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Hellblazer #299, and they keep getting worse!

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That's quoting DemonChas, not Slinker. Slinker was the one who confronted you.

Yeah. We're getting dangerously close to Dan Slott territory here though.

 

Anyway, I don't understand how people can think this works as a good story. It reminds me of the quality of really bad comic books I've read. The sense of how the characters act is reminiscent of something from a Chuck Austen comic. People go around and do random things because the writer wants them to do the things they're doing because it's fiction, see.

 

Look, I'm not in the Mafia, and I don't know how this works, but my understanding is that it's a very organized ship being run. That a member wouldn't overhear the boss having an idle conversation and run out and do the job. That there's a business-model that's followed in these situations, where the boss decides who makes a hit and how it's made. I could be terribly wrong, I admit. But, I can't see organized crime working as fluidly as it has for so many years is there's going to be braindead minions running around shooting people off the clock, because they heard a random snippet of conversation. That read as such a TV version of how the world works.

 

John shows up alive at the end of the issue. Sure, everyone expected it. But, it was done during Ennis' run too. It's hardly original. Re-using plots from earlier stories are usually groan inducing in most comic books.

 

Epiphany running around getting the consecrated mud while the demon-creature stands around waiting. This isn't an isolated incident during Milligan's run. It happens on an issue by issue basis. Something completely non-sensical happens that serves to remind you, yes, indeed, you are reading one of those funny books.

 

John slit a man's throat in cold blood for a ritual. Not someone who wronged him, or someone who was involved in the black magic cricles and had done very evil things. A guy who John heard was abusing his lover. Sure, maybe we'd like to think about such a fate happening to a jackass, but if that isn't totally out of character for John Constantine, I don't know what is.

 

Hellblazer has turned into a bad comic book. The writing has been on the wall for years. Since the Azzarello days, Hellblazer has always approached being a bad comic book. Yet, outside Ashes & Dust, Hellblazer has always managed to remain a respoectable comic book. It lost that very soon after Milligan came aboard.

I'm glad the book is over and done. It deserves it. I wish more comics that read as badly as Hellblazer would have been axed.

The fact remains this isn't a good comic book. Not even by Hellblazer standards. It's just a poorly written comic book. It's not a good comic book by comic book standards, unless we only count the lowest common denominator comic books are being what the comic book business is composed.

If this wasn't Hellblazer, which I've been reading all these years, I would not be reading this comic book. There are so many better books on the market. It's not the best book at Vertigo. It's nowhere near a good book by the standards of today's Marvel or Image or Dark Horse. It's not even good by the standards of DC, although it's not in bad company with a lot of the 52 titles they're publishing today though. If you want to read a book like that and think it's perfectly fine, than ok. I just place this on the pile of so many other junk comic books. Normally, it's expected in the comic book world, I guess. But, since it's Hellblazer, I feel fair to critique it for being a poorly written story.

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Aye, I knew it wasn't slinker who made that comment - my original post wasn't directed specifically towards slinker (nor, aside from that particular comment, towards DemonChas), it was just a general observation about the tone of a lot of the criticism of the book has been taking. I'm not defending the issue - I thought it was pretty poor, and you do a good job of outlining some of the many reasons why. But notice that you were able to do so without at any point wandering off into a completely pointless ad hominem attack on Peter Milligan (who, for all that I've not enjoyed his work on the title very much, doesn't strike me based on his interviews about the book as someone who's actively trying to irritate fans of the character, or to make bad comics). Nobody's saying the book shouldn't be criticized. But this has always been a community which has tried to maintain some semblance of civility - it's one of the reasons several of the writers and artists who've worked on the book have been happy to hang around here in the past even when their work wasn't always universally loved - and it'd be a shame to lose that.

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I agree with your critique of some critiques on here. I'm not disagreeing with you about that, at all.

Milligan is a fine author. He was once my favourite comic writer. I'm going to call him out for turning in scripts I'd be embarrassed to have publicly published, and I don't have a 20+ career in the writing field.

I just have to point out that I don't enjoy this comic or think that it deserves to be published by a major comic book publisher.

 

I like to make fun of Dan DiDio. I don't know the guy. I just like to create this boss figure based on a pop culture Satan.

I do feel that he has no idea, from a creative stand point, what he's doing, but from a business stand point, he, sadly, probably does know what he's doing. He seems to be about the money, and so far, he seems to have done a good job of making DC more profits. I wish it wasn't the case, as I think creatively, his decisions represent what is bad in the comic book industry, but Time-Warner is interested in their money, not whether the books are "art".

I feel Marvel has done a much better job. I don't know what the sales figures are like now. I don't know if DC is still doing better, over all, than Marvel from a business perspective. For a time, though, the "New 52" made DC relevant again, while many critics were saying that DC just couldn't compete with Marvel anymore.

Anyway, there's a reason that I'll be reading two DC books and two Vertigo books by the end of February, while I'll still be reading a nice handful of Marvel books.

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Might as well get some vodka get get hammered to erase my sorrows. Then again, no amount of liquor in the world can make this issue and the next attractive.

