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Hellblazer 279

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HELLBLAZER #279

 

hb279_resize.jpg

 

Written by PETER MILLIGAN

Art by GIUSEPPE CAMUNCOLI and STEFANO LANDINI

Cover by SIMON BISLEY

 

Our newly married urban mage doesn't know it, but his niece, Gemma, blames him for a brutal assault. Now she's planning a suitably demonic revenge - and she's dangerously out of her depth.

 

Meanwhile, Constantine's got himself a new thumb - but any pleasure this might bring him is cut short when his young wife reveals a terrible secret. Well, what did he expect? That married life would be one long honeymoon?

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That's more like it! The story moved, built up to (for me) a surprise of a cliff hanger (which I'll explain my point after other people have read it.) I'm nopt too wordy about it, but as much as I liked last issue, this one kept that level up, for me anyway.

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Really? I didn't catch that.

 

I pretty much agree with Slinker. Except for his liking last issue, which I hated.

It seemed mostly like the story was setting up later plots.

Maybe the focus being so heavily on John, mixed with some Milliganesque weirdness, made me enjoy this issue more.

It wasn't spectacular, but I didn't grow tired trying to read the book and feeling depressed about how far HB has fallen, so I'll give this story a 7.

 

I really love that cover, even if it doesn't seem to be Malphas after all.

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Man, I like Terry. And John and Terry together is pretty damn cool.

 

wait...what was Johns young wife's terrible secret then? :blink:

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Delivered slightly more than last issue.

Still like a slightly more interesting episode of Eastenders.

That's all I got.

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Some multipart stories need set up issues. It's an unfortunate fact of life. We can't always have the battle at the end of the movie in the middle of the movie. I used to dread set up issues, too. But there are two kinds of set up issues-good ones and bad ones. The good ones entertain while nudging you along. The bad ones don't. This one was a good set up issue.

 

I've never used the poll function before. I know exactly who voted how. I have power, real power, will it corrupt me? Stay tuned.

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Not bad - plenty going off, and while it was as much a middle section as last month's, it was far more entertaining (any conversations between John and Terry are usually fun). The conclusion to the thumb/Darren/Leo storyline (assuming this was, indeed, the conclusion) was a bit flat, though. Nuking the mystery with one line of clumsy exposition and having Terry pull John out of the fire? Sad stuff, and really made that element of the storyline

 

Still interested to see where the Gemma storyline will go, though she's still acting waaaaaay out of character (not a new observation, but I'm sure Milligan is unconsciously weakening all the female recurring castmembers to make Epiphany look better) and giving her one poxy piercing on her cheek feels like a bit like they were wimping out on a more serious/gruesome body modification.

 

There's potential for something quite interesting in this little tragedy, with its misunderstandings and misdirected hatred. How will John react when he finds out Gemma is trying to kill him? What terrible thing will he have to do to her to get the demon off his back? What if he has to choose between his niece and his wife? But I'm not sure whether Milligan's outlandish, cartoony Hellblazer has the dramatic weight to pull something like that off.

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Again, having access to the polls, one of you who liked it and one of you who didn't like it voted the exact same, From a psychosocial perspective, that is delicious.

 

In my rereading of the Hellblazer pantheon, I noted that the organized crime element pops its head up a bit with Azarello and Carey, but really jumps outs with Diggle and Milligan. I'm sure it does with the other writers, too, but I've not started to reread Ennis or Delano or the others in the 1-100 issues. In fact for some reason, I started with Carey, went to Az, then Mina, Diggle and I'm about to go early in order, 1--->.

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There's a fair bit of the gangster stuff in some of Ennis's stories (qv Son of Man).

Often the earthbound villains have been political or religious.

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Yes, my recollection of Ennis' run was mostly hate groups/politically far right groups who employed gangsters for their dirty work, however the chief villains were higher up, sort of like Lord Burnham in Diggle's Joyride.

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Well, it's a step up, and fairly entertaining, but it could be retroactively pulled down if the next issue isn't up to scratch. I give it a tentative 7, since I'm in a good mood.

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Gangsters didn't really become a big part of Hellblazer until Son of Man, which is odd considering how well they fit into the tone of the thing. Not counting Ellis's Watford (who's involved in crime but not actually a criminal) and Albert (who had some dealings with the Krays a few decades past) and only partially including Carey (magical gangs not quite the same thing) it was all quiet until Diggle and Milligan brought it back to the fore.

 

Can anyone remember when Mobfire came out? Come to think of it, can anyone even remember Mobfire? I'm guessing somewhere around the Jenkins era.

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Mobfire #1 is cover-dated December 1994. so, just after Ennis, but a bit before Jenkins (Delano's chimp sex story was coverdated Dec. 1994 as well).

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Not a bad issue, it had some funny bits and i like the developing relationship between John and Terry, but i am looking forward to re-reading the run once it's done. I can barely remember what happened in the previous issue, and nothing in the one before that. All the pieces seem to be present, but something is missing.

Hope there is some direction to all the plot points. Milligan is usually good at developing themes throughout his stories, but so far the arcs seem like a series of random weird things that happen to John.

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Delivered slightly more than last issue.

Still like a slightly more interesting episode of Eastenders.

That's all I got.

 

Well, if that story was transposed into Eastenders I might watch it.

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Gangsters didn't really become a big part of Hellblazer until Son of Man, which is odd considering how well they fit into the tone of the thing. Not counting Ellis's Watford (who's involved in crime but not actually a criminal) and Albert (who had some dealings with the Krays a few decades past) and only partially including Carey (magical gangs not quite the same thing) it was all quiet until Diggle and Milligan brought it back to the fore.

 

Can anyone remember when Mobfire came out? Come to think of it, can anyone even remember Mobfire? I'm guessing somewhere around the Jenkins era.

 

Mobfire was a pretty decent series. Maybe one of those Vertigo Ressurrected things in the waiting?

 

Jenkins did at least one gangster story as well, and does the fact that Jerry O'Flynn was involved in the drugs trade count?

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I guess Papa Midnite was a gangster too, though that was never really a major part of his character, nor was he ever really tied into explicitly criminal trades.

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I(t's funny how many of those slipped my mind. I guess I should amend my claim that there appears to be an increased concentration of organized crime elements in Hellblazer of late.

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Something occurred to me when I was reading this, but I forgot to mention it - is Terry no longer worrying about the Afghans? Were they all dealt with at the wedding? Seems odd that he'd demand John's help with the mafia and not mention that John is still to deal with his Afghan problem. John just keeps racking up the promises, eh?

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Good point: I was forgetting Midnite. With that stupid Jamaican retcon gone, he might even be ex macoute, and a lot of them went into organised crime after Duvallier junior did a runner, didn't they?

 

(Maybe Terry did something ghastly to the Afghans after the wedding was out of the way, and they're no longer an issue?)

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Well, there was FRAPH also, which was basically tonton macoute reorganized under a different banner.

Probably quite a few got into organized crime eventually though, as that seems to be the way these things go.

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I'm enjoying the hell out of this run, even with its low points, this is what the title desperately needed. Bright art, goofy writing-- it's all good. Now if they'd just convince Grant Morrison to do a year-long run...

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