aztek_the_lost's Hellblazer #172 - Ashes & Dust: In The City Of Angels, Part 3 review

Johnny Boy Likes it Kinky

Brian Azzarello, best known for his magnificent tale 100 Bullets, also had a considerably lengthy run on Hellblazer. A quite unique run. Not just because Azzarello was the first American to write the book but because the entire tale took place in America. Another thing that made Azzarello’s story unique is John’s personality. Plenty of times you’d get a sadistic or cruel grin on his face, often through shadowing or close-ups it’d be the only thing you saw when he spoke, there was no mistaking John for a good guy.

Here we are halfway through Brian’s final arc, Ashes & Dust, a wrap-up of the events he kicked off in #146 when Ellis left the book and a new vision was needed. The run kept a lot of things mysterious, and it is here that the main mystery of them all is explained, what set John on the trial he would endure. I really enjoyed this story, and arc, although I admit it’s sometimes hard to fit this in with the rest of the Hellblazer universe, the truth is, every writer’s John is different, this was no exception.

However, if you want to check out this issue, you definitely cannot just jump in despite the quality, the stuff referenced goes right back to the beginning, you’ll have to get it all…#146-174. Thankfully, through reprinting that’s been made into a handful of trades: Hard Time, Good Intentions, Freezes Over (not as essential as the others to the main story but bloody awesome), and Highwater. Plus, there’s plenty of BDSM stuff in this arc, how can you not love that?

3 Comments
Posted by Silkcuts

Azz was a writer that got it pretty hard on Hellblazer, if you tell him "I think its the American backlash, man", you and him will be buddies.  I did that at this years fan Expo in Toronto and he was signing all my hardcover 'Kevin "Silkcuts"'... I only brought my hardcovers of books he wrote, since I love Azz' work.  I really should of brought the Hellblazers, since he is the first writer of my fave series that I met.  Maybe next time.  
 
I agree that this run was good and it was unique.  I liked that Azz was fearless in the type of story he wanted to tell.  The main problem with it, is that is is good for Azz fans, not for the General Hellblazer fans.  I know he still likes the character and would write him again if had the chance.  The end of his run I did not like... but there could be worst endings.

Posted by aztek_the_lost
@Silkcuts: he sounds like a cool guy based on your meeting him at the urinals there but uh, for clarity, what part of his finale don't you like? the seduction part? because I actually liked the stuff that was revealed in this issue, tying the entire story together, how John got to jail and all, I mean I was freaking out when John left Lucky's wife knowing what she did and I didn't know so I thought this batch of answers was perfect, it made what originally seemed like a little journey across America all make sense in the overall arc 
 
plus Freezes Over was a great bonus story, it did feel like an Elseworlds John though
Moderator
Posted by Silkcuts
@aztek the lost:  Most of the arc I enjoyed, the "Gay" angle I saw as John conning like issue #51 I see has John just saying that stuff to get the older women away from him.
 
I just didn't like the final ending, the way it is presented that John died and all... then Carey's run kicks in... It just doesn't read well that way for me. I think Azz just got mad being forced out so he "Burned" his bridge with the ongoing... then he would be in issue #250 and that was just weird... may be my least fave of all of the 5 in that issue.  
 
Hard Time, Good Intentions and Freeze over are great, Highwater is the trade I had problem with. Momentum seemed lost, because the best stories were short stories and the end felt rushed to me.

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