books

Hellblazer

Original Sins (1987), Rare Cuts (2005), Dark Entries (2009)

 

Original Sins (1987) Jamie Delano

So. Well.

Hellblazer: Original SinsI first came across Constantine in the Sandman: Preludes and Nocturnes, when Constantine helps Morpheus get his bag of sand back. He was a strange character, and I wasn't sure about him. But I was curious.

Then we watched "Constantine" which was an okay action movie, although I didn't think Keanu Reeves fit my brief memory of Constantine. I was right. Now that I've read the first Hellblazer, I have to say that the movie and the character of Constantine in Original Sins have nothing to do with each other. Blonde. British. Chain-smoker. Rake. Movie didn't get any of those things. (Oh, Constantine had cigarettes in the movie, but Keanue Reeves cannot smoke. At all.)

So, aside from that, how did I feel about Original Sins? It was eh.

Some of the stories I found confusing, and some things didn't make any sense to me. I wasn't sure whether it was because I was missing something that had happened elsewhere, or whether I'd accidentally skipped a page and totally missed a pertinent piece of information. (I am much more likely to do that when reading comics than when reading books, much to my confusion.)

Additionally, the resolution at the end of this story really sucks--as in, there is no resolution. Not really.

So, Michael picked up a a couple of other volumes, so I'll read the next one, and see how I feel about it, and then decide if I want to keep reading or not.
Rating: 5/10

Rare Cuts (2005) various

Hellblazer: Rare CutsRare Cuts is a collection of John Constantine stories spanning 1988 to 1994. It is my understanding that Rare Cuts was published after the movie Constantine came out, as an introduction to the comic, and written by Jamie Delano, Grant Morrison, and Garth Ennis.

These stories cover a lot of ground, from John Constantine's childhood (the story "Dead-Boys Heart") stories later in his life, including what happened at the Casanova Club at Newcastle ("Newcastle: A Taste of Things to Come").

So, if this is an overview of Hellblazer, then I guess I'm just not that interested in John Constantine. The stories were interesting, but not enough that I I'm going to go out of my way to keep reading. I get that Constantine is a rake, and a bit of a jerk. But what I don't get is the claim that Constantine is one of the "world's greatest sorcerers." I'm just not that impressed.

I'm not sure that I can put my finger on precisely what I didn't care for. Maybe some of the stories were a bit confusing, and several of the stories were very gruesome--more so than I care for. I guess it's not that the stories weren't good, it's just that they weren't my thing.
Rating: 5/10

Dark Entries (2009) Ian Rankin, Werther Dell’Edera

Dark EntriesI have a conflicted relationship with John Constantine stories. I love the idea of who Constantine is, but for some reason the stories always fall short of my expectations in some manner. But when I saw that Ian Rankin–whose John Rebus mysteries I love–had written a Constantine graphic novel, I had to check it out. s

Rankin does a very good job of Constantine’s voice–that tone of weary self-loathing and cynicism. Nothing impresses Constantine, nothing scares him, but he’s always willing to walk into a bad situation if he’s offered enough money.

In this case, the money comes from the producer of a haunted house reality TV show who wants Constantine’s help dealing with haunting that aren’t being created by the show. A big wad of money convinces Constantine to look into the house. One of the occupants–who looks very much like someone John once knew–draws Constantine further into the mystery.

As usual, this Constantine story left me conflicted. I’m beginning to think that the horror in Constantine stories is tweaked up a little too high for my comfort–even in black and white the nasties are very nasty.

It was a good story, but I think that the high level of horror in Constantine stories is too much for my taste. Without the artwork, I probably would be fine with it, but since this is a graphic novel, it’s a little too disturbing I think.
Rating: 6/10

Published by Vertigo