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Hellblazer #216

Your marks out of 10 for #216  

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  1. 1. Your marks out of 10 for #216

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Hellblazer #216

 

fhb216.jpg

 

(W) Denise Mina

(A) Leonardo Manco

(Cover) Greg Lauren

 

Now, award-winning novelist Denise Mina (Garnethill, Deception, Field of Blood), one of the hottest rising talents in 21st-century fiction, takes over Vertigo's longest-running title with the 7-part story "Empathy is the Enemy." Mina and ongoing artist Leonardo Manco open one of the most haunting chapters yet in John Constantine's macabre career. Constantine, still brooding over his recent ordeal, meets Chris Cole, an ordinary bloke who made the mistake of messing with a "harmless" bit of magic. He looks to Constantine to pull him out from the nightmare. But when Cole drops the name of an infamous Scottish occultist, Constantine realizes the nightmare is just getting under way - and he's about to plunge in. Wrapped in the unique look of acclaimed painter Greg Lauren's eerie covers, the new era of HELLBLAZER is sure to become an overnight legend.

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Hard to judge this one much as it's basically all Chris Cole's backstory. Manco's art is pretty consistent throughout and I especially liked the detail he brought to most of the backgrounds. But so far we have a demon ripping off someone's bollocks and a one panel return of Constantine's ghosts. Not a bad way to start things off.

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This was hard to judge. I gave it an 8 because the writing was good.

Actually, the plot sent a chill up my spine a few times, as it rang too close to home for me on more than one occasion.

It was one of the few times where I went, "Damn! I wish I had this all in a Trade!"

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From what I can tell Chris Cole's shirt, the one Constantine admires and is last seen in John's trenchcoat pocket is of late 70s/early 80s band Wreckless Eric whose song "Whole Wide World" is pretty damn good.

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Yeah, Wreckless Eric, that's a nice touch. Surprisingly full of brand names that pub scene.

 

I liked this issue a lot. Stripped of too much continuity baggage, I can see Ms Mina and Sr Manco doing the business here. The story of Chris Cole is a conundrum, and who else was trying to mouth the spell backwards even before John deciphered it for Chris? The family's story read a bit awkwardly to me, something to do with the flow from one person to another.

 

Incidentally, the "distressed glamour magazine cover" works better than I'd have thought. But it is TOTALLY worthless as an indication of the story within - other than Leo possibly referencing it on the 1st page. As I said before I wish there'd been more of a coherent theme.

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all too true, Ade. I understand that Empathy is possibly the hooker-like girl on the cover but it is rather useless.

 

anyway, as for the story itself: very good. the most interested I've been in a Hellblazer story for a while now. good stuff.

 

Manco's art was solid, except for some very chunky art on the first couple of pages. that said, I'd love that final panel as a poster or something. fantastic Constantine pose with all the ghost in the background.

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I like all the brand names Manco has detailed. It's good to know what kind of beer everyone is drinking...gives it a more real touch. Speaking of detail...whose picture is that on Steve Evans' coffee mug? It's prominantly featured in two panels so I might assume it's of some relevance.

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The cover's crap. Story's not much better. I thought the dialogue was pretty stupid. "What?" "What what?" "What?" The sequence of events felt disconnected and sort of pointless, there didn't seem to be much of a reason for anything happening. And why would John help this guy, especially after Cheryl's death and giving up on magic? So he jumps right back in with both feet for a complete fucking stranger? For free? Just to mix it up with this Steve Evans character? I generously give it a 5.

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Gave it a 7. Compellingly portentous, I thought - I think I'm reassured that this'll be a good run on the book. Only thing I'd complain about was that I thought Empathy seemed too obviously to look like Death.

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The cover's crap. Story's not much better. I thought the dialogue was pretty stupid. "What?" "What what?" "What?" The sequence of events felt disconnected and sort of pointless, there didn't seem to be much of a reason for anything happening. And why would John help this guy, especially after Cheryl's death and giving up on magic? So he jumps right back in with both feet for a complete fucking stranger? For free? Just to mix it up with this Steve Evans character? I generously give it a 5.

 

One possible reason in keeping with recent events is that he's just torn the Tate Club a new arse and probably sees Evans' challenge as a chance to continue in that vein.

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Enjoyed the first half but the second felt a little clumsy - I didn't get the impression that John was out to help Cole but rather to find out who pointed him his way in the first place.

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Yes, I agree that the end half of the comic felt very clumsy.

Almost like Mina was rushing to finish up the first issue in the alloted pages, which is what made me wish I was reading the whole story in one setting, as it just cut off.

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I found myself confused as the story would jump to different characters and didn't really see some connection between some of the characters. Maybe I should read again...

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Just read it in my insomniacal state, and I liked it. Some of the dialogue was a bit clunky, but not to the point of distraction. A good opening, with a promise of goodness to come.

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Reread it again this morning over my morning cuppa and warmed to the second half a bit - two little parts didn't work for me, mainly cause they've been done a million and one times before, namely the backwards talking and the energy spiel.

