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Hellblazer #204

So...what'd you reckon?  

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  1. 1. So...what'd you reckon?

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I agree with some of that, but I still think that, in terms of dramatic impact, some of the choices made regarding who to 'kill off' have been pretty weak. It's probably down in part to the predictably misleading solicitation texts (how hard can it really be to write a teaser which makes people want to read an upcoming issue without flat-out lying about what said issue actually contains?) promising carnage on some unprecedented scale, but I can't escape the nagging feeling that Carey's trying to have his cake and eat it too - he's playing the 'elimination of John's past' angle, as you suggest, but without actually killing too many of the characters a future writer may want to bring back.

 

I have every hope that next month's conclusion will be superb (Carey has demonstrated a pretty consistent knack for ending his HB arcs very effectively), and I'm still eagerly anticipating the remainder of his run, but the last two issues, in context, have been a little disappointing to me.

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Why target enemies of Constantine though ?

 

 

Because John gets help from unusual places.

Anyway, I have to suggest another Hellblazer graphic novel to Mike, where one of Mange's descendants is offered the chance of revenge on Constantine in return for "Just one day" ... It's called "More Rabbit than Sainsburys" - and once again, features Chas quite heavily.

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Anyway, I have to suggest another Hellblazer graphic novel to Mike, where one of Mange's descendants is offered the chance of revenge on Constantine in return for "Just one day" ... It's called "More Rabbit than Sainsburys" - and once again, features Chas quite heavily.

 

I'd read that. :biggrin:

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Because John gets help from unusual places.

 

Hmmmmmm....not really buying that - isn't he far more likely to get help from his allies ? By all means go after his enemies when you've cleaned up those who are most likely to help him...but till then, you're kinda wasting your time targetting a bunch of no-mark freaks who hate his guts anyway!

 

He should've let the kids off Map and Clarice, as things stand we're 3/4 of the way in with no real emotional impact to the story.

 

The worst case scenario now is that the story ends with John crying over Angie's corpse as her soul is dragged off to hell

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Given the 'enemies' chosen so far, I'm with JMac in any case. Francis Dashwood? Some upstart kid who John met once, over ten years ago? The idea that John might be likely to go to these people for help is stretching credulity just a little too far, in my book. As for your theory that these characters had greater significance in the alternate lives experienced by the relevant Constanteenies - well, that don't make a lick o' sense on the evidence displayed to date. If you're going to come up with a plot which relies on that kind of complex theory, there should be some effort to at least imply it within the book - as has been said over in the film discussions, there's a world of difference between spoonfeeding and offering your readers/viewers a story which they can actually understand.

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Hellblazer-This issue was a let down, but at least I know who the helper is.

 

HB #204.  I think it is pretty clear just who is inside Chas' body too, yeah...

 

Out with it! I really haven't got a clue.....

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I think they're assuming it's Nergal, presumably based on the "My foes, none but I" line. I'm really not so sure, although I certainly wouldn't rule it out.

 

Demon Constantine still seems more plausible to me, although that's subject to my reading the issue properly (I've still only read it in the shop, so there's a good chance I missed some important things).

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Guest spiderlegs

I didn't consider #204 to be a letdown at all. I enjoyed it quite a bit, and the art was trippy.

 

Spoiler:

The dead animals spewing from the ground was stellar looking and it grossed me out. It was horrifying to me. Especially because we've got about 10 former pets buried in my mom's backyard. I also dug how they had to drink her blood to be in her reality. That was a strange and interesting plot device.

 

Anyway, I'm still baffled by the Chas mystery, but I still enjoyed this issue more than any other in this particular arc.

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I think they're assuming it's Nergal, presumably based on the "My foes, none but I" line. I'm really not so sure, although I certainly wouldn't rule it out.

 

Demon Constantine still seems more plausible to me, although that's subject to my reading the issue properly (I've still only read it in the shop, so there's a good chance I missed some important things).

 

 

I forgot about the demon blood being Ellie's now, so I did indeed think it was Nergal. but arse, that was totally wrong. still, the mysterious person in Chas' body certainly isn't behaving much like Demon Constantine...

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I still think it's the Demon Constantine. I don't think Negral has anything to do with any of this. The blood line was I assumed because of John spiking Angie's I.V. in #175 and not because they were related in any way but that could be an interesting possibility. And unless I hear otherwise I will assume that all of Negral's blood is in the Demon Constantine and that John isn't part of his bloodline anymore.

