Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hellblazer by Jamie Delano issue #23

"Life is much more fun when you pretend that it's fiction."

I was relieved that right after The Fear Machine storyline thankfully wrapped up last issue, we got a break from all that macabre stuff and read something fun for once in Hellblazer and Larger than Life delivered exactly that. It was clever and light-hearted which, in hindsight, is a proper route to go when you need to prepare the readers for what comes next  (I'm referring, of course, to yet another dark storyline in the horizon that is coming after it).

In Larger than Life, John Constantine visits an old friend who turns out to be a very curious old man who has a penchant for making deals and procuring rare items. He's mean and grumpy but clearly has affections for John, and John definitely enjoys his company. They do verbally pick on each other quite a lot, and the old man is suspiciously enigmatic, but hey, that's just the kind of company Constantine keeps. At this point I'm no longer surprised of John's ability to bounce back, no matter the shitty scenarios he keeps getting entangled with. He has lost so much and so many people along the way and yet, as a lone creature, he has seen the pointlessness of looking back from the carnage, so all he can manage to do now is to look forward to things and there's something quite heroic about such a can-do attitude. 

This issue was just pure fun; nothing heavy or depressing like the usual lot of Hellblazer tales I've been served with lately--and I am so grateful, at least, that I was allowed to gather my bearings and get ready for yet another fucked-up story (again, I keep hinting about it because it's actually a pretty cool story unlike Fear Machine that I wasn't particularly invested in as a whole). Larger than Life is a lovely play at the concept of fictional characters and literary devices where John's friend turns out to be a character in stories who rebelled against his original form and started acting like a real person from outside the books. That's my understanding. It's an amusing plot twist, and seeing John doing something fun to help out a friend was refreshing.  That's not to say that this issue is devoid of gore because there are some scenes that are violent and grim but overall the humor is more pronounced and therefore Larger than Life manages to be a relaxing story than a vexing one. Even the ending was a punchline to a joke and it left me grinning after I finished it. But don't be deceived. Hellblazer is going to start mind-fucking again with us, especially now that we are facing yet another new story arc.


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