 

John has some cracking lines and the empathy curse yoke is a neat little concept - 8/10 for me.

 

A final word on the cover, this is the first time in yonks that I've had to scan the shelves carefully to pick out Hellblazer, which is saying something given that this issue had a big purple logo on it.

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Didn't they chose these covers, faults an' all, so they'd stand out, and i thought they would at least do that?!

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Well i gave it a 7. I thought the art was pretty good and the story started off well but kinda got dragged in the latter parts.....but since its her first one i was fairly pleased....the cover is truly fucking awful though. :glare:

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Well I just conducted a non-scientific cover experiment here as I have #215 and #216 here in the officer for Rogan -

 

Even though John's head is partically obscuring the actual title, you can clearly tell it's Hellblazer from across the room - it's bright and colourful, really can't miss it. #216 Just looks like a brown smudge and the purple is too dark so you can't make out what the title actually says!

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Clearly the covers are a step backwords. Did anyone else notice that because Lauren's sig was cropped from the cover they added it in with typeset? Why would they do that?

 

As far a the inside goes, it was good, i gave it a nine, perhaps i'm being a little generous, but being that this is Denise's first issue of a comic ever, it was aces. I can't wait to see how improved she is at the end of the run. I thought the Empathy curse was quite clever. I feel like the book is in solid hands....

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Guest spiderlegs

I found the story to be compelling. I have a hard time rating introductory issues, which this issue obviously was, when I don't know where the story will take me yet. If the story arc kicks ass, well, the introduction is good, then. But as its own capsule, I liked the "two words" and the misery with which they came. Sort of a fucked up monkey's paw. I felt like some of John's lines were shoved too much in a "how would he say that" box--I actually believe there is a subtle artistic balance in the way John uses the various forms of "fuck"--but she can find his voice, I'm sure. But why John stopped saying "innit" (dating back to Azarello, innit?) is beyond me. That term has permeated into my own slang library, though I'm sure my American accent diminishes its charm somewhat.

 

I expect that the story is going somewhere interesting. Not to dog the new cover guy, but I do miss that last guy, oul' Tim Whosis--Bedsheet? Was that his name?

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I enjoyed this issue.

 

I thought for what the cover lacked in vividness it definatly made up for in the detail. I like the way that Johns hair is subtley modernised as if he has applied gel yet retained a desheveled look. I liked the way his trenchcoat looks. True the banner is poor, and I secretly hoped they would revert back to the original style, but its a nice cover, and rather simple really, and in the comic shop it stood from the bright colours that filled the shelves. Not sure about the background girlie, yet.

 

The story is a perfect welcome, well it was for me and I ahvent been buying the title for a while. It not too complicated, with a simple enough twist. The pub setting immediatly gives any new readers an idea of what John is about, as does the rest of the story.

 

I am going to be urging people to start collecting from this issue, because the story, in my mind is so accessable.

 

The start of the conversation, the 'whats' made me smile, its very accurate of that type of thing. I liked John having a Guinness, obviously and thought that the attention to detail with all bradning was quite a nice touch.

 

Initially I thought the art work was too dark, but the image on the bottom of page 6, caught something and the 'daylight' frames had interesting shadings.

 

I liked the way that the girl looked like a pseudo-Death look-alike, and initially wondered if thats what the character was about -playing silly buggers and pretending to be one of the endless.

 

Overall I am pleased with the begining of mina's run and slightly intrigued, I like the way that a confrontation is set up and how there was enough nastiness and horror but not gratuously portrayed.

 

It ranvcours with me that DC have not supported this more, as it is really a great jumping on point. Obviously Mina has a bit to go before I am totally convinced, but its a great start to her run.

 

Just right IMHO - 9

 

Jamesb

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I enjoyed this quite a lot, the pacing was slightly awkward for me on a couple of pages, possibly just because Denise is adjusting to the monthly comic format, but it didn't damage the overall effect of an unsettling introduction to an initially sympathetic character in the shape of Cole and the possible empathy a weary John seems to feel for him (echoes of his own fuck ups?), or is John just working him to get to the information of who has fingered him?

 

I felt a strong sense of horror at the scene portraying the predicament of the father of the baby, it pushed the right (panic) buttons and really threw me off balance for the rest of the issue... exactly what I want from my monthly dose. The pub scenes were great, really good interaction and fantastic art work. I'm a huge fan of Manco and while the demands of getting this stuff out every month usually mean there's the odd few panels which seem a bit rushed (the beach scene wasn't as hot as it could have been), I thought most of it was absolutely superb. The page where Cole uses the spell on the couple with the baby and the page where he starts off with "I started smoking again" were the dogs bollox.

 

Talking of bollox - did she really pull that guy's bollocks off? It didn't look like she (it) was starting close enough at first but in the next shot he seems to be definitely clutching where his meat and two veg (sorry make that meat on it's own) should have been!

 

Last question, is that meant to be Steve Evans standing with John's ghosts in the final panel? If it is, is it harking back to something that I've forgotten about or is it looking to the future?

 

A solid start so 8 for me as well. (or do I take one off for the cover??)

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