im trying to summarize my feelings on the news of the cancellation of Hellblazer and the creation of Constantine.
im personally very excited about Constantine by Venditti. hes a great writer and i really love how they have incorporated Constantine into the Mainstream DC. BUT cancelling Hellblazer isnt necessary. its a hit with the readers and has been one of the go-to books for those of us wanting more mature themes. its also of note that its the series gone the longest of both big publishers that has had no reboots or renumberings and John has never been de-aged at all. and its really sad that they feel the character cant support two books. if anything Constantine should only help Hellblazer's sales.
The biggest problem is that even though im sure Venditti is more than capable of writing good Constantine stories, the editorial mandates on material published in the Mainstream universe are far too restrictive. they would never today allow someone like the extremely morally ambivalent Constantine to have adventures along side Superman and Batman. even though the newer younger Constantine has a core like the original he is still far more in your face heroic than the original version. organizing the heroes and acting like a general is kind of like the original but the original is far more subtle in his machinations. i like it but its not the same.
ive heard the argument that they dont want to confuse the readers. but Constantine has been in the mainstream DCU since after Brightest Day and there was never confusion then! DC publishes out of canon Batman monthly. Marvel has an entire line dedicated to a different Ultimate universe. why would this suddenly confuse people?
another issue is Venditti is not British. the character is proven to be best written by British writers, Milligan, Gaiman, Ennis Ellis, etc. when an American like Azzarello or Lemire writes him its still good but it doesnt FEEL like John Constantine.
Im excited about the new series but i am very bitter they are ending the original Hellblazer series. its well before its time and there are, i believe, plenty of stories left in the old man.