Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Hellblazer by Garth Ennis issue #61

The concluding piece for this arc might be considered a tad anticlimactic but I still liked it any way. Guys and Dolls was all about the grudge that the First of the Fallen have been harboring against John Constantine ever since said mortal had duped him into accepting a dubious contract about his soul which he had to share with his other two brothers. That meant none of them can get John's soul lest they rage a war among each other which is just too darn costly in the long-term. John did all of this just so he can evade dying from terminal lung cancer and I gotta say that he is not wasting his second shot at life. He's making amends and he's in a stable relationship with a woman who loves him simply for who he is and not for what he does. And that's pretty damn comforting!

This issue opens with John watching said woman one quiet afternoon at their place and telling her that he's so lucky to have her in his life. It was a nice moment. I suppose one of the reasons Ennis' run so far hasn't been that enticing for me was because I was so used to all the abusive, poignant and murky stories and characterization that predecessor Jamie Delano has offered in the first forty or so issues. I won't deny that I miss my John walking the dark paths and being such a shitty piece of self-annihilation, but I'm also not complaining to see how much personal growth and development he's showcasing quite splendidly here in Ennis' writing. 

I just have to admit that I'm a masochist and that most of Delano's painful and gritty characterization of Constantine has worked for me that now I can't shake it off and sometimes I find myself struggling to really focus and discuss Ennis' contribution to this series which has been great, really, though I know I don't have much to say about it unlike last year with Delano's run.

I did enjoy Guys and Dolls overall. That being said, there are some parts of this entire arc that weren't completely resolved mostly because they weren't completely explained either. I feel as if this was rushed. The two earlier installments were great pieces but this one had to bear the weight of the climax, falling action and resolution. The climactic part of this issue was simple in execution that it diluted its impact once we reach the supposedly falling action and the ambiguous resolution didn't really help. I just thought that it would have been better if we get another issue to wrap things up more neatly and with more power behind the punch. Ennis is not exactly a risk-taker when it comes to endings. I've noticed that he tends to go for the easier, more predictable route. The bad guys don't win and suffer the consequences, John lives to fight another day--it's a stark opposite to Delano's own approach for this series. Ennis' formulaic style of narrative is still okay for me at this point but if this keeps up in the next issue I may get annoyed. It's only acceptable now because I want to believe Ennis is still finding his stride as well as his definitive voice but Hellblazer is such an exceptional and flexible series and I just feel that he's not making most of its potentials. 

This arc is problematic because its brevity was not the best course of action to tell this story, in my honest opinion. I was only beginning to get interested in Ellie and her circumstances and I sure hope Ennis brings her back again. I also know this isn't the last time Constantine will encounter and get away humiliating the First of the Fallen. I'm sure FotF has something macabre and terrible in store for John later so I suppose I should treat this issue as the calm before the storm. In any case, I'm not as pleased about it but will reserve my final judgments once Ennis touches upon FoTF and his beef with John in the upcoming issues, sooner rather than later.


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