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I didn't want to talk about the nightmare stuff, because I seemed to be the only person who'd read this until yesterday. I remain unconvinced by many aspects of the issue - it really doesn't do much to advance the arc as a whole (and the

'grabbing Angie just as she falls from the bridge' moment was cringeworthy - I don't expect that kind of cliche from a book as smart as HB
) - but I may have been a little harsh in my initial assessment.

 

The dead animals and things coming out of the mirrors were genuinely and wonderfully creepy - Manco draws wonderful monsters, it seems, which is encouraging on a horror title - and I loved the use of

Shock-Headed Peter
at the end. I remain frustrated by the inconsistency of the facial details, though - as Josh commented on #203, he seems to draw John with at least 3 different faces, and the same could be said of 'Chas'.

 

Ultimately, though, this was a hard issue to judge on its own merits. As a standalone story it didn't really hang together, so we'll just have to hope part 4 is a strong conclusion to the arc.

 

EDIT: Oh, and it's still very much up in the air whether or not John's 'demon blood' is in fact Nergal's. Given that he lost it by magic, rather than having it physically drained from his body, it's quite feasible to assume that when he symbolically 'retainted' himself by screwing Ellie, he regained that aspect of his former self in a more literal way than some of us have been assuming. Do I get a no-prize? ;)

 

Sethos - our mysterious narrator may not be acting much like the Demon Constantine, but he's not exactly reminding me of Nergal as we've seen him before, either. It's a long time since either character appeared in the title, so it would be safe to assume that either of them would have changed somewhat in the intervening period. The ambiguous "friends/foes" lines would apply equally well to the Demon Constantine as they would to Nergal, and that's the closest thing I can remember to a clue in the issue. As for the 'blood' line - well, it's arguable that both the Demon Constantine and Nergal have an abiding interest in what John's blood tastes like, so that's a pretty ambiguous clue as well...

 

Still, it's a pretty devastating teaser either way - more so, in fact, than the reprise of last month's ending which actually closed the issue.

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So now I've read the issue and I cannot believe all the moping around here!

 

It's a return to form from Leo Manco (and he was *only* 8/10 last issue).

 

As a third part it moves the story on very nicely - illustrating that all the deaths are not to be MASSIVELY SIGNIFICANT types.

Anyone touched by the hand of Constantine is a potential target. So his friends go off him due to their own suffering AND the apparently innocent types. The apparently innocent types go "ooh he's a risky bloke to know". And the Villains go "Bugger me, now we REALLY hate him".

 

A very pleasant arc and my Third Favourite Leo Manco Hellblazer page ever.

 

But WHY OH WHY

is DC killing off all the wabbits ???

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Guest spiderlegs

I'm so tempted to scan and post that image. Fighting...urge...to...post...spoiler...image....

 

OK, I've beaten it...for now...

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I'm actually thinking that all these deaths are a sign of the weakness of John's children. They really have NO IDEA who John Constantine is or how to deal with him, and so they're going around killing everyone who ever came into contact with John. They're more driven by demonaic thought than anything else; and they're still, in the end, only children. That was my thoughts on it.

 

No, John McMahon....worst case scenario equals John walking away from her grave as she rises with angel wings while John walks off chewing on some Bubblemint! :lol:

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As a third part it moves the story on very nicely - illustrating that all the deaths are not to be MASSIVELY SIGNIFICANT types.

 

Um...NONE of the deaths so far have been even remotely significant!

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After a proper reread last night, I was definitely being too harsh on this one. I think I was being overly hard on the art because I read this about 3 days after reading the All His Engines OGN, compared to which this is unequivocally sub-par work - but Ade's right, it's actually an improvement on last month's issue from Manco, and certainly isn't anything like as bad as I made it sound. We're still getting better regular art on the monthly title than we've seen in a very long time.

 

As a story...well, I stand by my suggestion that it's hard to judge it until we've read next month's issue, as it's very much a 'part 3' - but I don't think it really added significantly to what had already gone down, a few more teasers aside. The nightmare-horror side of the issue I enjoyed a lot, but I could have done without the more generic 'race against time' side of things, to be honest, and as I said above, the Gemma story really ended this month in exactly the same place as it did last month, only with slightly more urgency.

 

As regards the 'death of the no-marks' - I can see where Ade's coming from, and viewed from that angle, it's been nice to see a couple of retro-continuity nods - sadly, it would appear we've been suckered into expecting something other than what we've received (yet again) by DCs diabolically crap solicitation texts. I still didn't find it anything like as narratively satisfying as Mr. Brown did, though - I'm with McMahon on this one. Goddamnit, we were promised a widescale slaughterfest of John's nearest and dearest! I think it's a pretty safe bet something major happens next month in that regard, though...will it be Gemma? Angie? Someone else entirely? The latter option wouldn't actually surprise me at all...

