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Hellblazer #249

  

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HELLBLAZER #249

Written by Andy Diggle

Art by Leonardo Manco

Cover by Lee Bermejo

 

fhb249.jpg

 

Andy Diggle’s final issue! John Constantine’s journey of self-discovery comes full circle as he returns to the Ravenscar mental hospital he spent years at to face down the individual who has been manipulating him from the shadows. But this rogue has been hiding in the last place Constantine would ever think to look.

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If "the last place he'd think to look" turns out to be the mirror after all the reflection-gazing of recent years I am going to sue the person that wrote that solicit.

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If "the last place he'd think to look" turns out to be the mirror after all the reflection-gazing of recent years I am going to sue the person that wrote that solicit.

 

 

 

I bet it's down the back of the sofa.

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I always find things in the last place I look.

 

Uncanny isn't it... The weird thing is, if you look in the last place you look first, it is still the last place unless you keep looking after you find it, which of course would be either insane or stupid...

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Of course it's the last place you look. Why'd you keep looking after you found the bloody thing?

 

Also, good issue, but far too sudden an ending for the story, let alone the whole run.

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Yeah....John didn't have to look too hard. If he'd have stopped by this forum, it'd have saved him the taxi ride traffic jam.

3 minutes, tops, then?

 

Where to begin? It feels like there's a lot to be said about this issue, but I'm unsure how much I really want to say. The cover is very different for this book, that's a plus.

Have we been reading Hellblazer far too long that we know every plot detail by now, or was this all just too obvious? Interesting question.

Well, that just cut off, didn't it? What was that about the climax of last issue seeming too easy?

I can see the point of Diggle's run to be to address the fact that John's character has always seemed to run in circles. Delano made it part of the characterization with The Tower metaphor and the ending of his run was meant to change everything, but of course we know Ennis completely ignored it all. So, Diggle addresses that, but it's issue #249 now, and it feels all far too late.

Of course many of us have complained about the large amount of continuity that's been shoved into Hellblazer since Carey took over the book, and this is very much veering towards Uncanny X-Men territory, where every little thematic nuance from Claremont's run must become an important plot point in need of an explanation in the continuity minutiae.

But, what's different? What does any of this change? Better just to ignore it all by this point.

I expected that the Laughing Magician would end up being Constantine's conscience, but I'm not sure that's a direction readers of Hellblazer want to see John move in, and with Milligan taking over, I'd rather see a clean slate, as hopefully he'll move away from the past of the book now. Instead, I'm not sure what exactly it represents for John, as John always turned his back on God to the same effect, or so it would seem.

Anyway, I'll give it a 7. Hellblazer really needs change though.

I really love the first story-arc by Andy Diggle, much like I felt about Mike Carey's first story-arc. Otherwise, I feel very much the same about Diggle's run as Carey's, except Diggle's doesn't work as well as Carey's did.

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I think there are parts of this story that have been rushed for reasons Mr Diggle has stated elsewhere. As it happens, if the Burnham and Mako story had gone on, I feel it could have dragged, and the newly cleared head Constantine realising what he'd been missing all along when it was solved so quickly was a decent get out.

 

I really like this ending, as long as it is a jumping off point for the down to Earth person rather than the superheroesque Hellblazerman. Let's hope we don't get another situation like Denise Mina dropping Constantine straight back into the magickal stunts after Mike Carey had him swear off it.

 

Fingers crossed, eh.

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Didn't really work for me and I've quite enjoyed Diggle's run.

 

It's hard to articulate exactly.

I don't fault the overall storyline, it all ties up quite nicely and is a good example of why I enjoy Hellblazer runs rather than shorts.

 

It's the execution I'm afraid, although that's probably answered by Ade's circumstantially rushed suggestion.

I'd have preferred something more subtle and ambiguous.

Diggle's ideascape/world of visual metaphors turned me off just as I suppose Carey's fantasy driven penultimate arc did to some.

Tonally it was out.

Maybe things like "nexus of realities" just don't belong in a Hellblazer book.

Perhaps I might have enjoyed that more if he were infact in Ravenscar actual or having a long conversation with a mirror instead.

 

Nice continuity knitting though, aimed perfectly at people like me.

It just needed to be sharper, incisive and yet more ambiguous.

 

Carey's RSVP is the perfect way to go out.