 

Aye, I knew it wasn't slinker who made that comment - my original post wasn't directed specifically towards slinker (nor, aside from that particular comment, towards DemonChas), it was just a general observation about the tone of a lot of the criticism of the book has been taking. I'm not defending the issue - I thought it was pretty poor, and you do a good job of outlining some of the many reasons why. But notice that you were able to do so without at any point wandering off into a completely pointless ad hominem attack on Peter Milligan (who, for all that I've not enjoyed his work on the title very much, doesn't strike me based on his interviews about the book as someone who's actively trying to irritate fans of the character, or to make bad comics). Nobody's saying the book shouldn't be criticized. But this has always been a community which has tried to maintain some semblance of civility - it's one of the reasons several of the writers and artists who've worked on the book have been happy to hang around here in the past even when their work wasn't always universally loved - and it'd be a shame to lose that.

 

That'd be the vodka/Bud platinum mix doing the threatning at the time. :blush:

 

I get what you're saying, Mark. But the product speaks louder than its creator especially if the quality of the writer's work isn't what it used to be for quite a while. Sure he probably doesn't come off as try to alienate the title's remaining audience as you've stated, but it doesn't excuse the half-baked storyarcs, John's characterization (the only time understood him was Scab and Suicide Bridge) plus others (i.e. Gemma, Angie, even Kit!, etc. Milligan should've known better than to keep giving us mediocre to abysmal stories month after month.

 

Shit, if we wanted a Shade follow-up he could've easily pitched a mini-series to get the Kathy George bits out the way and have a new character in Epiphany be his new love interest as opposed to our boy.

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I don't know what you're seeing in this that makes it okay.

Except when viewed out of context. Any continuity that has been mined has been throw away or rather oddly distorted.

Even then, there's barely any internal consistency within Milligan's run in any of the characters other than Constantine.

And my recollection of Angie was that she and John were very close, lovers but not of the ill-fated John and Kit level. Highly unlikely she'd display her contempt for Phanny because of her being with John rather than the fact she is an idiot.

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Yeah, it's the Angie stuff which really tips this from a comic I don't particularly care for into one I think is actively poor. I just can't understand what Milligan's trying to do with that - almost everything else, I can at least see the germ of what might have been a good idea, even if it's sometimes an idea I don't think particularly fits Hellblazer, or if the execution has been sadly lacking. But this just feels weirdly ugly and mean-spirited.

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I don't know what you're seeing in this that makes it okay.

Except when viewed out of context. Any continuity that has been mined has been throw away or rather oddly distorted.

Even then, there's barely any internal consistency within Milligan's run in any of the characters other than Constantine.

And my recollection of Angie was that she and John were very close, lovers but not of the ill-fated John and Kit level. Highly unlikely she'd display her contempt for Phanny because of her being with John rather than the fact she is an idiot.

 

Never said it is ok.

 

Re: Angie, it could've been a lot worst if it were Zed, Marj, Dani or even Emma if Milligan were to take a page from Carey and Ed Brubaker in the "Oops! I didn't realize the character was dead but here he/she is anyway." playbook.

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There's not much point imagining how much worse it could have been.

But a slip of a minor character used in a one off manner is barely the same as a reworking of a character to use in an ongoing manner.

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I forgot Dani was dead.

 

So, one of the souls in the Lukhavim was Dani? Was one of them Emma? Who were the souls? I didn't really care much when I read the comic. I thought that one soul might be Dani. It more made me groan....at best, I figured it was Milligan trying to set up that Epiphany was well and truly the only love meant for John (sigh).

Turning every other of John's lovers into sexist stereotypes really isn't the best way to go about that. Maybe actually making Epiphany interesting might be a better way to go about it, but since Milligan can't be bothered with that, we'll just say every other woman on Earth is a "bitch", and then Epiphany will look, well, sorta ok, I suppose.

Rant over:Who were the souls making up this Lukhavim?

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I forgot Dani was dead.

 

So, one of the souls in the Lukhavim was Dani? Was one of them Emma? Who were the souls? I didn't really care much when I read the comic. I thought that one soul might be Dani. It more made me groan....at best, I figured it was Milligan trying to set up that Epiphany was well and truly the only love meant for John (sigh).

Turning every other of John's lovers into sexist stereotypes really isn't the best way to go about that. Maybe actually making Epiphany interesting might be a better way to go about it, but since Milligan can't be bothered with that, we'll just say every other woman on Earth is a "bitch", and then Epiphany will look, well, sorta ok, I suppose.

Rant over:Who were the souls making up this Lukhavim?

 

Random flings, I reckon.

 

Given that strategy used, I'm amazed Marvel didn't snatch him away from the title midway and put him on Amazing Spider-Man to justify why Carlie Cooper (faux Debra Whitman) was THE ONE for the wall crawler.

 

Dani's not dead. Her uncle Fred and her brothers are (courtesy of Rosacarnis and the demon kiddies) but not Dani.

