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Demon Chas08

Revisitations 7: The Year of Denise Mina (2006-2007)

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January 2006: With Mike Carey's run over and the 7 years of cover art of Tim Bradstreet no more a new writer was called to the smoke in the form of Scottish author Denise Mina. Her 13 issue run had a interesting start but floundered by journey's end. However, she got John's voice down to a T.

 

That and we got a Carey one-off after it!

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Fair summary. I didn't object to the ending as much as some seemed to, but there was an interminable amount of mimbling round the museum in the second half.

 

Mina tried to do something different, at least, so I'd rate her over the hacks either side. And her run got me into her novels, which are often very good, as well as the art of Joan Eardley.

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Mina tried to do something different, at least, so I'd rate her over the hacks either side.

 

:icon_rolleyes:

 

 

I was looking forward to this run, but the instant rebuttal of the decisions Constantine took about magic at the end of Carey's run set me off on the wrong foot. And how could a woman write Gemma as such a drip? If I were in continuity mode, I'd say much of the characters' behaviour was driven by the empathy thing. (I was reminded of that time in the recent JLDire story where the DCU Constanteen expresses his thoughts about why he cannot lie!)

 

But yes, Denis Mina's character of John Constantine was almost as good as anyone else's (up until Andy Diggle left).

The story was overlong, and had a punchline that would have been funny in a single issue, and anyway a 13 month serial should have an ending not a punchline. Some of Leonardo Manco's artwork suffered (often due to last minute changes and uncertainty about structuring a story apparently) but I will always prefer the Carey-Mina-Diggle artwork to everything except Sean Phillips.

The jokey tone of much of this story was summed up by his inclusion of the Monty Python nuns :-)

It was a game of two halfs, with Empathy is the Enemy setting up possibilities but Red Right Hand frittering them away.

And if it'd been trimmed in half with 3 parts EE and 2 parts RRH it might have worked better.

 

Oh, dearie me, I just remembered the "fine art" covers ...

Before we move on (via Diggle) towards the least popular writer ever, let us remember that even talking overcoats are not as bad as Mina's awful single issue set in London with terrorists.

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Yes, the horrible one-off issue by Mina is what sticks out most in my mind from her run. Definitely contending with the worst of Milligan there.

 

I thought I was going to love Mina's run at the start. Those first chapters, where it was John driving down the road, that was what I wanted to see in Hellblazer. A book that was all about characterization and quiet moments, and leave the rest of that stuff behind.

Then, it quickly went somewhere that I didn't care about.

Then, the second half completely lost my interest.

And, it did all last far too long. Nowhere near enough happened in that twelve months to reconcile the twelve issues to get there, plus the ending was not worth the wait.

 

Remember everyone: Empathy is the enemy! That was all we got out of Mina's run in the end.

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I only read the Red Right Hand trade. It were shit. Even Manco's artwork was incredibly silly, with so much gurning and general facial wackiness that I wondered if he was deliberately sabotaging it. And I hated the punchline, partly because it was a hilarious anticlimax and partly because it meant nobody else could use 'schadenfreude' as their conclusion, which is in itself a pretty good idea.

 

And Gemma's had some pretty awful strokes of writing throughout the series, but seeing her reduced to a simpering lovelorn teen, in her late twenties, right after her mum's died, is probably the worst one. I've heard Milligan leads her even further down the bullshit track though.

 

Also Mina wins the sheer fucking audacity award for actually making Map say I'S DYING

 

or something close to that anyway

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I dropped it a few issues in. I just couldn't get into it and due to this run it was difficult getting back on it. I missed a few of Diggle's issues and so on due to falling off the book when Mina started writing.

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The sad irony about Mina's run is how well she captured John's voice and how poorly she was able to go anywhere with him. She had John Constantine down as a character as well as most of the other writers did early on, she just wasn't able to use him effectively, and that's such a shame. Still I prefer her stint over those who followed. I had no idea at the time shouting for her head, but I would have liked anything she came up with better than the DIggle/Milligan revisionist runs.

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