Friday, September 26, 2014

Hellblazer by Garth Ennis issue #45



THIS IS STRAIGHT-UP THE FUNNIEST SHIT I HAVE EVER READ IN Hellblazer, which is saying much because the last time this bloody series made me crack up was during issue #3, Go For It so it has been a fucking while. And would you believe it, just like with the third issue, this one centered around John Constantine's complicated relationship with the demon kind--but this time around, he interacted with the three big bosses: Satan, Beelzebub and Azazel. Appropriately entitled The Sting, this was an issue that amused me to no end. There were genuine laughs in between while reading this. I was so shocked that Ennis employed a comedic appeal to this story, considering his Dangerous Habits arc was as grim as it gets (though his prose writing is far more straightforward than Delano; their distinct styles are comparable only because I believe they are both in tune of the kind of stories they tell). I'm quite relieved that Ennis decided to make this ridiculously entertaining as possible. Also, just when I thought I couldn't fall more insanely in love with John Constantine, I FALL EVEN UNDENIABLY HARDER. Srsly, fuck Hellblazer and the giddy fangirl feelings it inspires as well as its uncanny ability to smash my heart into smithereens! Fuck this series!

*beat* I LOVE THIS FUCKING SERIES

Why is this so funny, you ask? Well, John Constantine is dying of lung cancer (sad), he says goodbye to his sister and best friend (sadder) and loses another friend but not after he did him a huge favor by saving his soul from the devil's clutches (saddest shit ever but quite touching and uplifting). So...so far, everything is serious (that's why this issue was so refreshing to get to). So while our titular hero is figuring out a way to escape his fate that's he's never going to willingly accept is inevitable, John encounters the pompous archangel Gabriel and had a few choice words with him, gets chummy with a cancer patient waiting for his own death, and dupes Satan into drinking holy water. And yes, the last statement is as funny as it sounds but Satan is understandably NOT goddamn pleased. When we ended the previous issue, John Constantine just slit his wrists and waits for his plan to take place. He was literally bleeding to death while Satan gleefully watches, hoping to snatch John's soul once he perishes in the mortal plane.

But hold on a bloody minute, two other devils (Beelzebub and Azazel) wanted John's soul as well and they have legally binding contracts (as it turns out, John just sold his soul to both of them). Satan's claim is that of insult because John costed him a soul (his friend's Brendan) and got him to unknowingly drink holy water like an idiot. His hurt pride is what motivates him to punish John and make him suffer in Hell while the other two know that John is a prized possession. Basically, it's a riot because both three can claim him but will not give up their own claim. John, though miserably bleeding on the floor, is enjoying the show. He knows that demons will always be selfish and these three have the largest egos of the bunch.

The dialogue is smart and hilarious all throughout especially the arguments among the three baddies and the occasional snarky and unhelpful remarks from John (who isn't bleeding quicker enough so he slits his wrists again just to mock the devils so they can hurry up and make a decision already). In the end, the three knew that none of them will concede and eventually God Himself will get involved and John's soul will ultimately belong to neither of them. Stupid John Constantine and his fool-proof plans! With a begrudging reluctance, the three devils decided that the only way to avoid an all-out war occurring in Hell (they would literally wage a war to get this man's soul, for crying out loud!) is to KEEP JOHN CONSTANTINE ALIVE. That way, no one gets to claim his soul and everything will be just dandy.

The only victor of this resolution is John himself. Not only does he get to live but Satan also guarantees to CURE HIS CANCER. But, Satan asserts, he will make it AS PAINFUL AS FUCKING POSSIBLE. So he LITERALLY SHOVES HIS HANDS INSIDE JOHN AND STARTS SCOOPING THE BLACK TAR OF HIS LUNGS. And then HE BURNS JOHN'S BODY HORRIBLY and replaces it with a new one. And the first thing John does after his resurrection? HE LIGHTS A FAG. Right in front of Satan and the two devils who had just cured him of the cancer that would have killed him. Way to rub it in their faces, you beautiful jerk! Satan then tells John that by the time he does die, he will inflict all kinds of pain and torture on his damned soul--but John brushes him off, saying that Satan HAS TO KEEP HIM ALIVE FROM NOW ON or the entire conflict of contracts will start again among the three and there's going to be an unholy war. Again, John is really rubbing it in. Not only did he manage to get a second chance at life, he is possibly never allowed to die due to security purposes, AND HE GETS TO PLAY THE DEVIL FOR A FOOL!

And yet John Constantine still thinks the spoils of his victory aren't enough. Before he leaves the seething imbeciles to contemplate how badly they screwed up, John smiles at them and gives them the middle finger.  BECAUSE WHY NOT YOU BASTARDS I'M JOHN "FUCK YOU" CONSTANTINE!

One last issue to go before I end Dangerous Habits!

RECOMMENDED: 9/10

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