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Hellblazer #277

  

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  1. 1. Your marks out of 10 for Hellblazer #277, please...

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HELLBLAZER #277

 

Written by PETER MILLIGAN

Art by GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI & STEFANO LANDINI

Cover by SIMON BISLEY

 

As far as Gemma Masters is concerned, she was assaulted by her own uncle – by John Constantine himself! Now, she wants her revenge. Unbeknowst to John, our scruffy urban mage has more immediate concerns: his lovely new wife finds him repulsive. Or rather, Epiphany is suddenly freaked out by the sight of his thumb-less hand. This sets Epiphany on a dark journey into her past and pushes Constantine on an even darker quest along London’s North Circular Road, in search of a new digit...

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I would like to cast two votes for this issue, some bits get 7 1/2 and others get 4.

 

Notwithstanding my problems with the Gemma situation up until now, I liked this episode's movement along.

I liked the chat with Chas.

 

As for "Now Take My Wife", the Hellblazer sitcom, I liked only the bit where Fanny* went off on her own and the foreboding therein.

Thumbs down for that bit.

And also for the Adventures of John's thumb (except the synchronicity bit pertaining to Whips Lane).

 

The snide comments about Angie and the comment from Shelly Bond only served to annoy me more and highlight my current dissatisfaction with the way chicks are being written in Hellblazer.

 

(*Firstly I don't get a "Piffy" vibe off Epiphany, secondly, isn't this what her dad calls her? Ugh! Creepy!)

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For those upset by the treatment of Angie during John's wedding, Milligan rubs salt in the wound within two pages. What is the deal? I let it go at the wedding issue, but geez....It's just odd.

Otherwise, I don't know what to say about this issue...I didn't enjoy it. I guess it really didn't feel like an issue of Hellblazer at all.

How about a....5?

I have no idea where this is going right now, it could go somewhere good. Hope springs eternal.

The return of the letter's page though.

You know what I think we need? Android John!

 

Too bad John's secret identity isn't The Hellblazer, as I'm sure this book could really touch some new ground by having John try to conceal his secret identity from his wife...and then after 100 issues of John trying to find excuses for why he's never around when The Hellblazer is around, his wife will reveal she's always known he was The Hellblazer. Then, maybe we could see a Mrs. Hellblazer identity to have some team ups. It'd be awesome, I tell you, awesome.

 

Hey, maybe they didn't want to detract from the big return of the letter's page, and so Milligan was ordered to turn in a sub-par issue so as not to distract from the real draw of this issue! Next issue should be spectacular.

I mean, it's not like Milligan has been turning in unenjoyable work on the book up until this very issue, right? Right?

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I thought a lot of this issue was mental, which I liked very much. The thumb business is far and away the most enjoyably mad out-there stuff I've seen in the book for some time.

 

I don't care for turning Gemma into an antagonist, but since it's a done deal, this issue's progression was pretty creepy.

 

At the scene of the crash, it was trippy to read John's reaction "Oh, bloody hell!" and turn the page to see the double-page ad for Rift. biggrin.gif

 

I dunno what to think of the hints of things happening in the background that are hallmarks of Pete's run. By the time we find out why that driver sold his soul, I'll have forgotten he did it, just as I've forgotten whatever someone was doing summoning a demon or some shit a few issues ago, and probably some other thing (told you I forgot).

 

The letters were weak as piss, as was the Q&A, and as far as I'm concerned they can drop the letters pages again. But it was interesting to read Pete Milligan's maybe-serious reference to intentions to "challenge and surprise you, in unexpected and dramatic ways." Maybe that points the way to how to read his incarnation of Hellblazer. On the other hand Shelley Bond's "I was particularly impressed with Kit's return" might point the way to how low her standards are.

 

I still don't think Camuncoli's art style, accomplished as it is, is suited. Apart from that, this issue made me much less likely to drop the title than last issue.

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Weren't the folks doing the demon thing in the last few issues the same as the folks with the thumb and the same as the guy in the car had done a deal with?

 

I thought that was a nice touch. And the way it was implied that the car guy's deal was some sort of gay liaison (SOho House being one of the less gay places on Old Compton Street, and exactly as described in this issue [/annotations] .

