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Empathy is the Enemy

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Right so...


Part 1-Pre John Constantine


6Th Century, on the Isle of Iona, West of Scotland.

Monk Oran is Sainted and buried alive as a sacrifice for the buliding of a new abbey.

For some reason specifically, they bury him alive.

Three days later, finally succumbing to his dreams (Who sent them?) Columba exumes Oran, who is miracously still be alive.


Oran has had visions (Validated by his glimpse of 9/11) in which he claims that his fellow brothers understandings of both Heaven and Hell are woefully incorrect, that their very pathy is wrong.

He has either met or seen Big Ugly/ Azazel, the ruler of The Third Place.

He is of course ignored and reburied.

Somehow a tri-form appears on his grave.

Was he deliberately thown back and kept alive by Big Ugly to ultimately start/inspire the Empathy Engine?

What about dream mechanisms, whereby both Columba and much later Evans dream of their victims still being alive? Is that Big Ugly again?


Strangely though, Columba still sends a missive (detailing what has occured) to the Pope in Rome, but intrusting it to Fergus (a novice who Oran's warnings had effected the most and is considered expendable).

It appears that by no surprise at all, Fergus is unable to reach the main land.

By deliberate instruction he sets off crossing the waters at a poor time, and is marooned upon a the smaller Isle of Colonsay.



Finally, at the most southern point that will later be called the Isle of Oransay, Fergis dies of old age.

His message undelivered and still intact.

Before his death, he scrapes a tri-form in a rock.



9th Century, Somehow an Abbey/Priory develops on the now called Isle of Oransay.

Due to geographical isolation, it has religously mutated, developing independantly and embracing what Oran had originally warned them about.

They employed some sort of communal empathy, possibly through the actual workings of the Isles first Tri-form, first seen on Oran's actual grave.

But how?

Fergis' missive was intact and in the exact same place it was when he died and where Hugo Orply would later discover it.

In all the time Fergis spent waiting, he must have taught what he must have read in the missive?

So much so, that the isle was named Oransay?

But the missive that Columba had written was hardly some manifesto was it?

They appeared to have a working tri-form.

Was this secretly suggested by Big ugly?



1150, The Roman Chruch, concerned over The Oransay Priory's possible heracy, send connvoys to investigate.

Due to harsh geographical conditions none make it there or back.



1222, Things had escalated and Oransay Priory was officially declared heretic by the Roman Church.

Finally the Monastery and all it's worshippers were completely destroyed and out of fear hidden in history.



1822, Disatisfied protestant and student Hugo Orply, whilst holidaying with his family on the isle of Oransay, discovers Monk Fergus' body and the undelivered Missive to Rome.

Perhaps, because the idea of such a prominant Roman religous connection in Scotland and historically so early on, Hugo's uber Protestant dad burns the text.


Unperturbed, Hugo and his best friend architecture student Charles Wilson carefully recreate Oran's ritualistic suffocation, by hanging Hugo.

At a point close to death, he enters the Third Place and encounters it's master, the historically named Big Ugly.

He is saved and escapes Big Ugly, when Chuck minutes later resuscitates Hugo.

Having "Proven" the existance of the Third Place, Hugo somehow declares that Empathy is it's Enemy.

Big Ugly may have told him that though.

Importantly, it does not appear that Hugo has had any visions of the past/future or time travelled like Oran did.

This could be someting to do with the much shorter duration that Hugo was under, and that their methodology was different.


Charles Wilson and Hugo Orply form a Neo Oransay Order.

Later, Charles Wilson went on to design vast swathes of Glasgow.

Three miles outside of Glasgow, the building costs of Wilsons' Gothic Mansion/Cathedral mean that he was never able to finish his last and most important project, the Glasgow Park Circus.


The whole of Park Circus was actually shaped as a massive Tri-Form Empathy Engine.

His Mansion may have operated as some sort of hq or control for the Engine.

Wilson hoped that the massive amounts of empathy generated by the finished project would be enough to bring compassion to Victorian Britain.

It was left uncompleted.


1950 , An American industrialist, Terrance Nash, bought up the Isle of Oransay as his holiday home.

Soon however, a Glaswegian contingent approached Nash, probably started by Wilson and Orply themselves, with something called the OrplEy testament.


Probably influenced by the rumoured powers of the text or the members of this sect, Nash never leaves the island, instead he obsessively dedicates the rest of his life to their sect, becoming its leader and rebuilds the original 9th Century Oran Abbey.

They erect a working tri-form, which gave the members powers.


Later , after Nash's death, he is succeeded by Steve Evans.

Now Arch Bishop of the Oransay Contingant, Evans, who is more of an aggresive evangelist, travels back and forth from the Isle to Glasgow recruiting and spreading the word.

Evans personally spreads empathy person to person. Planting spells in people's heads and getting them to activate the power themselves.