Perhaps a few more pages of John post victory would have helped to cherry a run I rather (Art notwithstanding) enjoyed.

Again see Carey's fantastic "Alfie" ending.

 

I'm still not sure on the issue rating but suffice to say I've enjoyed the run far more than I enjoyed it's ending.

 

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The cover is very different for this book, that's a plus.

I thought it was a painfully obvious cover that's been used across all manner of comic book titles from JLA to X-Men etc.

No matter how apt.

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I thought it was a painfully obvious cover that's been used across all manner of comic book titles from JLA to X-Men etc.

No matter how apt.

 

Ah, just like the "everything you've seen over the past x years was the work of a long-forgotten (and yet strangely predictable) antagonist who's unexpectedly returned to wreak havoc on our hero's life" storyline, then.

 

Well-played, Mr Bermejo. Well-played.

 

 

An entirely-appropriate conclusion to Diggle's run, for me - competently (if unremarkably) written, aside from some pacing problems, but absolutely not the sort of story I want to see in Hellblazer. Ah, well. Hopefully Andy'll be happier on, and better-suited to, Thunderbolts, and that next month's Christmas Special will be more to my liking.

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Agreed on all.

 

I picked up this issue purely to be on board for the end of Andy's run, and other than what Mark said, I dunno what to make of it. On the one hand Andy's a fine craftsman; on the other hand, with florid dialogue and reference to obscure continuity, this issue felt like fan fiction. Even the return to Ravenscar, from the beginning of Andy's run, is pretty old material to be basing current plot points on.

 

If this is what Leo's art has been like for the past year or so, I can see why folks have been dissatisfied. It's still actually quite good, and better than a lot of published comic book art, but if you hold it up next to an issue from his first year on Mike Carey's run, there's a hell of a difference to be seen. The crude stipple is mystifying. Leo's Constantine is looking dead-on, though.

 

Was

the Golden Boy

so much as referred to at any previous point in Andy's run?

 

 

 

I can see the point of Diggle's run to be to address the fact that John's character has always seemed to run in circles. ... So, Diggle addresses that, but it's issue #249 now, and it feels all far too late.

...

But, what's different? What does any of this change? Better just to ignore it all by this point.

Yes, I agree. With all due respect to Andy, only serious fanboys would get a payoff from this.

 

 

I thought it was a painfully obvious cover that's been used across all manner of comic book titles from JLA to X-Men etc.

No matter how apt.

There's only so much you can do with comic cover concepts; they all pretty much hit the same few notes using different characters. Lee's cover still beats a Fabry montage, or JC standing in front of a brick wall staring at the camera. Beautifully executed too.

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Yeah, I liked it too. It was clearly a bit rushed because Andy was clearly rushing to the end of his run for whatever reason but it still worked for me - moreso than some of the stuff mid-run especially. The issue tying back into the whole run was nicely done and - even though the bulk of the issue is two people chatting on an imaginary cliff - it had a really good pace to it. I too love the last page. "I go my own way" becoming the mire of London suggesting that John's still got a very full plate was lovely. Bittersweet.

 

It's a nicely done 8 from me. Losing two points: One for summoning the golden boy who I wouldn't really have known about were it not for you lot (even down to me going "hey, that one-armed silhouette of Astra looks like a fully grown man" back in Wheels of Chance/Systems of Control but not knowing it was significant. But to be honest, by the end of the issue, I guess I know everything I needed to about Twinstantine. The other point goes for Andy/John using the phrase "...and for what?". One of my pet hates. It's just an easy way to let a character then divulge some information when a character answers his own question. Pretty minor quibble all in all.

 

 

Andy's run overall - pretty darn solid. The first four issues are spectacular with the opening two-parter one of my favourite Hellblazer stories ever. The end of Joyride lost me a little though and the Mako thing wasn't instantly as grabbing as other aspects. But the Mortification of the Flesh and the final storyline picked up immensely. I loved the Mako/Burnham denouement and then Roots of Coincidence itself had a lovely fake happy ending with a dandy epilogue this issue. Also when it was really good, it also felt great reading it as a monthly comic. I think this is important too as I want to keep supporting monthly sales but so many books seem to be better (not to mention cheaper!) as a collection. It's nice getting a monthly dose of Hellblazer.