Of course, if all these strands turn out to be interconnected in the big pay off issue before Peter Milligan moves on, I will be both impressed and a little disappointed.

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Man, the Angie thing is just weird. I can only assume that Milligan had a particularly nasty break-up with a Scouser in the last few years, because both the comfort-eating and her going off on a feminist rant are WAY out of character (Angie makes 'Are you on your period?' cracks to grumpy women, which doesn't strike me as being particularly feminist). It's actually a little creepy, and I kind of hope it was dropped in to troll this forum because otherwise we're getting a glimpse into Milligan's psyche that I'd rather not have.

 

That said, the sarky comment from Constantine didn't feel particularly out of character.

 

Other thoughts to follow when I get the time. You're excited, I can tell.

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I liked it more than the last few - maybe it's just the joy of getting an issue of solid Camuncoli* (Bisley really really really - no, really - should stick to the covers), but it flowed well and went in some unexpected directions, no godawful bits of dialogue, even Gemma's revenge looks more interesting now there's topless tattoo ladies involved. I particularly liked the 'car wreck gods' bit (though 'car crash gods' would have sounded more natural, and avoided that dropped bollock of 'car-wreak on the carpet', unless that was a very obscure pun).

 

* - he needs to practise drawing Minis, though. The Citroen DS was good, the taxi a bit iffy, but nowhere near Bisley-bad.

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You liked the "i shagged a lesbian" line too.

This'll be one of those cases where you're wrong.

 

Well done yourself.

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You know, the UK has a far fitter, more attractive, and far skinnier kind of pagan-priestess than the rest of the world.

 

Why, to look at, the three women using Gemma to attack John, could have been teenage models or olympic athletes* !. /sarcasm

 

I must admit, I am waiting to hear that John has been under a powerful curse or spell for the last X years. He has been acting demented for a long time now. Thumb-robbing?. What is he going to do with it, graft it onto himself?. Like, wow, brilliant, of course that will work.

 

He is a powerful magician and it doesn't occur to him that he can simply make a relatively small glamour and make it look like he has two thumbs to everyone?. I would have thought it was much simpler than other illusions he has opulled off, after all, people are not surprised to count two thumbs on someone when they meet them.

 

* Aucklands "Wise Women" tend to be over weight, aging, and past their best in the looks department

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Christian's post is NSFW, just so everyone knows.

 

Damn it, I wish I had my admin powers again.

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Is that from a film or something?

 

It is from a book, What Witches Do by Stewart Farrar. It shows a wiccan initiation by Alex Sanders who used to call himself King of the Witches. Farrar was a journalist who went to interview Sanders and ended up being initiated. He then produced a series of books with his wife, who is the woman being initiated.

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This may be off-topic (but sort of not), but a friend told me that "Satanists" do not worship Satan but that they are atheists who have adopted the term just to piss off christians. Does anyone know if that's true? If so, what does one call those who worship Satan? devil worshipers? Luciferians?

 

I could wiki it but I'm about to go to bed and would just rather read it here since I check here regularly.

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This may be off-topic (but sort of not), but a friend told me that "Satanists" do not worship Satan but that they are atheists who have adopted the term just to piss off christians. Does anyone know if that's true? If so, what does one call those who worship Satan? devil worshipers? Luciferians?

 

I could wiki it but I'm about to go to bed and would just rather read it here since I check here regularly.

 

They are three different things, with variables.

 

The usual idea of a satanist is somebody who worships Satan as Lord of This World, usually a kind of inverted Catholic. Some see this as more symbolic and are sort of atheists, but presumably believe is magic in some sort of way, or at least something like spiritual forces.

 

Atheists, properly speaking, might say something to wind up xtians, but are really just pissing around.

 

Luciferans regard Lucifer as an example of the hero punished for aiding humanity, for example, Prometheus. So his disobedience is actually a sort of moral stance against gog rather than just rebellion. Some think he made a big mistake and through reincarnating (including as Christ) he redeems himself as well as others. Some prefer the rebellious Lucifer though.

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This may be off-topic (but sort of not), but a friend told me that "Satanists" do not worship Satan but that they are atheists who have adopted the term just to piss off christians. Does anyone know if that's true? If so, what does one call those who worship Satan? devil worshipers? Luciferians?

