Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Hellblazer by Garth Ennis issue #43

Gabriel: For all your bluster and your arrogance, you are doomed because hell has laid claim to your soul. And it is to hell that you shall go.

Constantine: Yeah? Well, maybe I'm not the only one...I hope your dad doesn't know the sort of people you hang out with. I don't think he'd approve.

John makes the worst enemies. Last issue, all he wanted to do was to save his friend from eternal damnation so he ended up playing Satan for a fool in the most demeaning way possible (seriously, it was straight-up HILARIOUS too!) and now the King of Hell has placed a bull's eye on his back. But hey, there's a silver lining; it's yet another incentive not to die from a terminal illness, right? With John's track record of bad deeds outweighing his good, his soul is bound to be sent to Hell which would suck ass because John's not exactly a popular guy among demons in a good way, if you know what I'm saying. So what is our titular, wretched hero to do in this situation? I've made remarks once that Constantine is a self-preservationist type and he always has tricks up his sleeves. I guess this is why I don't feel disheartened as he goes through the motions. The sheer capacity of his will to fight another day has never failed me before and I am not about to give up on Johnny meself.

I'm still reading this series for a good reason--and it's because John Constantine is ME to a certain extent and in the most unpleasant way possible that he has made me examine the choices I made in my life. And I'd like to think I became a better person once I was brave enough to overcome my bullshit baggage--so call me an optimist but I want to see John survive all of this as if it's some sort of affirmation that what I've been through also mattered in the long run.

ANYWAY. We're at the Bargaining stage of the story. First, John meets up with a female woman named Ellie whom he seems chummy with. He gets quick updates about the situation in Hell where Satan definitely wants to make him his bitch. Ellie, unfortunately, cannot aid him in his quest for a cure but she suggests that John should see the "Snob" and the immediate furious reaction from John was outstanding! I have never seen him so worked up! By this point, I was rather curious to know who this Snob person is. It turns out he's one of the archangels, Gabriel. In the few adaptations of this angel, he's always been portrayed as a douchebag and Hellblazer presented him as some prejudiced aristocrat who belongs in a very high-esteemed society, and he couldn't be bothered with us average folks. John was forced to meet him and they had a rather...delightful conversation.

Gabriel, true to his moniker, does not have any compassion to spare and refuses flat-out to help John from his quandary. They had a heated argument but it was mostly John calling him out of his arrogance and narrow-mindedness. Really, Constantine? First the Devil and now an archangel? But I was on John's side all the way because Gabriel is a dismissive arsehole who considers himself above humanity--and isn't pride the first sin and what got Lucifer banished from Heaven in the first place? So better be careful, Gabs.

My favorite moment in this issue has to be when John visited his new acquaintance, Matt, the ageing cancer patient he met in #41. The friendship was easy because there were no false pretenses. I like that John has at least someone to talk to and it's someone who gets exactly what's he's going through. At this point, John still has plenty of drive to live and Matt shared a story that I think only encouraged him to find a solution fast.

The issue ends in a rather unexpected cliffhanger. John was left to contemplate his next course of action but that plan wasn't revealed just yet. But, based from his visceral reaction after coming up with it, I get the impression that it's definitely the last resort, something borne of madness that just might work.

RECOMMENDED: 8/10

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