Saturday, August 16, 2014

Hellblazer by Jamie Delano issue #12

"For the first time since Newcastle, when I poisoned myself with a stupid lust for power, I'm conscious of standing on the brink of the future--rather than the tail of the past. We have to turn inwards. Enter the siege perilous-- and wrestle. It's not those grotesque, tired institutions of heaven and hell that are the problem-- it's the devils we know."

The Devil You Know, this issue's namesake, comes from a phrase that had always amused me, and I often apply it in my own personal life when it comes to decisions that have, well, ambiguous contexts. To expound on that cheery note, I think I should admit by now that I just realized why I enjoy reading John Constantine's tales the way I have (even if they are about his less admirable moments). I suppose I do recognize my faults in nature whenever I contextualize my  experiences with his own. 

Over the course of the thirteen issues I have finished reading so far, I've also learned to put myself in his shoes and knew--uncomfortably so--that I would have chosen the same things (even if my motivations differ strongly from his). Could it be because we're both Taurus natives? (We find out about his birthday in the ninth issue which was on May 10. I was born on April 24. Since this Hellblazer leans on mysticism, I felt the need to bring up zodiac signs here). Whatever the logic behind my connection with this character is my own shit to deal with, I guess. So let's move on to the review.

This issue is the conclusion to the Newcastle case from the previous one. I'm quite happy that Delano and co. don't drag the stories for long and they usually come in two issues while others are standalone ones. It is arguable, however, when it comes to Newscastle since this plotline has been mentioned since the very first issue but was only finally discussed by the eleventh and twelfth issues. Newcastle is a significant game-changer event in Hellblazer because it showed us a past where John is arrogant and impulsive and it ended up costing the life of a little girl and, to a lesser extent, his friends who were involved in the botched ritual. This mistake has haunted him since we met him when Hellblazer started and it's only in this issue that John Constantine can finally put his demon (literal and metaphorical) to rest.

I've already been very indulgent with spoilers from the last issue so I think it's only appropriate that I don't talk about the events of this issue in detail anymore because I really encourage anyone who might be following my Hellblazer reviews to read the issues themselves if they can find the time and copies online. But overall, this has been a fantastic way to end the storyline of Newcastle. You can actually feel John Constantine himself feeling invigorated about life and living in general. Sure, there was another loss along the way but he can contend himself with the reality that all the scars he had collected since should be worn with pride and dignity this time.


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