Putting the Band Back Together
Although I've always wanted to try a series with John Constantine in it I was skeptical about this series, as I wasn't really familiar with any of the other characters, and heard bad things, and although I've heard that it's been good since this issue due to Jeff Lemire becoming writer I still didn't want to try it. After being told how good it was from a friend, and noticing how Lemire changed the Green Arrow series into something brilliant, added the fact that the new Constantine series is out, I thought I'd finally give it a try.
This was a phenomenal issue, and although I know Jeff Lemire's a good writer I never expected it to be quite as good. Lemire has done a fantastic job of introducing a new reader like me to this series, and although I'd probably enjoy the series even more if I'd read the previous issues, I don't feel obliged to go back and read them. Lemire does a brilliant job of writing all the characters, and although as I said I'm not too familiar with some of them, Lemire has made me not only very interested in them, but wanting to see more of them, which is something I like to get from characters, especially ones I haven't read before. I also loved how Lemire started the issue right in the action, giving us excitement right from the get go, but I was also happy that he stepped it back quickly, giving us the start of the story, which made the issue feel really dynamic, and dramatic.
The art was simply stunning, and Mikel Janin did a fantastic job. I've never seen Janin's art prior to this, but I have to say, it's fantastic, and nothing short of phenomenal. Janin's art oozes with detail, and I love that when you look at it's core it has a cartoonish feel to it. Don't get me wrong this isn't a silly issue, and the art also reflects this, but it's just the crispness of the lines that give it the cartoon effect, but at the same time it's this that makes it so wonderful. It is however Ulises Arreola's colours that make the art look right for this series, making Janin's art fit with the style of the book, and between the two of them, they've really made a masterpiece. I also love the detail in the background, and settings, as it gives a very dramatic feel to the art, making the big fight sequences look even better. The layouts were also brilliant, and overall Janin's made me fall in love with this series, and between his art, and Lemire's writing, it's simply phenomenal.
As I said Constantine was one of the reasons I wanted top get this series, and I wasn't disappointed. Although I have no previous knowledge of Constantine from Hellblazer (having not read any of it) I have seen the film, and although I've heard it's inaccurate, I still enjoyed it, and it made me like the Constantine character. I do however have to say I've preferred the character in this issue, and the first issue of the new Constantine series, and although it may be different than Hellblazer, it's a better way of having Constantine in the New 52, and the DCU in general. I also thought that Lemire did a brilliant job of the character in this issue, and I loved how he kept calling Zatanna love. I've also liked that Lemire is showing what type of character Constantine is from the start, showing that he's manipulative, and not to be trusted with. It was also interesting to see that there was history between Constantine and Zatanna. Having not read the series before I don't know if it's been shown before, but in this issue you could tell that there was something between them, and I'm interested to see the development of this.
The sequence were Steve Trevor asked for Constantine, and the JLD's help was probably one of the more interesting sequences, coming just behind Constantine convincing the remaining JLD members, and although it wasn't as exciting, it was very well written, and Lemire did a brilliant job with the dialogue. I also liked how you saw the clash of personalities between the two characters, as you have Constantine, a very confident man, who is always ups to something, and Trevor, a man who works for his country, believing that he's doing the greater good. I also loved that it was obvious that the two characters didn't like each other, and that Trevor only came to Constantine cause he needed to, and Constantine only accepted cause it benefited him.
There was a new member to the team in this issue in the form of Black Orchid. Technically it had another new member in the form of Andrew Bennett, but he'd already appeared in the series during the Rise of the Vampires crossover between this and I, Vampire. It was Black Orchid that I found more interesting anyway, as she was added by Trevor to make sure Constantine didn't run amok. The thing that was interesting was that very little is known about her. I know she appeared in the DCU prior to the New 52, but I've not read anything that I can recall seeing her in, so like the team I'm oblivious to her backstory, and it may very well have changed anyway. I also liked that she was added by Trevor, which means that the A.R.G.U.S. link to the story will stay open, it also shows more that Constantine shouldn't be trusted.
I also found myself becoming more interested in the other characters that were involved in this issue as well, and although I've read both Deadman, and Zatanna in previous series, I enjoyed them more in this issue, and felt the JLD were a good team, even if they were a bit dysfunctional. Besides Rotworld I've never really seen Deadman since Brightest Day, and I've not seen Zatanna for longer, so it was nice to see them again, but I also found the likes of Madame Xanadu, and Bennett very interesting, and loved how everyone had very different personalities, but still had a dark, or mystic background to them.
Faust was also a very interesting villain and I liked that he was very menacing, and saw the JLD as nothing but a nuisance. Like a fair few of the characters that feature in this series I don’t know much about Faust, but I still enjoyed him, and think it’s the not knowing him that makes him feel more menacing, and unique. I also like that I hate him as a character, as I always like a hateable villain, as it makes them more menacing, and it also makes the excitement better when the hero wins.
This was a brilliant issue, and I'm very happy that I've started to get this series. It's very fun, exciting, and full of action, and Lemire handles that dark magical elements of the book perfectly, giving us something that both enjoyable, and mysterious. I would easily recommend this issue, and look forward to reading more of the series.