Chapter 6, shows the woman with the Indian name Yaptamee.

Here, she is shown as one of Evans (Human?) envoys spreading Empathy person to person.


Regardless of Cole's setup, did the encounter in his story still happen before he ever met Steve Evans?

If it did, was he lying about her being a demon (although admittadly, it was John who suggested that she was a demon in the first place).

Why show her turning into a the groin-grabbing-goat-girl at the end of Chapter 1?


Steve Evan's first meets artist Chris Cole , when Chris and his fiance Charlie express an interest in the Park Terrace flat.


Like Terrence Nash, Evans befriends and converts Chris Cole.

Evans and his group are invited to the wedding.

Charlie and her Parents, remain ever cautious of Evans and his group.

Later (Six months ago, according to Charlies' Parents-Chapter 5) after their Wedding, just around the corner from Park Terrace, Chris and Charlie move in.



During one of his frequent travels, Steve Evans is gravely injured.

In a moment of weakness during his typical near death experience, he gives in and consents willingly.

Ironically, Evans now enters the Third Place and meets Big Ugly, who refers to Steve as a Magus.

Steve knows the Third Place and the Big Ugly from Oran's and Hugo's warnings to be true.

Steve somehow escapes and survives the accident.

Or is deliberately thrown back by Big Ugly?

Why was Steve's accident in any way similar to Oran's or Hugo's death, that it allowed him to enter the Third Place?

Unless, Steve was directly targeted, his souls siphoned off by Big Ugly as part of his master plan?


Working with Chris Cole infact out of his flat too, Evans realizes that he is on borrowed time, promised to the very being he wishes to destroy with his utopic ideals.

He realizes that he needs to increase his efforts drastically.

Which is exactly want Big Ugly would want.


Remaining in Glasgow, Evans takes up a lowly job within the local building council, situated close to the Park circus itself and from within hopes to finally complete Charles Wilson's Park Circus Empathy engine.


Ten months have passed since Steve's near fatal accident (according to Nicola white, which chronologically contradicts Charlie's parents) and he still needs someone to take his place to temporarily appease and stall Big Ugly, preferably a Magus of equal power.

Once he has completed the Park Circus Empathy Engine, which only he can turn on, he can then return to his damnation in the Third Place, knowing that his work will change the world for the better.

Evans estimates that the Engine will be complete in one week.

He claims to being hounded by Big Ugly and is concerned that he might be claimed jsut short of that week.


Evans has selected other Magi already, they have all proven to be morally unworthy, or not thta type that could be manipulated into voluntary martydom.

Finally Evans chooses the hard drinking, heavy smoking, master of bad luck magic-one John Constantine, as his next target.


Cole's flat, part of the very Park Circus formation appears to generate localised Empathy or Synthetic Empathy too.

Even though it is uncompleted, some of the Park Circus Emapathy Engine is already working.


Through this Empathy and with Evans' help, Cole studies John Constantine.

This intensive study, is immediately reflected in Cole's work as his style rapidly changes (artistically for the worse), and Cole seems to only paint highly personal images from John's life.

These paintings may be the source of all/most of Evans' personal info re John Constantine.



One, of Chris' neigbours, a couple, submit an objection to the final building plans of The Wilson Group.

Evans, in his council job, sees this submission and he either gets Cole, or Cole volunteers to torch their building, deliberately killing the couple and their baby.


The building is damaged so badly, that it needs to be rebuilt.

Evans uses his position within the council to ensure that this section is rebuilt in accordance with Charles Wilson's early plans for the Park Circus Tri-Form Empathy Engine.

But actually Big Ugly's plan all along?


Chris is suspected of the arson and arrested, but is released on bail- probably paid for by the wealthy Evans.



2-3 Days, before Christmas, Cole murders Charlie, probably at Evans' behest.

Does this occur in Cole's flat, or in Charlies' Parents House?


The police think she is missing, and only find her wedding ring, handbag and purse.


Evans and Chris either hire/ or use a fellow acolyte to be a stand in for Charlie.

She is mind wiped clean, and specific Charlie phrases (ie Renegade Idiot) are planted.

It is unlikely that the stand in looks identical to Charlie.

So Chris and Evans probably replace all of the photos of Charlie in Cole's flat, with photos of this stand in instead.

One photo is deliberately bloodied.



Finally , Evans selectively wipes and recreates Cole's memory, curses him with a nasty version of the Empathy spell and sends him packing to John Constantine in London.

This is possibly a well practiced routine Cole and Evans may have already honed upon other unsuitable Magi.


Probably only speific to John alone, Evans somehow hires Anita Nelson (probably because of Cole's paintings) or she is/has already been part of the Oransay contingment (Her Tri-Form necklace and the fact that her brother Kenny Nelson is in The Third Place).

