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Hellblazer #246

  

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  1. 1. Your marks out of 10, please....

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#246 blew. There, I said it. It was all I could do NOT to think of "Empathy is the Enemy." I also didn't care for the portrayal of John C. This one lost me just a few pages in and became laborious to finish. Fortunately, the Knowledge came out last week, making me hate #246 a little less. #245 was OK, at first, but whatever it led to wound up being quite the let down. Bring back Diggle.

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HELLBLAZER #246

 

Written by Jason Aaron

Art by Sean Murphy Cover by Lee Bermejo

 

“Newcastle Calling” Part 2 of 2. When a crew of documentary filmmakers conjure up an evil beyond their control while goofing off in Newcastle, it’s up to Constantine to save the day. But can he overcome the memories of his greatest failure to save a crew of ignorant Americans?

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#246 blew. There, I said it. It was all I could do NOT to think of "Empathy is the Enemy." I also didn't care for the portrayal of John C. This one lost me just a few pages in and became laborious to finish. Fortunately, the Knowledge came out last week, making me hate #246 a little less. #245 was OK, at first, but whatever it led to wound up being quite the let down. Bring back Diggle.

 

 

Agreed. It was a major disappointment. But the good news is...it's done.

 

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#246 blew. There, I said it. It was all I could do NOT to think of "Empathy is the Enemy." I also didn't care for the portrayal of John C. This one lost me just a few pages in and became laborious to finish. Fortunately, the Knowledge came out last week, making me hate #246 a little less. #245 was OK, at first, but whatever it led to wound up being quite the let down. Bring back Diggle.

 

 

Agreed. It was a major disappointment. But the good news is...it's done.

 

Oh dear... I was hoping things would hot up. I suppose I'll try and see for myself though. I don't mind thinking of "Empathy is the Enemy" so much btw, it is "Red Right Hand" that pisses me off. Especially as a Nick Cave fan funnily enough.

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Yeah, definitely a lackluster finish... 245 wasn't great, but it seemed like the story could have gone somewhere interesting, but instead we get even more people going crazy, which just felt done to death, and John defeating a demon off-panel. This was pretty much the definition of a filler story.

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Yeah, that didn't work.

The shoddy writing of John explaining the significance of Newcastle to that guy. Aaron's a good writer, and I feel he must've been uninspired.

The revelation about John's continued connection with Newcastle, that was never mentioned in the book before.

The contradictory ending....if John could've done that originally, why didn't he just do that?

And, the plot did seem reminiscent of Mina's story-arc, although with more shock for the sake of shock horror cliches. Oh, but the guy falling in love with the dead dog was still hilarious.

The art....John was wearing a trenchcoat with zippers on the sleeve, wasn't he? What was that?

I'll give it a 4. I really didn't like any of it, but I sort of liked John acting as the emotionally distanced spectator, even though his dialogue was off. Although that may have been poor characterization since John blamed himself for what was happening and then went around so deadened, as if he were saying, "I've been put into this plot far too many times and I'm growing bored with it." I thought the cover was great.

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Haaaaa! That was great! Nice one, Adrian.

 

I understand how I keep starting topics I don't remember starting, now. It's less peyote, for me!

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What a let down. If anything, Constantine's portrayal in this issue was worse than in The Knowledge.

He's just not the sort of person who would goad someone to continue pulling their veins and tissue from their body. He's not that cold-hearted.

 

The issue was redeemed somewhat by the pacing of the documentary clips. The dialogue on those pages felt natural, it was witty, it was interesting. Otherwise; guff. Why Newcastle again?

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What I don't understand is this: Where was the editor, to say "This doesn't work" and "This is un-Constantine-like" and "This has been done before?" When things go bad on a comic series, I think the editor is ultimately the one to blame because it's that person's duty to make sure the final product is print-worthy. Unfortunately, I suspect some editors see fans as complainers and aren't all that concerned with what they want since they know the die-hards will keep buying. Well, this two-parter was a bit annoying to me, because it illustrates the previous sentence perfectly.

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What a let down. If anything, Constantine's portrayal in this issue was worse than in The Knowledge.

He's just not the sort of person who would goad someone to continue pulling their veins and tissue from their body. He's not that cold-hearted.

 

The issue was redeemed somewhat by the pacing of the documentary clips. The dialogue on those pages felt natural, it was witty, it was interesting. Otherwise; guff. Why Newcastle again?

 

I didn't find him to be cold hearted because of that particular "scene".

I mean, the guy had basically mangled his body past the point of any hope. What was john going to do? I mean, the guy was promptly fucked, and john just suggested that the guy keep going... the sooner to end his misery.

 

As for me. I think the story was... lacking. I did like the narrative, but on the whole... there was no point to it. I mean, honestly, whats the plot? John shows up, leaves, nothings changed, nothings happened. Thats not a story...

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Scarves = Liverpool, fans, mourning.

 

And John Smith = 7a87_1.JPG

 

 

 

Oh! Okay, I guess I didn't make the Liverpool connection since I'm from New York. :)

 

But I'm embarrassed about missing the obvious John Smith meaning. I was thinking in terms of the "most common name in the English language" vein, so I overlooked the more appropriate "Hellblazer writer" connotation.

 

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What a let down. If anything, Constantine's portrayal in this issue was worse than in The Knowledge.

