Written by: Mike Carey
Illustrated by: Leonardo Manco
Trade: 128 pages
July 2006, $14.99
When a mysterious worldwide plague starts putting millions of people into deadly comas, Earth’s foremost expert on the bizarre, John Constantine, steps in with the “cure.” After traveling from the dreary alleys of London to the glittering boulevards of L.A., Constantine realizes that a cadre of wicked demons and hellish monsters is behind the outbreak, and he’ll have to sacrifice more than himself to put an end to the nightmare.
I adore Mike Carey. he’s up there with Whedon and Gaiman when it comes to my Geek Gods. While he hasn't been the creator of John Constantine (that would be Alan Moore) or Lucifer of the Endless (that was Gaiman), he has done such great things with those characters. But enough of my adoration of Carey (have you read his Felix Castor novels yet?) and lets talk about Mr Constantine.
He’s charming, snarly, irreverent, flawed, powerful and a dead sexy anti hero (What? I have a Sting crush too you know. And also snarky heros in general). But he is also a bastard who can be cruel, manipulative, and stubborn as all hell. If you are a friend or family member, I am sorry because death and doom, as well as heaps of misery will follow you like one of those cute little rain clouds of misery. Despite that I fancy him. A lot. I love the damaged hero, the oh shit its him mentality of those who know him and how easily he can tell the Big Bads to go frak themselves. John has had a few facelifts over the years as well as various storylines, but at the core he remains one of my favorite comic characters of all time.
Mike Carey has done a great job with his turn at my favorite smart ass magic user. And I think Carey had a lot of fun as well. In many ways Carey’s own Felix Castor is a lot like Constantine and yet different and original enough not to be an obvious clone. There must be something so wonderfully fun in writing such characters though to be honest I would rather have Felix watch my back than John.
In this outing Constantine and his best mate, Chas head from England to LA when Chas’s granddaughter Tricia falls into a mysterious coma along with children all over the world. It seems that Beroul, a particularly nasty demon and his little friends have decided to create their own little hells away from Hell and Beroul wants Constantine to eliminate the competition. What better way to do so then to have little Tricia as ransom. Of course its never fun when you may have to make a deal with even worse kind of baddie to help save the damsel in distress.
Things I loved: What did I not love. The art was beautiful, the storyline amazing. Its no wonder that every denizen in Hell would love to make John their next meal. I think that in this we see some of the best and the worst in our anti hero. "You forget yourself. I am no upstarting demon, scrabbling in the dirt of the human soul. I am Mictlantecuhtli. I am a God." John’s response, "Great stuff. I'm John -- and I'm a bastard." Its John’s acerbic wit and even Chas’s humor that Carey really excels at. Well that and a moody, frightening world where demons not only want to rule the crime syndicates but devour human souls.
Things I didn't love so much: It was over far too soon
Buy or Borrow: Buy. A worthy addition to any comics collection, especially if you are a Hellblazer fan.
Part of: Hellblazer
Also Recommended: For more Mike Carey try his Felix Castor novels or his Lucifer comic series which is amazing.
4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks