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Constantine: The Hellblazer #2

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by Ming Doyle, James Tynion IV, Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascencia

The second chapter of John Constantine’s new ongoing series continues to live up to the promise of the first issue, entitled Walk of Shame, as we continued to see John deal with the prospect of his ghosts being killed off one by one. From writers Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV, artist Riley Rossmo and colourist Ivan Plascencia, the book addresses what happens when a ghost dies, and the answer is of course, nothing. They experience nothing for all time, and there’s no coming back like it should have been from the start. Constantine offers his ghosts to help him, but in a rather amusing manner, they all vanish almost immediately the moment that the reader turn the page for the next panel. Only Gary Lester, John’s best mate, remains behind, who’s insistent that Constantine’s ghosts actually want total oblivion rather than to help John, who likewise believes that they’re supposed to do what he tells them to, because they’re his ghosts.

It’s a pretty good way to kickstart the issue that continues to take the title back to the old days when John was under the Vertigo banner of just Hellblazer, and Doyle and Tynion IV capture the mood and the general macabre feel of the book very well. John’s narration is a pretty heavy guide through the issue and the few conversations that he has are mainly with the ghost of Gary, who spends most of the time throughout the issue telling him to seek help, as he doesn’t fully understand what he’s dealing with. The interactions between John and Gary are fantastic and it’s really fun to watch them bicker back and forth throughout the issue.

Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascencia are the perfect fit for the dark, moody pages of Constantine: The Hellblazer and their artwork continues to excel in the second issue as the panels really help flesh out the seedy neon-covered underbelly of New York incredibly well, and Plascencia’s colours are handled well enough to give the book a unique kind of atmosphere that feels like the perfect fit for the world of John Constantine. For those of you who wish Constantine had never left London then you’ll be pleased as well by the promising teaser at the end of the issue which hints at a return to the capital of England, and it should further establish the new status quo for Constantine in a very effective way. It’ll be good to have the Helllblazer back in his old territory for sure, and it will be exciting to see how Rossmo and Plascencia tackle London, because the scenery in this issue plays as much part as the action and the characters themselves, with a superb level of detail on display in each panel.

Constantine: The Hellblazer #2 is a confident second issue from Doyle, Tynion IV, Rossmo and Plascencia, and they handle the comic well and continue to establish the con-man’s new adventures very well indeed. The pacing is confident and the mystery is developed just as effectively here as it was in the previous issue, making this book perfect for fans looking to get their fix on the occult side of the DC Comics Universe. As far as this reviewer is concerned, the con-man is in excellent hands.

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