle's abrupt ending.....

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