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.
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.
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.