 

Disagree? Obviously your opinions are valid - it's just you that sucks! :icon_wink:

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I am not very familiar with the

Golden Boy

other than what I have read on the internet. So the big reveal did not have as much weight for me as some of you. Diggle seemed as he wanted to find a way to bring togther a bunch of major continuity points from Hellblazer and wrap it all together in nice package. But it all had a hint of an easy out. I do hope that from here on Constantine will change a bit, and move on, rather than having him in the same old cycles we have seen.

Manco's art was better in this issue than the last.

 

7 of 10

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... I too love the last page. "I go my own way" becoming the mire of London suggesting that John's still got a very full plate was lovely. Bittersweet.

Really? I just took "fade to a cityscape of London" to be a Hellblazer-by-the-numbers cliché. I really didn't know what, if anything, Andy was trying to convey with that. It's interesting that you got a meaning from it.

 

Did anyone else? And if so, what?

 

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... I too love the last page. "I go my own way" becoming the mire of London suggesting that John's still got a very full plate was lovely. Bittersweet.

Really? I just took "fade to a cityscape of London" to be a Hellblazer-by-the-numbers cliché. I really didn't know what, if anything, Andy was trying to convey with that. It's interesting that you got a meaning from it.

 

Did anyone else? And if so, what?

 

Hmmn. Yeah, I suppose. I just took it that after John ranting that people were the problem etc that him going his own way in a city (and world) of everyone going their own way and that's the problem. But then I'm one of the people who really liked the ending of the last Sopranos episode! Any one else read a sense of sadness or something else into the last page?

 

(Granted, my human condition does see me reading my own stuff into things. I fell asleep during the last Pirates of the Carribean movie but could still hear all the music and noises and apparently dreamed a far better ending than what everyone else watched)

 

 

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The ending is clearly a re-iteration of Constantine's philosophy of life, he's had it in the past about organised religion and the establishment and even SW Manor, so it is repeating a pattern. But I like the way this resolves a lot of the magical business. He doesn't have the "synchronicity highway" any more, which is a good thing if you ask me. It always made him too close to superhero powers.

 

It's interesting to note that Andy's continuity driven story actually strips a big chunk of that continuity out of the (potential) future stories. He wanted to do something similar in Swamp Thing and instead they reverted to some pretty horrible story mangling after he left. I am quite happy to read a decent Hellblazer story that ends this way, and it looks like we might be in for a few months of something different (fingers crossed for that anthology issue). In a medium where the most popular stories repeat again and again (and again) this was by no means a crude repetition, but continues the aging & changing process and more importantly gives incoming writers a chance to do things differently.

 

Given that the view of London seems gratuitous, I wonder if the wheel is deliberate nod to the "same old cycles".

But thinking of Venkman's comments about bringing our own situation to reading the comic, you see the street directly above the Millennium Eye ? Victoria Street. That's where I was when reading this issue.

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If we could bung the "synchronicity highway" concept in a deep dark corner of John's new lock-up, that'd be nice too!

 

As an abstract, it's an interesting idea, but Andy (in particular) seemed to focus on making it...something a little more fleshed out.

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If we could bung the "synchronicity highway" concept in a deep dark corner of John's new lock-up, that'd be nice too!

 

As an abstract, it's an interesting idea, but Andy (in particular) seemed to focus on making it...something a little more fleshed out.

 

Erm, Andy's story binned it John.

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... I too love the last page. "I go my own way" becoming the mire of London suggesting that John's still got a very full plate was lovely. Bittersweet.

Really? I just took "fade to a cityscape of London" to be a Hellblazer-by-the-numbers cliché. I really didn't know what, if anything, Andy was trying to convey with that. It's interesting that you got a meaning from it.

 

Did anyone else? And if so, what?

Beyond it being thematically repetitious, I took it as an inadvertant John Constantine pun really, specifically the "Always have" bit post the "I go my own way".

 

The story shows that this clearly wasn't the case.

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If we could bung the "synchronicity highway" concept in a deep dark corner of John's new lock-up, that'd be nice too!

 

As an abstract, it's an interesting idea, but Andy (in particular) seemed to focus on making it...something a little more fleshed out.

 

Erm, Andy's story binned it John.

Both.

He fleshed it out to bin it (But we didn't get the binning bit till the end).

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