the_mighty_monarch's Hellblazer #294 - The Curse of the Constantines, Part Two: The Writing on the Wall review

Constantly Constantine

Bisley never fails to disappoint with these Hellblazer covers. Even when the overall concept isn't a super wow-er, it manages to look great because of some kind of details. Whether it's John's one visible eye drilling into your soul, the smooth arcing flow of the word 'Constantine,' the strange beauty of the bloody hand, or the great depiction of the bloody hair; I like this cover even if I don't think it's one of the better ones.

And how about Camuncoli's interior artwork? Well if you know Camuncoli you know what to expect. Such a great sense of simplicity in the line work, he doesn't need to use a ton of lines to make things look great. What particularly stood out this issue was the unique way he depicted the flashbacks. Even looser line work, set to an astoundingly detailed sepia tone.

I'm trying to work out how everything is connected here. This issue seems to be spreading itself thinner than most arcs, though in many ways I like it. I always enjoy Milligan's Hellblazer, but it tends to feel very formulaic. Not formulaic in the usual sense perhaps, but there does tend to be a pattern to each arc with a repeating mood, skating just above with some sprinkles of new twists and turns. This is one of the few arcs that seems to be breaking that pattern, with a much more natural and unfocused storyline. It wafts about through this world, from the murderer painting Constantine on the wall in blood, to John looking into the past in the search for his missing nephew encountering some very real and raw emotions, to Constantine husband and wife searching for different things in Ireland.

And of course the Constantines both get mixed up in new troubles seemingly unrelated to each other or anything else in this arc thus far. But Milligan does a great job at keeping this from feeling spread too thin. This is John Constantine's life, and Epihpany Constantine's as well. Many things happen in people's lives at the same time, and they aren't always immediately connected.

And I have to keep saying that this is perhaps the most interesting married couple in comics as far as I can recall, but my mind's not everywhere at the moment. It certainly is one near the top, because they're so brilliantly dysfunctional, and yet such great partners for each other it seems. Any weirdness they encounter emotionally seems to only strengthen the marriage, and they can't seem to stop from baffling anyone they encounter. Both of these characters are extremely interesting alone, and create enough personality intrigue as a married couple to almost constitute them together as a separate, third, character.

In Conclusion: 4.5/5

Not my favorite issue, but hell, does that mean it's bad? There's just so much good stuffed into the pages of this comic, so consistently, that it's hard to really notice the flaws, or at least let them impact too much. This arc has really nice momentum, separating itself from the previous arcs in tone, but manifesting that differently with each passing issue.


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