If the latter is the case, she might have been the one to suggest John Constantine to Evans in the first place.


Cole is to test and bait John Constantine back to Glasgow.

The very helping of Cole is part of the morality test.


The second part of the test, is the murder of an innocent, that would somehow force both John and Cole out of London, back to Glasgow and back to Evans.


Anita Nelson forms a third part of the Evan's test and trap en route.

She is to alert John to the presence of the Third Place or atleast the suffering, the brutal numbness of it's denizens, in this case Anita's brother Kenny that John new as a young boy.

Now damned, deliberately or not.

She is also to spur John towards Steve Evans, by ironically warning him against it completely.


For most of this test/trap tp work, Evans must expect the Empathy spell on Cole to backfire on himself and John, once John cures Cole?

John has to Feel Kenny's desolation in The Third Place.

The empathic linking to John allows Evans to control his trap better.

It's all higly elaborate though, and personally a bit thin.


Ultimately , John Constantine is to consensually take Evans' place in the Third Place, temporarily stalling Big Ugly until the Park Circus Empathy Engine is completed and operational a week later.

But the active Empathy Engine is exactly what Big Ugly wants.

Did he sew the seeds of this as far back as Wilson and Orply or Oran?


I'll do the second part soon, which is where it will get tricky, and is really the point of all of this.


I'll edit any mistakes too.

So post away.

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This is great. Thanks, Rohne. It's very helpful as I've forgotten a lot of this stuff.

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This is great. Thanks, Rohne. It's very helpful as I've forgotten a lot of this stuff.

It definitely helps chronologically.

You really get a sense of how big the scope Mina's overall plot is.


The second half (starting with #216), will be the hard and contestable bit, please check or correct any mistakes, assumptions on my part.

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Great stuff, and as you said it shows the magnitude of the story, what i didnt grasp while reading it.

I dont have a clue of quite a few stuff youre talking about.

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Cheers I'll try to finish it part 2, ie issues 1-7 according to Evans and Cole plan, and why I think it's still too elaborate to be a working masterplan.


But again you really get the scope of Mina's overall story though.

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Curious: Where'd you get Azazel from? Isn't he supposed to be in hell or trapped in the dreaming?

(I haven't gotten past the 4th Sandman collection)

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Curious: Where'd you get Azazel from?


That's what John calls him this issue. Same name, different demon.

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This seems the right place to note that I was up in Glasgow at the weekend, and paid a visit to Park Circus. There's quite a lot of redevelopment and building work going on there.


Should we be worried? (Especially as the Joan Eardleys at the Kelvingrove are out on loan.)

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I'm almost embarrassed tosay it makes me want to go back and reread it. Still, as much as I liked Mina's John, the plot just sort of petered out underneath her, so to speak. It needed a wee bit more viagra I guess. But that very ambitious first post does speak to the levels Mina attempted to bring forth, some more successful than others.

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I read to issue 222 of E is E, and I must profoundly disagree with myself regarding my thoughts for Mina's first foray into Hellblazerland. First, her storytelling style, obviously a product of her career as a novelist, is more conducive to the graphic novel format presentation. Serialized, it didn't seem to have a comfortable pacing. It seemed to drag like a big bag of potatoes after waiting a month to drag those potatoes. But, being able to jog at a brisk pace reduced the labor needed to drag that potato sack around, and has so far made for a more enjoyable second experience. Mina's action takes place out of frame, for the most part, or it is eluded to as a small part in a collage of images. Most of the narrative takes place after significant events unfold or just before. And it works when you don't hAVE to stop and wait a month every 22 pages. In fact, I was rather unamused by E is E on its first go round, and owe Denise Mina a huge "take back".


It does sort of hit rough terrain in #222, however. Synthetic empathy got an unintended laugh. The initial exchange between our John and Evans was sort of clumsily executed, and there was something else I don't readily recall--enough to jack it pretty hard but not kill it. As I recall, though, RRH is when I got really impatient with this story. A year is far too long and ambitious for telling a comic story, damn your special events, civil wars, dimensional reckonings, et al. What took 13 issues (or so) should have taken 8 at the absolute longest. I am saying this, however, prior to giving RRH its second day in court. Suffice to say, I am enjoying this more than I did last time--I always liked her presentation of JC, felt she got his character down well and quickly. I also liked the girl, Cole's rep who became the Angie/Piffy/Zed character of this tale. She was fun to read. And Manco's art, while very dark and brown, fits Mina's plot better than it did in Down where the Dead Men go or The Gift, etc.


[ Spoiler : (I found a context error as they are about to bury John. As Cole digs the grave in which John is to be placed, he says to his colleague "turn that torch off" implying it is the British term for torch which we Yanks refer to as flashlights. Manco drew the old school fire torch which makes the line seem funny. Turn off that burning thing that doesn't have an ON-OFF switch.) ]

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