Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hellblazer by Garth Ennis issue #63

It's May 10, 1993 and John Constantine just turned forty! This issue was yet another nice and slow installment by Ennis that was able to make me chuckle all throughout. Reading Hellblazer these days may not be as grueling and exciting like last year but there are small joys to be had in it especially within the context of John's ongoing personal growth and more stable self-worth. Almost-dying and having a steady girlfriend have really worked their wonders on him but there's an uncomfortable dread at the pit of my stomach, still anticipating that John will have to handle a deadly blow soon. 

In any case, I just love seeing my Johnny happy for once since things have become worse back then for him and now it's finally getting better.

So John is forty. Kit and Chas both have previous commitments already in place so they can't spend time with him which sucks, of course, so John starts moping around by himself as he bought some Jack Daniels and ten boxes of his favorite cigarette brand, Silk Cut. He plans to drink and smoke his birthday away by his lonesome but gets a surprise from unlikely people who were already waiting in Kit's apartment to celebrate his fortieth year with him. I recognized familiar faced easily like Nigel the telepath from Royal Blood, Ellie the succubus he helped in the last arc, Guys and Dolls, J-Leaguer Zatanna, and Lord of the Dance from the Christmas issue. Readers were also introduced to two new characters: Header and Rick the Vic. John was very pleased to see that there are still people in his life who bothered to show up and who definitely seem to like him and cherish him enough. 

This is quite a touching moment in itself, considering the shitty past John has with old friend he got killed before. But Newcastle is all but disappearing behind him and this brand-new, happy and repentant John Constantine is now in good company as he turns a year older and hopefully a year wiser than the last. 

Two other guests appear in the later part. First was the Phantom Stranger, who would have joined the party but then John, get this, accidentally pees on his shoes while he was outside, urinating on the wall rather clumsily due to alcohol intoxication. He got back inside and told the others about this and they laughed it off. The second guest was pretty awkward when he made his appearance, and I'm referring of course to the Swamp Thing whom John has a, well, really complicated relationship with. He was impatient and distrustful when he got the invitation to stop by but was immediately apologetic when the occasion was revealed to him. A few more awkward exchanges and pouting happens between him and John before Swamp Thing decides to part him with a gift...and that gift is no other than turning Nigel's small marijuana plants in a pot into a extensive bush which they all consequently smoked afterwards. Drunk-ass drunk and high as kites, the friends leave one by one until there was only the Lord of Dance who purposefully stayed behind to warn John of the rough years ahead of him after he majorly pissed off people (like the First of the Fallen) who will not get over their grudge too easily and will find a way to cause him harm. John has accepted this and has a lot of things to mull over about it in the next issue. However, the Lord of Dance reassures him that he will help in any way he can, and then he disappears into the night.

This was a sweet and short issue that made me feel good about John as a character and as a person who has finally learned from his mistakes and has people in his life from the most unlikely place who do care about him and want to stay by his side if time allows them to. I know for a fact that John is a changed man and will do better by his friendships this time around. 

So happy birthday to you, Johnny, old son!


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