Thursday, September 18, 2014

Hellblazer by Jamie Delano issue #37

In this issue entitled Man's Work, Delano introduces new characters and zeroes in on our lovely Mercury. Apparently, she along with John and Marj are officially a camper-van family who travel together without any definite destinations. Through the course of the mind-boggling clusterfuck that is John Constantine's strange life, this arrangement is probably the closest thing to normalcy he will ever achieve. 

But before that amusing development, the story opens with the Acland family with a butcher named Archibald and his subservient wife and son whose name is Martin. Archibald Acland, to put it in the most eloquent terms, is fucking gross. He's overbearing, sadistic and loves the killing. For his teenage son's birthday, he decided to force-feed him several pig parts because Martin seems to be a vegetarian which is something consequential, given the gleeful menace his father displays every time he slaughters animals not just for food but for the power and pleasure this cruelty gives him. This will all be shown in the later pages. It's enough to turn me off from meat and these days I actually hate the taste of pork so reading those animal snuff pages was such a pain in the ass.

In the meantime, Archibald takes his son to the farm so he could turn the boy into a man in the best way a bastard like him knows how: by forcing his son to watch as he tortures and slays pigs--and then tries to make him do the same. But on their way to that promising father-and-son quality bonding, Mercury stumbled upon Martin and befriends him, recognizing the torment he's in. She brings over to show to Marj and John as if she just picked up a stray puppy. Yeah, that's Merc for you. It's notable that this is how she met John as well and Mercury seems to have a habit of taking in lost souls and trying to appease their inner turmoils in any way she can. But daddy Archibald yanks Martin away and gets them out of there quickly.

Mercury is still concerned about the guy because her psychic abilities are telling her that he's in some trouble of some kind. And then her mother pointed out that Martin is quite good-looking so perhaps Mercury is also attracted to him. That subplot is something I don't mind happening, seeing as John is definitely the father figure in her life as awkward as that is, because I still maintain that Mercury fancies John but is just not comfortable enough to express especially since he's her mother's lover. So I think she may choose to project those feelings with Martin instead.

This issue had great gruesome visuals. It was unsettling to read the horror that the birthday boy Martin has to witness. Talk about being scarred by a loved one. This boy will have years of therapy ahead of him. The issue ends with Archibald about to show his son how to properly gut a pig using his signature ceremonious sadism which is just lovely, thank you very much, Hellblazer. You just have to go there, don't you? Gods.


RECOMMENDED: 7/10

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