Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Hellblazer by Jamie Delano issue #36

"Jealous--that's what Marj said she was. Is it true? Can she be jealous of that grunting, sweaty and weary need? No, these are stil his thoughts she's infected with...aren't they?"

Oh my god, I think I need to address the elephant in the room, seeing as I quoted Mercury in Delano's third-person point of view above. At this rate, I do believe we might just witness Mercury's sexual awakening if she ever dwells deeper on her feelings for John Constantine. Mercury has matured beyond her years, and the only man in her life whom she learned to care about (and feels a strong connection with no matter how much she denies this now) is no other than John.

And I can see that she loathes this because she wants to hate him--and yet the longing is just as sharp as her disgust of him.

In this issue called The Undiscovered Country, I finally got what I wanted the most, which would be the long-awaited interactions between Mercury and John--and boy, they're composed of a handful of dialogues that I just ate up. There are so many quotable moments here because their arguments have layers. The power struggle between them is so delicious. We have this weathered man who has seen the most horrific things in his line of work, and a young girl whose mind-bending abilities has provided her with a unique perspective on most things. However, both do have glaring faults of their own. John asserts that Mercury is still young and even if she has seen some things that most people will never comprehend, she doesn't have her own experiences to properly contextualize them and that is her blind spot. One of their interesting exchange is this:
John: You need a broader experience to understand what makes people who they are--how the patterns of the past inform the future. 
Mercury: No, I don't. Patterns are the bloody trouble. They're what's messed you up, aren't they? You're not doing anything new. You're stuck in a loop, repeating all the worn-out lines and moves, like someone in a TV soap
I could quote the rest of their conversation all the way through because there was no dull moment during their argument. It's so refreshing, and vital even, to have someone challenge John for once and make him re-think his actions. And I'm glad it's Mercury because she is such a well-nuanced character of her own right who will clash with someone of John's nature.

I think I'm going to go ahead and quote the next line of their conversation again because the dialogue is just so good:
John: You're too bloody clever for your own good. You want to save the world but you don't know what it is. You don't know the half of it, Merc, you should--
Mercury: ...see the things you've seen? Oh, give it a rest. I'd seen all of that shit I needed to before I was ten. The world's fill of people with glass heads, John! 
Mercury: Don't you get it? No enigmatic charm. No air of mystery. No fascinating secret depths. I can see right through all of that to the frightened child inside anytime I want. I can see everything.

And then John (who we see on the scene is growing fearful of what this child-woman with psychic powers can do) makes the fatal mistake of saying that she can't always see everything. And we get Merc brutally disagreeing when she announced the demons she had seen in his soul:
Mercury: I can see the baby who killed his brother and his mother--and nursed his guilt into a monster he couldn't kill. I can see the youth who doomed his friends by leading them too close to the edge of his madness. And I can see the man who killed his father with a careless word--then tried to drown his guilt in the spilled blood of revenge."
HOLY BEEJUS MERCURY HAS GOT HIM PEGGED. And John's weak-hearted quip that he never had a brother doesn't even hide how terrifying that must be, hearing some young girl read him that way. I'm telling you, while perusing these pages, my heart is caught at the back of my throat and I feel like I can choke on it.
Mercury: Who is the enemy, John? Who is the Bogeyman? What you really want to kill? Who scares you the most? 
John: You do, you bloody little witch! You terrify me! 
Mercury: Not me, John. It's what I represent that cripples you--the future. 
John: Jesus, girl, what bred you? What mutated your genes--pesticides...atom tests..? 
Mercury: You did, John--you and your kind. Now you have to live with me--if you can. And that's it, isn't it? Now that you've all pushed it to the very brink, you want to give up. You're too afraid to jump and too afraid to stay. You've got hell right behind you and freedom in front. You're caught between the devil and the deep blue sea.
Wow. Just wow. I think what's very shocking to John here is that this surrogate daughter of his has grown up before his very eyes and she's forcing him to own up to his crap and stop being so afraid. But I did like that Merc does understand the effect of her mighty words so she tries to reassure him that she's only angry because she cares. And that's just it. Merc is pushing John like this because she wants to fix him.

When John tries to walk away from their bitter spat, she makes him stay and tells him that:
"Death is just a painless moment between lives
And she shows him what she means by that. AND I AM NOT GOING TO GIVE ANY MORE SPOILERS BECAUSE WHAT HAPPENED NEXT WAS UNBELIEVABLE AND SCARY. Basically, Merc made John compliant enough so she could enter his subconscious and they unlocked doors in his possible future and John is forced to see what might happen to him if his stagnant posturing will continue. Talk about a Dickensian twist!

I'd like to end this review with Marj's tarot reading because her interpretations of it (at least I assume that the boxes containing it are her thoughts) AMAZINGLY AND ACCURATELY SUMMARIZE JOHN CONSTANTINE:
Creative male force blocked by greed for secret knowledge
Wants to be a paternal wise man and teacher--but subconsciously craves pure unsymbolic sex.
He's excited by the promise of the future--but blocked by obsession and suppression of love.
Living in a hopeful vision, passing time waiting for the rule of pattern to exert itself.
Reaching for the freedom to experience all of life's extremes, an outsider hung up trying to find the courage to break the devil's block
This issue has exhausted me mentally. I have never read anything in Hellblazer yet that is so affecting like this one. Dammit, this story arc is proving to be the most inquisitive and stressful from Delano's run yet!


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