Con-Job vs. the Telly
Paul Jenkins, the most underrated Hellblazer writer of them all, at this point he had written the longest continuous run on the series and yet even to this day not a single issue of his forty-part epic has been reprinted. Flipping through my Vertigo Encyclopedia from DK Publishing (published in 2008)…in a two-page summary of the events of the series from Delano up until early Diggle, not even a single phrase acknowledges Jenkins’ work and in fact he’s not listed under the writers of the book either whereas someone like Mina who had a run of fourteen issues gets an entire paragraph in the summary.
I’m not going to claim Jenkins deserves to be called the greatest Hellblazer writer of all time and for all I know for some reason Vertigo just wants to break all ties with the man or vice versa but regardless some of his work on the book would definitely fall under my favorite Hellblazer stories of all time.
Unfortunately, this isn’t one of them.
Partnered with an artist by the name of Warren Pleece (whose claim to fame was a collaboration with Garth Ennis from the UK comic days), Jenkins does what Ennis did in Damnation’s Flame and takes Hellblazer to America in Up the Down Staircase. Only this time it’s to meet his girlfriend’s family, for Thanksgiving. And of course, as one would expect, things are out-of-control at the family gathering. In this issue we learn it is the work of the First of the Fallen which honestly disappointed me, I felt like this was way too “modern” a Devil, I’m not a fan of the Satan who is American media rather then just one vengeful, sick and demented motherf@#ker who is not afraid to sink to new levels of depravity.
Sadly this is precisely the Satan who is American media, perhaps the story just isn’t as timeless as it could be and would have held more impact then but honestly I couldn’t keep my interest too well. The best part of this arc is the stuff at the beginning with the crazed boyfriend going over the events that led to the death of his lover. The family drama isn’t so bad either, the cliffhanger was decent, but again, First of the Fallen…not at his best. I feel a different villain should have been used here.
If you want essential Jenkins, #100 is your best bet, there are some other good arcs but the anniversary issue is self-contained and since none of this was collected it’s probably your best bet.