Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Hellblazer by Jamie Delano issue #17

After three issues of non-action where we got to see John Constantine get cozy with hippies and runaways while also becoming a reluctant father figure to a mysterious young girl (whilst shagging the mother), this issue entitled Fellow Traveler moves the story along by also showcasing a well-executed macabre sequences of train passengers destroying each other in a frenzy of gore and delirium. Great stuff, but nothing out of the ordinary in the vein of stories that Hellblazer usually tell.

I rather enjoyed the narrative for this story as well. Delano's stylistic language can get verbose in the wrong place sometimes (I can't exactly remember which issues were they but there were instances that I didn't appreciate the quality of the narrative in those because they feel too on-the-nose, description-wise) but I believe that the atmosphere and tonality of the story at hand demands Delano's kind of prose. The scenes for Fellow Traveler were gruesome with a touch of dark comedy here and there to even out the rough edges. I suppose the humor comes from the fact that John Constantine YET AGAIN finds himself in the most compromising situations and has to ONCE AGAIN withstand and survive the ordeal. It's funny because it's depressing as hell. We all have to find something amusing in Hellblazer, okay? I swear to the gods that sometimes it's the only way, if not the best way, to get through most of its issues. So, for this issue, John just found himself smacked in a nightmare train while ghouls and murderers feasted on one another all around him. I believe that's considered a Wednesday in this man's life, Jesus bloody Christ! With the kind of chaotic cacophony that the man has to deal with in a regular basis, can we really blame him for losing his mind every now and then, chain-smoking like a chimney, or learning to be crass and harsh when it comes to his decision-making and expression of views regarding humanity and the world in general? I dare anyone to walk a mile in John Constantine's shoes and make it out intact. Seriously. I DARE ANY OF YOU to see and feel the things he had and come out unscathed in spite of it.

I think that my admiration and respect for John grows every issue even if, at the same time, it distresses me and makes me very uncomfortable to see him make a wrong turn or forsake a loved one. It's certainly getting hard for us readers to get on a ride horse and judge him harshly for his actions when we have no goddamn clue what it's like to experience the horrors he has to face every day and still find something generous and resilient in his spirit to bear it all. John Constantine may not be likable. He may not be heroic or noble. But he is nevertheless a man with admirable qualities, scarce and often hidden as they may be (because John also has a tendency to downplay these things, most probably because he is uncomfortable of the positive attention he might garner, seeing as he seems to like cultivating a loathsome persona as part of his self-preservation tactics). The bottom line is that I LOVE JOHN CONSTANTINE. He may be damaged goods but it makes him curiously functional. One has ot be equals parts of brave and crazy to do the things he does and face the things in the darkest of darkness that neither you and I can ever handle.

We got to see Mercury less in this issue for now but her role in the story proves to be promising. I certainly hope she won't be another Zed. She seems like a second chance for John to redeem himself from that earlier fuck-up.


RECOMMENDED: 8/10

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