 

I could wiki it but I'm about to go to bed and would just rather read it here since I check here regularly.

 

They are three different things, with variables.

 

The usual idea of a satanist is somebody who worships Satan as Lord of This World, usually a kind of inverted Catholic. Some see this as more symbolic and are sort of atheists, but presumably believe is magic in some sort of way, or at least something like spiritual forces.

 

Atheists, properly speaking, might say something to wind up xtians, but are really just pissing around.

 

Luciferans regard Lucifer as an example of the hero punished for aiding humanity, for example, Prometheus. So his disobedience is actually a sort of moral stance against gog rather than just rebellion. Some think he made a big mistake and through reincarnating (including as Christ) he redeems himself as well as others. Some prefer the rebellious Lucifer though.

 

If you really wanted the lowdown, read Mike Howards's Book of Fallen Angels.

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They are three different things, with variables.

 

The usual idea of a satanist is somebody who worships Satan as Lord of This World, usually a kind of inverted Catholic. Some see this as more symbolic and are sort of atheists, but presumably believe is magic in some sort of way, or at least something like spiritual forces.

 

Atheists, properly speaking, might say something to wind up xtians, but are really just pissing around.

 

Luciferans regard Lucifer as an example of the hero punished for aiding humanity, for example, Prometheus. So his disobedience is actually a sort of moral stance against gog rather than just rebellion. Some think he made a big mistake and through reincarnating (including as Christ) he redeems himself as well as others. Some prefer the rebellious Lucifer though.

 

I see. Thank you, that was quite informative.

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I went with a 4. This issue was just straight up boring. Nice artwork though.

This.

 

Also, I heartily agree with most of the comments made about Angie. It would be far too easy to do a critical feminist reading of Hellblazer these days and come up with an ugly result. That certainly wasn't the case in earlier runs. Let's hope it doesn't continue.

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They are three different things, with variables.

 

The usual idea of a satanist is somebody who worships Satan as Lord of This World, usually a kind of inverted Catholic. Some see this as more symbolic and are sort of atheists, but presumably believe is magic in some sort of way, or at least something like spiritual forces.

 

Atheists, properly speaking, might say something to wind up xtians, but are really just pissing around.

 

Luciferans regard Lucifer as an example of the hero punished for aiding humanity, for example, Prometheus. So his disobedience is actually a sort of moral stance against gog rather than just rebellion. Some think he made a big mistake and through reincarnating (including as Christ) he redeems himself as well as others. Some prefer the rebellious Lucifer though.

 

I see. Thank you, that was quite informative.

Satanism, when it isn't of the cartoonish teenage Dungeons & Dragons variety, is all about idealizing the will of the individual over the constraints of society, religion or culture. It's a negation of the concept of consensus morality.

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Also, I heartily agree with most of the comments made about Angie. It would be far too easy to do a critical feminist reading of Hellblazer these days and come up with aqn ugly result. That certainly wasn't the case in earlier runs. Let's hope it doesn't continue.

 

 

I certainly agree with you when it comes to Milligan, but I think you may be being a little generous in your assessment of the rest of the title's history...honestly, it wouldn't be much of a challenge for a feminist critic to have a field day with an awful lot of Hellblazer.

 

Like, say, the way Delano's run clumsily fetishizes female sexuality as male wish-fulfilment fantasy, in that well-meaning but somewhat embarrassing way which was so prevalent in the early '90s? Or what about the Ellis run, which devotes six-and-a-half of its ten issues to highlighting just how fundamental the "brutally murdered ex-girlfriend" trope seems to be to most writers' takes on the character? Or Azzarello's run, in which...well, yeah. Or Diggle, whose rather testosterone-fuelled run was almost entirely devoid of female characters, with the exception of a two-issue cameo by a whore-demon?

 

Milligan is probably the worst - or at least, the most glaringly ugly - offender to date, but despite some decent efforts by Ennis, Jenkins and Carey, I wouldn't say Hellblazer's track record in this area has ever been particularly strong. It's possible that my memory is doing the book a disservice, but I can't think of many issues, outside of a couple of specific arcs, which would pass the Bechdel Test...

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