Monday, September 15, 2014

Hellblazer by Jamie Delano issue #33

"The game is dangerous if you are not"

The first thing I noticed and immediately enjoyed about this issue oddly entitled Sunday Is Different is that it made use of probably the most under-appreciated (or at least underused) form of point of perspective in fiction writing, and my personal favorite: the second-person. Delano once again demonstrated that he has a strong, inviting prose when he has a really good story to tell, which was only further accentuated because of how creepy he made use of the second-person POV in this issue.

The next thing I noticed is that the monologues are written with unmistakable shades of optimism and hope that could even pour out of the pages because of how much they were emphasized. Wait a fucking second--optimism and hope in a Hellblazer comic book? Should I double-check the cover and make sure I am reading the same series? Well, apparently I still am, and this puzzling dissonance has instantly made me suspicious as I continue to read on. I am just not used to John Constantine spouting out quotable uplifting proverbs as he waltzes down the streets, appreciating every beauty in sight. I was half-expecting him to burst into a song or something. 

Another thing that struck me is that while in the middle of a joyful conversation with some friend, John was about to light a cigarette and then stopped himself, realizing that he didn't need a nicotine fix for today. Check that sentence again because I myself cannot believe I just typed that. CHAIN-SMOKING REBEL JOHN CONSTANTINE REFUSED TO SMOKE ALL BECAUSE HE WAS IN A HAPPY MOOD. Something is definitely, definitely wrong, guys. Anyway, the conversation he had with said friend was about the change happening as the era nears the nineties. His friend described it as building a "sustainable future wih moral value" or what you call a 'global village'. Now as a child born in the nineties, these ideas are not that unusual because the world this guy is describing is exactly the world we are living in now. This issue was written around 1988, I believe, so such a radical way of thinking isn't really a far-fetched thing to do. And yet for some reason Delano still manages to write the paranoia that comes with every threat and turbulence of change. It's sort of a package deal, and that's just dandy.  John, who started out fully invigorated and in high spirits when this issue opened, suddenly fell into a depressed state like a switch had been turned on, and his feelings of dread and fear about things were amplified. Now this is a John I know and love but it was weird for me to see him go manic depressive like this. But I guess this is one of the many burdens of being an occultist. He senses the change in a more visceral level as if it's literally ripping him apart. Delano's second-person narrative excitingly captures all of this as it happens within and outside of John. The frightening part for me was when he began to lose the ability of coherent language. He kept walking around, trying so hard to communicate with anybody but all he can do is mutter gibberish and the people's responses are just the same. It felt like he unknowingly entered some capsule suspended in time, like a tourist in a Babel-like landscape and nobody knows him or cares to help him. 

This was a perplexing issue but quite ominuous in the most delightful sense. It left me in awe and a questioning mood like the same way I felt when I read issue #14 about the dream-sequence. I get the sense that this was a purposeful stand-alone story that has given us hints on what's to come for the new story arc which I am so, so, excited to read again, Dangerous Habits. I only have two weeks to go before I end the first wave of my comics diet for Hellblazer and I plan to make DH to be my final arc to accomplish before the month is over!


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