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OH!!! Dammit! I forgot that John doesn't have Nergal's blood in his veins anymore!!!

I was sure, just like Jay, that the line was proof that Chaz-demon WAS Nergal, as he was pointing out that John was sharing his "demon blood" with her.

 

 

Bah! I, too, forgot about that. As much as I loved Jenkins' run, I came back into HB at "Last Man Standing", and never got back to "Critical Mass".

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It was good, nothing great in terms of progression but I was hoping to see more on what was going to happen to Gemma. I didn't find anything wrong with the art, and that dream attack was visually appealing.

 

I'm hung up about thinking it's Nergal. It seems too easy, doesn't it?

My bet's still on the Demon Constantine.

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I'm hung up about thinking it's Nergal. It seems too easy, doesn't it?

 

Plus I just can't see the motivation behind it, unless he wants so be the one t bring Constantine to his knees. But if that were the case it seems as though Nergal could just wipe them out (the kids) without all the messin' about and take John on his own.

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Spoilers, obviously....

 

#202 - Alba & Albert

 

#203 - Straff, Sir Francis Dashwood

 

#204 - Helen, Mange, Robbie Brooks, Dani's family

 

I thought it was a good issue myself - gritty art did a great job of conveying a proper horror mood - the big fatality spash page was nifty.

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I'd like to see the solicitation texts from this arc again just to see if we were actually promised that the killing of JC's friends would include "significant" ones, or simply that people close to John will die and the result would be something significant. Basically I want to know if we are reading too much into what has been advertised. When it's all said and done (and it's still very far from over) even the death of one significant person amongst the victims would lead me to believe that we weren't given an empty or meaningless lead on. Still though, I'd have to reread the solicitation copy from these issues to be sure of this. If we reach the end of this arc without the solicitation copy bearing fruit on it's advertisement then the fault would be with editorial ultimately, I don't think Mike writes those. He may suggest things but I'm pretty sure that falls under the editor's duties.

 

Even so, you have all been reading Hellblazer for a long time and I can tell you, all of this story's loose ends will not be tied up inside this arc. "Reasons" is just a chapter in a larger canvass, then a one off (another small chapter), and then the story MIGHT conclude in the next arc. Even I don't know. All I'm saying is that this isn't over by a damn sight. Keep the faith people. Carey knows what he's doing.

 

I give this issue a 7 cause I got to see Chas' body inflict major damage (I was seeing Vinnie Jones!) on the "offal", we had Manco doing some very cool horror stuff, we got to see a frantic Constantine hold on for dear life while Chas/? drives like a "sodding maniac", and I really loved the bits with the Mirror Munchkins and Der Struwwelpeter (Slovenly Peter), the classic old world German fairy tale freak coming to save the day.

 

Translation by MARK TWAIN:

 

 

See this frowsy "cratur" -

Pah ! it's Struwwelpeter !

On his fingers rusty,

On his tow-head musty,

Scissors seldom come;

Let his talons grow a year, -

Hardly ever combs his hair, -

Do any loathe him ? Some !

They hail him "Modern Satyre -

Disgusting Struwwelpeter."

 

And by the way, Angie looks fairly righteous in thong underwear.

- TB

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CONT. JOHN'S SPOILERS:

 

john-OH! So those "family" members heads outside a house were DANI'S family?!?! Why did they refer to them as uncles, cousins, or whatever then?! It made it read to me like they were John's relations!!!

I think they should've just killed Dani off! It would've counted as a fairly major death and would not have affected any H.B. history, as I'm sure Dani was never being planned to re-use.

Plus, now I think Dani needs to show up if she doesn't die! I can't see her not confronting John about her family getting wiped out because of some vendetta against John....

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Even so, you have all been reading Hellblazer for a long time and I can tell you, all of this story's loose ends will not be tied up inside this arc. "Reasons" is just a chapter in a larger canvass, then a one off (another small chapter), and then the story MIGHT conclude in the next arc. Even I don't know. All I'm saying is that this isn't over by a damn sight. Keep the faith people. Carey knows what he's doing.

 

I'm looking forward to it.

 

I gave this one a 6 after reading through it in the shop, but I've been regretting it since I read the issue properly. Definitely at least a 7 from me, after due consideration (consider me duly chastised ;) ), and I'm really looking forward to the conclusion of the arc - and, of course, wherever Mike takes us after that.

 

It's been a good ride so far under Carey, and I've got no reason to believe he won't be able to keep it up for a good while to come.

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