Hellblazer Through the Ages
Okay, since Hellblazer is the book that brought a resurgence in me to review a book on a monthly basis with its consistent greatness I decided I’d try and put a spin on things starting this month and hopefully continuing in such a fashion. I’m going to start off comparing it to issues of the past, fifty issues ago, one hundred issues ago, etc. by fifty issue margins to demonstrate just how great the current stuff really is. I mean in an ongoing series that has lasted over two decades it can be difficult to determine the cream of the crop and I hope to help. Below is a brief thought on comparing this issue to past issues with a link to full reviews of the issues themselves. Following that will be a review of this issue in particular and it can be skipped to if you so desire, consider the rest bonus material.
Hellblazer #22: From the very first Hellblazer writer. Milligan takes it.
Hellblazer #72: From the most renown Hellblazer writer. I’m going to have to go with Milligan, but by a smaller margin.
Hellblazer #122: From the most underrated Hellblazer writer. Milligan wins again.
Hellblazer #172: From the first American Hellblazer writer. This is a tough one…hmm…you know what I’m going to have to…goddammit, Milligan you’ve convinced me.
Hellblazer #222: From my least favorite ongoing Hellblazer writer. And he takes the cake.
Oh my god, this love fest just keeps getting bigger and bigger, old lovers getting replaced by new, oh this story is so delicious, Peter Milligan you are a comic writing god! Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying this is single-handedly the greatest comic of all time in my hands right here, but Milligan’s Hellblazer has me more enthralled from issue to issue then I’ve been over a comic in a while.
The story is divided into two stories, the bride and the groom, Bisley and the Camuncoli/Landini duo, 1979 and 2010, an amateur magician and a succubus. With the wedding upcoming, this issue can leave you wondering who’s going to be in attendance? I bloody loved it!
The first story, Epiphany’s, is drawn by the phenomenal cover artist Simon Bisley (who’s cover for 272 which can be found on his page is actually slightly more grand than the real one since it seems they chose to zoom in for the official cover). The story begins with what is to be expected, if you were to go to the past, wouldn’t you try and undo some of its tragedies? Things don’t work out and Epiphany is left with nowhere else to turn except…John Constantine? The irony here is great, Epiphany was proposed to by a man almost thirty years her senior and here she’s met him as he was at her own age, a much less jaded individual. Bisley’s art here is to die for, but Epiphany is also swiftly ascending in my eyes, not since Kit have we really had a look at one of John’s lovers on her own and it’s a very nice thing to see.
Then there’s John’s story, the regular artist team continues to amaze and Milligan expertly deals with an arising problem I foresaw when I picked up the second House of Mystery Halloween Annual last week. As you may or may not know, it takes several of Vertigo’s titles and does a Halloween-esque story and Hellblazer was one of them. Interestingly enough, it wasn’t stand-alone as some others and in fact tied to the current storyline, showing stuff that continued off of 271.
I worried Milligan was going to expect readers to have read that and would just continue off of that but what he did instead was “condensed” it and remade the story in a few pages, catching all the key moments and then kept the story moving. In this I feel he has done something ingenious, left no one reading Hellblazer forced to read the annual but possibly leaving people who read the annual intrigued enough to jump onto the ongoing.
The story of John’s has brought in a new character introduced into the story last issue, Gloria. Not the first succubus to come across Constantine’s path but already interesting as she represents something Chantinelle only ever seemed to but never really did, an enemy. I think the words discussed by her and her “employer” at the end of John were so tragically true and the ending was so saddening, gah, cliffhangers!
Usually I’m not into the whole love thing but this story is beautiful, it’s for all the f@#k-ups like me, John, Shade and so many others out there who just can’t seem to get the whole thing down. Best of luck Conners, see you next month!
P.S. People who’s lives are fantastic and everything goes right for them can also enjoy this book!