Comic Vine Review

21 Comments

Constantine #1 - The Spark and the Flame, Part 1: The Price We Pay Review

4

John Constantine heads into his new DC on-going series! Constantine heads to Norway.

The Good

Constantine heads off to Norway to find Croydon's Compass, but things get a little complicated when Sargon the Sorceress shows up.

We've already seen the DC version of Constantine in action in the pages of JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK. Here, Constantine holds his own extremely well. From issue one, it's very easy to tell that this character and the world he lives in will easily be able to star in his own comic. Luckily, Constantine still has that dickish charm and selfish attitude, which you'll see a few times.

As for the story, we're introduced to Sargon the Sorceress, daughter of Sagon. We also get to see some members of The Cult of the Cold Flame: Sargon, Zatara, Mister E, and Tannarak. While the book throws quite a bit of stuff at the reader, it's all incredibly interesting and easy to digest.

New readers may not understand who everyone is here, and they may feel a little in the dark, since DC's mystic side isn't as popular as its capes side, but this first issue is still very accessible to them and it is very new reader friendly. Writers Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes do a solid job here at explaining the world Constantine lives in, including smaller things like John having a bunch of animals around his place because their energy keeps him hidden. The explanations for all these mystical elements may be brief, but it's exactly what the reader needs.

Renato Guedes art, with colorist Marcelo Maiolo, is ridiculously awesome. The two page spread featuring Constantine, Sargon the Sorceress, and John's buddy Chris is phenomenal. Guedes has a great sense of depth and perception in his art here. This is great story telling through art here, and the amount of detail Geudes puts into each panel is astounding. This is a book you can buy just for the art. Fantastic work.

The Bad

There is a moment where Constantine mentions Mister E then says he'd never want to meet him in person. The Constantine I know met Mister E. in the Books of Magic mini-series, so the Constantine fanboy, buried inside, is all like "HOLD UP!" It's hard for me to separate this Constantine from the Vertigo counterpart.

This book jumps right into it and moves a bit too fast in the beginning. I feel a tad lost up until they reach Norway. It's easy to piece together the things I missed, by the end of the issue, but I still feel like I hopped in a roller coaster on its first descent.

The Verdict

As a stand-alone book, CONSTANTINE is awesome. Sure, some HELLBLAZER fans may not be happy because it's a "PG-13 or Water-Downed Constantine," but this isn't the Constantine from Vertigo. This is a different character. So before you read this book (or complain about it without reading), take a minute to separate the DC Constantine from the Vertigo Constantine in your mind. This is a character based off its Vertigo counterpart. It's not the same character. Also, go in with an open mind, like you should with every comic you read.

I was surprised with how much I liked this first issue. I was a tad hesitant, but it won me over right away. Fawkes and Lemire do a great job with setting this new series up, and it's a great place to start for new readers. Also, it doesn't hurt that the art is beautiful.

Overall, I highly recommend this issue.

21 Comments
Posted by Blood1991

I'm going to give it a shot. I've been digging JLD and I haven't gotten my hands on Hellblazer yet so I consider this testing the water.

Posted by Mucklefluga

I was going to buy this but because i've seen/read so many previews for it in the comics i buy it has out me off.

Posted by kagato

I hesitated when going to buy this today (well i did have 8 weeks worth to pick up lol) but after seeing your review im a lot more confident about picking it up tomorrow. That art is actually kind of great too, puts me in mind of kenneth rocafort somehow..

Posted by cbishop

I got a little taste of Constantine in Sword of Sorcery and the JLD Annual. I think this version of the character has potential, but like any character not connected to a family of books at DC, I wonder how long it will last. That's a problem that seems to plague the Big Two.

Posted by spinningbirdcake

Yeah i agree with the review. It's good. They seem to be playing up more of a reluctant a$$hole rather than an unrepentant one, but he's not a hero in this book, not really.

Posted by Fantasgasmic

Also for the Bad: the design of those sorcerers, ESPECIALLY Zatara. I don't know if he needs to wear the top-hat and tails, but for the love of god, he should at least look more David Copperfield than Chris Angel.

Edited by lantian1

I agree with you about Zatara's design

Though I don't think he could be corrupt because Constantine as he put it, is the one pulling two many strings & directly responsible for getting him killed in JLD

I suppose Constantine could be lying to himself

Edited by bob808
why was this not in the comic?
Posted by longbowhunter

I'm a big fan of what Jeff Lemire has been doing over on JLD. I thought about picking this up but decided against it. Since DC is now collecting Hellblazer in full in tpb I'm putting my money towards that.

Posted by jsphsmth

Loved the preview, love the review. I am turning into the biggest Lemire fan! Cannot wait to pick this up!

Edited by Deva12

I think people are getting too bogged down on Constantine's history Hellblazer was an awesome comic because it carried its (and Vertigo) continuity through the entire saga and was given time to evolve to the comic we all love. BUT you cant just stuff all that history into the new 52 and expect it to make any sort of sense. Mostly cause the new 52 timeline barely makes any sense as is but throw his 50-60 some odd years of demon kicking (well more like 25 but he was active before his comics) and it would make even less sense.

The way I see this series is a reincarnation of Constantine from when he was young hopefully we will be able to see great stories redone like him getting his demon blood, tricking the devil and saving Brendan's soul and etc.

Posted by Grey56

I can only imagine the grave-turning that the Hellblazer fans are going through right now.

Posted by JamesKM716

I love your reviews because you emerge as an unbiased opinion

Posted by dreamfall31

Surprised to see this was completely sold out at my store, especially for all the hate towards DC for canceling Hellblazer.

Posted by inferiorego

@JamesKM716 said:

I love your reviews because you emerge as an unbiased opinion

Being complimentary or being super sarcastic?

Man, the internet had changed me.....

time to go eat pasta and cry

Staff
Posted by TheElusiveNewReader

@inferiorego said:

@JamesKM716 said:

I love your reviews because you emerge as an unbiased opinion

Being complimentary or being super sarcastic?

Man, the internet had changed me.....

time to go eat pasta and cry

HAHAHAHAHA! I can't speak for him, but when you point out where you WERE biased in your review really does make me trust you more.

Matt's jaded soul aside, having only experienced Constantine in JLD and Sword and Sorcery (Well I did see that terrible movie but I didn't even realize it was the same Character until like a week ago) he is one of my favorite characters in the DCU

Posted by JamesKM716

@inferiorego: I wasn't being Sarcastic, You Love Saga, but didn't hesitate to give a mildly weaker issue a 4/5. I like that, makes me feel like your reviews are more... important?

What i'm sayin is taht if you say an issue is a 5 it definitely is a five.

Posted by benette_rivera

i'm new to john but i'm really liking this issue. Maybe i'll check on hellblazer to check the difference

Posted by MuyJingo

Not to be a dick but....intensive purposes?

I've never read Hellblazer but I'm looking forward to adding this to my list of regular comics.

Posted by inferiorego

@JamesKM716 said:

@inferiorego: I wasn't being Sarcastic, You Love Saga, but didn't hesitate to give a mildly weaker issue a 4/5. I like that, makes me feel like your reviews are more... important?

What i'm sayin is taht if you say an issue is a 5 it definitely is a five.

I can't tell anymore. I've lost my mind.

Thanks for the compliment!

Staff
Edited by Perfect 10

a good solid begining. the only problem i had was that i think he was laying it on a bit thick with the british accent with all the yeahs and rights and so on and so forth. definitely a must read for me. been waiting to learn more about the cold blue flame and see them being taken on.