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At about this point I would go into a long rant why it's shit. But I will say that like I mentioned before, you could tell that Milligan had something much bigger planned for his run. Such as: What does the First of the Fallen have planned for Epiphany's father? Where did these three men in black come from? And most important of all.... Does this look infected?!.. Also.. Who shot JR!?

 

I would say that this was seen coming from a mile away on my behalf, because Milligans run started off interesting and then dun goofed (As Lou would say), like during the 2nd arc and just continued in that direction tell they decided to can it. I MIGHT give the new Constantine a chance once the trade comes out for it..

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You need at least six issues for a trade. :icon_wink:

 

... This isn't merely cancellation, it's deconstruction. ...

 

The deconstruction started with 'Dangerous Habits'.

 

 

... was she just running round the gaff Benny Hill style till Angie showed up ?

:laugh:

 

 

... Anyway, I don't understand how people can think this works as a good story. .... People go around and do random things because the writer wants them to do the things they're doing because it's fiction, see.

 

As I said, I didn't like this issue's script, the dialogue; but I thought the plot, the story itself, was okay — for a comic that isn't Hellblazer. Take Epiphany [ Spoiler : hooking up with John's identical nephew ]: that felt authentic and raised significant implications; for example, is it the way things should have gone in the first place? In the bigger picture I don't think the Milligan era "works as a good story", but I was only offering crumbs of praise for this issue.

 

Look, I'm not in the Mafia, and I don't know how this works, but my understanding is that it's a very organized ship being run. That a member wouldn't overhear the boss having an idle conversation and run out and do the job. That there's a business-model that's followed in these situations, where the boss decides who makes a hit and how it's made. ... That read as such a TV version of how the world works. ...

 

The same incident felt authentic to me because it reflected the arbitrariness and lack of planning of the real world. In my experience real life usually goes wrong not because of organised villainy but because f*ckwits do stupid things.

 

Mind you, it's possible that some of the goings-on in this issue stood out as "authentic" simply because what I recall of previous issues in the Milligan run felt so consistently wrong.

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It did, yeah. I forgot that a Lukhavim had been used in Hellblazer before. My memory of HB doesn't much extend beyond Ellis' run.

 

What's worse than four neo-Nazis? Three man-hating feminists, of course!

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I forgot Dani was dead.

 

 

And this felt like him ripping off Delano's four skinheads.

 

Sans them pummeling each other to death over football.

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Look, I'm not in the Mafia, and I don't know how this works, but my understanding is that it's a very organized ship being run. That a member wouldn't overhear the boss having an idle conversation and run out and do the job. That there's a business-model that's followed in these situations, where the boss decides who makes a hit and how it's made. ... That read as such a TV version of how the world works. ...

 

The same incident felt authentic to me because it reflected the arbitrariness and lack of planning of the real world. In my experience real life usually goes wrong not because of organised villainy but because f*ckwits do stupid things.

 

It also feels like quite a common dramatic ploy: underling wishes to impress the king, misinterprets his desires or partially overhears something and goes and acts on it. The dialog however read like someone who has watched a Shakespeare film for the first time and is relating it in the playground in the language of the popular comedy series Bottom.

 

 

Mind you, it's possible that some of the goings-on in this issue stood out as "authentic" simply because what I recall of previous issues in the Milligan run felt so consistently wrong.

 

That's fair.

:hattip:

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hb1815.jpg

 

http://www.insanerantings.com/hell/comics/ongoing/hb181.html

 

I have an interest in that issue and it proves the theory that a shit issue, arc or three years of a comic does not spoil or negate what has gone before. (Fans of Watchmen should take solace that their comics will not be ruined by DC's current practices)

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I hope I'm just being redundant by stating for the record (yet again) that I'm just having fun with all this in real time while it lasts. It's Hellblazer's wake and it was one of my favorite comics of them all. But truthfully, it deserves making as grand and sweeping and affectionate a gesture as any of us can make on its behalf. It should always upset a culture's population when something that was loved by so many gets so shit upon in its last days. It makes things like hyperbole, emotional outbursts, and satirical death threats acceptable when they are done to help solidify its place here when so many are willfully trying to erase what it was and replace it with something that is far inferior. And as far as my genocide comment, I'm certain it wasn't misunderstood. It was clever. And for it to not draw the rears it should have really leaves me somewhat at sea with no wind. for now.

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I forgot Dani was dead.

 

 

And this felt like him ripping off Delano's four skinheads.

 

Sans them pummeling each other to death over football.

 

Which I have a soft spot for. It was pretty amusing.

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From what I know of the Mafia, from what I have read in books, you don't wack a guy without permission, especially the boss's daughter's man, unless you wanna get whacked yourself.

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From what I know of the Mafia, from what I have read in books, you don't wack a guy without permission, especially the boss's daughter's man, unless you wanna get whacked yourself.

 

England's got a tradition of mistaking a wish for an order ("Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?") for assasination.

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From what I know of the Mafia, from what I have read in books, you don't wack a guy without permission, especially the boss's daughter's man, unless you wanna get whacked yourself.

I doubt Terry's mafia: neither him nor any of his mob come across as very Italian, do they?

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