He's just not the sort of person who would goad someone to continue pulling their veins and tissue from their body. He's not that cold-hearted.

 

The issue was redeemed somewhat by the pacing of the documentary clips. The dialogue on those pages felt natural, it was witty, it was interesting. Otherwise; guff. Why Newcastle again?

 

I didn't find him to be cold hearted because of that particular "scene".

I mean, the guy had basically mangled his body past the point of any hope. What was john going to do? I mean, the guy was promptly fucked, and john just suggested that the guy keep going... the sooner to end his misery.

 

 

I agree with you totally here.

Well, I agreed with everything you wrote, but I wanted to call attention to this, because I was thinking the same thing.

It's certainly far less out of character than with some of the bastard actions/attitudes Azzarello portrayed John.

Look back at Hellblazer #4 (I think. The Vietnam issue). John shows up, observers, realizes there's nothing he can do, and moves on. Now granted, it was far better written. Instead of seeming bored, as John was in this issue, it was an existential plot.

As I said, it seemed almost as if John, at this point in his life, is talking to the writer, "I've been here before. I'm just cold to it all by now."

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Didn't think it was that bad myself, though it's possible my expections were sufficiently lowered by the grumblings here that anything short of John getting his knob gobbled by a bulldog for twenty odd pages was going to get a pass.

 

Really liked the art and would have Murphy back in a flash, though the zippo coat was well dodgy and the big splash was lack lustre, still plenty of potential there.

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I didn't find him to be cold hearted because of that particular "scene".

I mean, the guy had basically mangled his body past the point of any hope. What was john going to do? I mean, the guy was promptly fucked, and john just suggested that the guy keep going... the sooner to end his misery.

 

My objection to the scene was that, no matter how immunised to horror or violence, I can't conceive of Constantine just sitting there saying, "Er, yeah - keep it up." As opposed to him reeling in horror. Tied into the other flaws in the story I thought it was just horror for horror's sake and an attempt to reassert what a hardened bastard John is.

 

As for me. I think the story was... lacking. I did like the narrative, but on the whole... there was no point to it. I mean, honestly, whats the plot? John shows up, leaves, nothings changed, nothings happened. Thats not a story...

 

Agree with you totally here. It felt very much like the stop-gap solution that it is. Now while I don't have a problem with that I just think it covered territory that didn't really need to be covered again, it didn't offer us any particularly insightful glimpses into Constantine or offer up any potentially interesting other characters. It's basically your typical horror movie dumb-American-kids-stumble-into-something-out-of-their-depth-and-become-horribly-mangled-as-a-result story fodder. When you compare it with Andy Diggle's opening two issues on the title (which I'd highly recommend, btw) and you see what can be done with a simple concept and execution it emerges as very, very wanting.

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I don't think John's reaction to the gutspilling chap was out of character, as above, he'd know it was useless to do anything and a bit of gallows humour is in keeping.

 

My main objection to the story is its poor execution. I'd thought a retrospective of Mucous Membrane would be more interesting (fwiw the talking heads were up there with Dog Sex 2 as the highlights) and the idea of pastiching the current vogue of ensemble cast despatched by Whatever was also worthwhile on paper. Or actually not on paper, but in principle. The reality was a story that could have been told anywhere with Constantine grafted on.

 

The art did not please me at all.

Remember when Chris Bachalo went Wrong ?

Attention to detail (zipper sleeves ? TRAINS ? people in flat caps at punk gigs ???)

The two splash pages are ugly as fuck.

 

The final page is nice though.

And not only because it contains the word "End".

 

Lee Bermejo is ace and a half isn't he?

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Yeah, where the heck did the zipper sleeves come from?? And since when does John go around in jeans in the current day? Wasn't there ANY editorial control on this story?

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They're not jeans, just blue pants, the braces have to be the tipper there!

 

I like how dirty and scratcy the art is, he bungled the big splashes but there's a funky retro feel to it in places that appeals (to me, anyway!).

 

If nothing else, like Andy's last story, at least it was a quick little horror tale.

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I don't think John's reaction to the gutspilling chap was out of character, as above, he'd know it was useless to do anything and a bit of gallows humour is in keeping.

 

Yes. Also, while he seems desensitized, there was also some sadness with John's comments in that whole scene. He wasn't laughing about it or just ignoring it. There was a sense of hopelessness and "keep on keeping on" with John's reaction.

John's reactions have always been very varied. At times, he's portrayed as very cold to all the horror, because that's who John Constantine is, someone who is able to stay calm under pressure and in his element amongst the horror. At other times, he's portrayed differently, showing more shock or emotion, and that's the creative licence of each writer.

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This one lost me just a few pages in and became laborious to finish. ... #245 was OK, at first, but whatever it led to wound up being quite the let down.

Exactly.

 

Fan fiction, target age group, bad dialogue, etc.

 

 

If nothing else, like Andy's last story, at least it was a quick little horror tale.

Quick? It took two months. "Newcastle Calling" only needed one issue to tell.

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I sort of liked the previous issue, but this all fell apart. Turns out Aaron DIDN'T have a good idea to wrap this up. He gets bonus points for extremely imaginative gore, but that's about it, really. Too bad, since I know Aaron is a good writer.

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