Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Hellblazer by Garth Ennis issue #49

"How can you order a man to feel good? Or legislate for a woman's delight? For that's where their power lies--in making rules. We had taken their power from them just by dancing and that was our crime."
We get an unexpected Christmas special in the 49th issue of Hellblazer entitled Lord of the Dance which was interesting in a sense that this is probably THE VERY FIRST TIME I read something uplifting and sweet from the series. Sure, I suppose The Mourning of the Magician was positively moving but that issue was as depressing as fuck as well which was thankfully saved by the great message the ending has imparted. So I don't know what to say about this issue aside from the fact that I wish to express the gnawing suspicion that's been eating at me since the Dangerous Habits story arc ended. I think Garth Ennis as the new series writer is just beginning to flex his creative muscles at the moment which is why we have gotten serviceable plots in the meantime. Issues #47 and #48 had merely been light readings for me where I don't really bother analyzing much of the plot elements present because they weren't exactly appealing or memorable, let alone worthy of deeper reflections.

I was also more invested in Ennis' writing of John and Kit's relationship so everything that is happening around that character subplot has been mere background noise, I suppose, but then again I must say that their relationship is probably the only interesting thing that the writer is unfolding in his stories so far. This issue was a fluff piece that made me feel warm and nice inside. In this story, while John was deciding on what gift to get Kit, he encounters a ghost called Lord of Dance who turns out to be the ancient spirit of Winter Solstice before organized religion turned its festivities into a celebration of the birth of Christ and labeled it as Christmas. Touched by his tale of woe, John decided to show him that the meaning of the holiday--of living to the fullest during this time of the year--has not been lost, and that the Lord of Dance has simply stopped looking for it. It's an amusing take on Christmas because it tackled its pagan roots as well as the constricting conformity of a lot of organized religions. I was raised a devout Catholic and I used to be a stickler for religious rituals growing up, but these days I've learned to accept that I have a lot of agnostic inclinations which is why I stopped adhering to Catholicism and embraced my own freedom of personal worship as oppose to what is expected of me as a believer. I think this is why I enjoy supernatural and quasi-religious/occult-ish stories present in a series like Hellblazer, and why I relate to John Constantine as strongly as I do because I do get glimpses of myself when I compare it to his own brand of ambiguous yet open-minded belief system pertaining to having faith in a higher power or in the general forces of the universe.

So this issue made me feel giddy especially since it ended with Kit and John FINALLY hooking up. It was rather sweet too because I have never seen John so conflicted and nervous about a woman before. He genuinely wants her but not just out of lust but mostly because she gets him and he feels like he doesn't have to pretend around her or push her away so he can guard himself from whatever real or imagined pain he usually expects from people he cares about. I'm glad that it was Kit who made the first move too and that John has finally accepted something good and worthwhile at this time in his life. He has survived chasing down so many storms. He has literally been to hell and back. So hey, you deserve this, old Johnny boy. Go kiss the girl and celebrate the yuletide cheer with her! Still, I guess that's what's disconcerting about these last previous issue. I've been so used to the emotional abuse and schizophrenic madness and gore that Hellblazer inflicts and on me for every issue that when it finally does start treating me normally and making me feel like everything is safe and secure, I understandably lose my shit and feel like something is wrong. And this is probably what John Constantine feels right now after having Kit back into his life.

But let us enjoy the calm before the next storm, mate. There's more to life than looking for the next fight.

RECOMMENDED: 8/10

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