silkcuts's Hellblazer: City of Demons #1 - Chapter 1: Accidents Will Happen review

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Welcome to the City of Demons

The year of 2010 celebrates 25 years of John Constantine. Happy Anniversary Johnny Boy!  October being the biggest month in John's printed life.  Seven releases this month will have John in it, which is huge for him.  Wednesday, October the 13th, 2010, had three books with John in it: This book (John Constantine: City of Demons #1), The House of Mystery Halloween Annual #2 and the recoloring of Neil Gaiman's Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes. From the three this week, I think this one was the best of them John Constantine-wise.  
To keep this year special Vertigo places two John Constantine Projects on ice for about two years.  The first one was released earlier this year. It was an Original Graphic Novel titled Hellblazer: Pandemonium, which was written by Jamie Delano and art by Jock. The other main release was this mini-series called John Constantine: Hellblazer - City of Demons, which is written by Si Spencer ( Vinyl Underground, Books of Magick: Life During Wartime) and art by Sean Murphy ( Hellblazer, Joe The Barbarian). 

 Virgin cover of issue #1
 Inked Cover for issue #1
One of the advantages that being on ice has, is that the product has time to be perfect.  No rush.  Precise planning and execution. With the roughly two year wait, Sean Murphy was impatient.  There were a few images that he posted on his Deviant account which allowed Hellblazer fans access into the magic which is his art.  
Presented to the left is the final cover in its Virgin form with colors by Dave Stewart.  The picture on the right is a detailed inked version of the cover.  Comparing the two we can see the fine choice in colors Dave Stewart selected for this series.
 Inked page without lettering.
The visual layout is very nice and the coloring is spot on to keep the super-natural noir feel of a Si Spencer story. This creative team combines well, this help them all play on each others strengths.  Si Spencer knows the Occult underbelly of London as seen in his short lived Vinyl Underground stories.  Sean Murphy constructs bold and powerful art.  Dave Stewart uses color to give the art more life. 
 Finalized art without lettering.
The twists and turns in this intro-issue gets my approval as having the potential of being another classic John Constantine story in the making.  Past writers have Killed John Constantine before, what Si Spencer does here is original.  It is also nice to see an up and coming talent like Murphy on Hellblazer, keeping the tradition of Hellblazer being a place where talent emerges from.
A very nice selling point to this mini is the quality of paper.  Most of Vertigo's releases is on newspaper stock,  which keeps the classic comic book feel and keeps the cost low.  This comic received the same glossy paper that the superhero books get, American Vampire is the only ongoing monthly to receive this treatment.
This issue makes a very good introduction mini-series for anyone who wants to learn more about John Constantine.  The classic Johnisums, like his one liners and his dark humor are extra sharp in this issue.  There is mention of past supporting characters, but no appearances, making this story focused and not cluttered with other characters to develop.
Welcome to the City of Demons, population high but just under what John Constantine can handle.
Enjoy your stay.
- Silkcuts
Posted by Kal'smahboi

I hadn't been aware that this was coming out until an hour before I bought it. I couldn't be happier.
The art is gorgeous and the story is clever and interesting.  Spencer really knows John.  I absolutely can't wait to see where this goes.

Posted by Silkcuts
@Kal'smahboi said:
" I hadn't been aware that this was coming out until an hour before I bought it. I couldn't be happier.  The art is gorgeous and the story is clever and interesting.  Spencer really knows John.  I absolutely can't wait to see where this goes. "
As John Constantine's unofficial pimp on Comicvine, I am glad you are on board.  This mini series was spoken in whispers, DC has miss handled John for so many years it was like hoping to to jinx this.   Timing-wise it makes sense it was in the works for the last two years, with Vinyl Underground and Murphy's Jason Aaron Hellblazer story being well over a year, maybe two.  
I like Spencer's knowledge of London.  He brings the city to life and John Constantine is to London, what Batman is to Gotham.  I am also glad that this mini series was released this way, instead of it being before Peter Milligan's run, which I am also currently adoring.
I just can't believe that October is so great to be a John Constantine fan.  SHOOT in color next week!  Been waiting years to hold a hard copy.
Then part two of COD the week after :D  Good times to be a hellblazer fan.
Posted by Asymmetrical

Loving this so far, and you know, the funny thing is I just realized today that Si Spencer has already had experience in writing everyone's favorite London mage, I actually really enjoyed John in Books of Magick (though that may have just been me, what did you think of him in that?)

Posted by Silkcuts
@aztek the lost:  I wished they collected that series completely, I only have the trade and only read the first 5 issue.  I like "Lord" Constantine, quite bad ass and Blond Zee is just as nice on the eyes as the real Zee is.
With all the research I've been doing between Magick and Magic I wonder how I would enjoy this series if I would read it all now.

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