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Demon Chas08

Revisitations 4: The Year of Warren Ellis & the Minis (1999)

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Since there's only nine issues (and Shoot finally published over a decade later). Time to revisit the short live period of Warren Ellis. Also the mini-series featuring our John: The Trenchcoat Brigade and Sandman Presents: Love Street. Oh, and Darko Macan's sole two-part entry.

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And don't forget its badass soundtrack. As for the minis, that's on a per issue basis as to where they're located, but we did make an etc. one for the movie and for outside the title, Love Street's tunes are in it.

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Sandman Presents:Love Street was pretty good, but was also flawed.

John acting like he was totally in awe of Kabbalistic magic was particularly a piece of bad characterization.

 

The Trenchcoat Brigade was pretty awful.

 

Ellis' run was ok for what it was. "Haunted" wasn't bad. Not much to talk about really.

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How about "Ellis wrote a fairly shit run of Hellblazer, but left Carey with some decent characters to use later on"? Does that count as something to talk about?

Haven't read the Trenchcoat brigade and don't plan to.

Love Street was fun, and next to Ellis' run it looks like the best moments of Ennis all mashed together. Not half as good read in isolation, though.

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Haunted is one of the very best (doomed) relationship tales in Hellblazer's pantheon, and the magical elements of supporting cast were quite a lot more interesting than much of what came afterwards - although Carey and Mina gave us some very nice mundane folks.

 

The single issue stories are very much what I like in a Hellblazer comic. With potential echoes of Alan Moore's episodic Swamp Thing, an excellent anthology with occasional longer tales. Sadly the better writers got bogged down in overlong arcs and the lesser writers just wrote Hellblazer the soap opera.

 

Each of Ellis's tales has the appearance of mystical shit going down, but often exposed to be madness, daftness or badness.

John Constantine is very much himself here.

 

Love Street was okay, if a little bit, "here's a good story, let's drop John Constantine in there". Nice and local though.

 

Ashes and Honey should probably go here too. Disappointed by the loss of Warren Ellis, I found this to be a nice little tale. Gary Erskine art too, I could have lived with more of that.

 

I know Vertigo did not always realise what kind of book Hellblazer could be, but by appointing Ellis they had a golden opportunity, which was wasted by the editorial decision to let him go ahead with Shoot, and waste his time by deciding not to publish. I know of a handful of times in the history of the book where editors have said "yeah, that sounds cool" only for the finished script or art to be binned by higher-ups. But in general it survived.

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My big objection to Haunted is that it's stupidly overlong. It could have been done in a couple of issues and would probably have worked a lot better at a shorter length. Also, Josh Wright isn't all that credible a threat, even before Map uses a tube obeah to nobble his heavies.

 

Given the comment about Erskine (which is absolutely right), I'm a bit surprised nobody's mentioned that John Higgins was one of the biggest pluses about the Ellis run. I shudder to think how godawful Haunted might have looked with Bermejo drawing it. Mind you, I am saying that as somebody who enjoyed Warren Pleece's art on the last third of the Jenkins run, so maybe that should be taken with a pinch of salt.

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Yeah, Higgins work is classy.

Josh Wright could have been developed though, as an opening appearance it was fine.

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I dunno about that: the whole end of the opening appearance did make much in the way of future development unlikely, though Carey definitely got some play from the beef this left him with about Constantine.

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I really liked the Darko Macan two-parter. A nice, quiet two-parter (or short story) dealing with supernatural themes. Those are usually my favourite HB stories....John Smith, "Widdershins" during Jenkins, a lot of Delano.

I'd rank Macan's two-parter higher than any of the other stories being included in this section.

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Like an awful lot of Ellis's work, his run seemed to mostly be about whatever he'd been reading or watching that month. I'd been reading a lot of Derek Raymond myself around the same time, and his (ahem) homage in 'Haunted' wasn't terribly inspired. The 'Men Behind the Sun' one seemed particularly blatant.

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I dunno about that: the whole end of the opening appearance did make much in the way of future development unlikely, though Carey definitely got some play from the beef this left him with about Constantine.

 

Though a injoke ref. to Wright's acid bath would've been a nice touch (and him twitching in bemusement)

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Maybe Carey was trying to avoid overdoing the insider jokes early on?

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Maybe Carey was trying to avoid overdoing the insider jokes early on?

 

He should've avoided including Straff's long since dead mom. It's ok though since I've already replaced her in my mind with Muppet or Lofty

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Haunted was excellent but the only other story I liked was the one most of you hate - Telling Tales. I liked Shoot when it first was released online however many years ago.I read it in 06 or 07. But I don't care for it now. Don't knowwhy that is,though.

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Ellis' run did nothing for me, though he DID create some good characters that Carey used to much better effect. "Shoot" was his best story, in my opinion, but even that one was ill-conceived and had a message that, at best, made no sense and, at worst, was rather offensive. Each time I re-read Hellblazer, I find myself thinking "Meh" to his run.

 

"Love Street," as well as the other Sandman/Constantine spinoff, "Marquee Moon," I quite enjoyed, but "Trenchcoat Brigade" was just AWFUL. Despite being a sequel to Gaiman's "Books of Magic" and Len Wein's "Swamp Thing" run, it was badly written, weakly drawn and boring--in every way inferior to both of its progenitors. Darko Macan's two-parter, on the other hand, was great, I thought--moody, thoughtful and not overplayed, which is just what the story needed.

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I really enjoyed Haunted. It was the 2nd Constantine story I've read after I read Dangerous Habits. I've re-read it maybe 2-3 times since and it holds up well for me. It also gave us Map, who I love.

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