Thursday, August 13, 2015

Hellblazer by Garth Ennis issue #64

This fifth story arc brought to us by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Steve Dillon is called Fear and Loathing and as a premise issue, this was a good set-up although I honestly don't have any clue on what's about to come. I'm still kind of prissy about the anticlimactic way the Guys and Dolls arc ended with the First of the Fallen tucking his tail between his legs like a little bitch and was simply left to fume in Hell as he contemplates his next move. I suppose that's all fine and dandy for now and I just have to focus on what this particular arc has in store for our titular hero. And I think we're getting closer to a bigger storm than I could ever imagine, or at least I hope that's the case.

I can't definitively say I'm bored with Ennis' run because I do like how he's been characterizing John so far. The newfound sense of obligation and humanity he instilled in this brand-new Constantine have truly made all the pain and shit he had gone through during Delano's run pay off. But there really hasn't been any discussion-worthy material in Ennis' stories that are comparable to my reviews of Delano's where I often took so much time dissecting scenes and moments for a single issue alone. This hasn't happen yet in Ennis' roster and I wonder if that's a good thing or a bad thing. 

On one hand, talking about how fucked up John Constantine is can be a very stimulating exercise on my part because it forces me to confront with my own issue akin to his; on the other, I'm relieved to see that he has grown up so much since the last time I read about him, and he's finally being allowed to become a hero for once. Still, I need to see more heroism on his part if that's really the path Ennis is planning to take him to. I need to see a more concrete example of his change than the easy, ambiguous routes Ennis is making him go through the motions with. 

I suppose it's becoming clear at this point that I'm very torn about Ennis as a writer for the series, and I may be getting a little bit impatient. Hopefully, this new story arc will spice up things again and get me more excited to read the next issues because there are times when I finish a story for this run that I can just quickly forget about it and not bother myself too much about it. So, here in For God and Country, we visit yet another familiar face from a previous arc (Dangerous Habits). We have the archangel Gabriel sitting by the fire in his usual hang-out place, the Cambridge Club, having some identity crisis about his role as one of God's favorite celestial sons. He reminiscences the days of his badassery during biblical times and then realizes that his life now has no purpose or direction and he begins to question the will of the Almighty Father. Troubled by his self-doubt, he walked out of the club. A man in the shadows was not happy about that and he has a fellow working for the club follow Gabriel.

Out in the streets, Gabriel bumps into a woman and doesn't apologized. He gets called a "snob" right at his face which made him think about what John Constantine said about him. He chases the woman down and struck an amicable conversation with her over drinks where he opens up to the unsuspecting mortal. He gets a good advice from her and agrees to meet with her again. Gabriel, I assume, goes back to the club, feeling much better about himself, though still thinking about John's harsh words from before. Speaking of Johnny, the guy meets up with some of his old mates again and it made him reminisce about his past too, but realized all too quickly that as exciting and as interesting as it had been, he was also a very unhealthy and twisted individual back then and he has no plans on ever going back. He asserts this realization:
"I can hear the old days calling... Some of the shit I got off with last year, it's like '83 all over again. Out of the shadows and "all right, squire? Trust me." And gone before you know it. Christ, that was a laugh... So I remind myself it wasn't, it was dead mates and lost souls and cold nights with the bottle while the ghosts howled round the door... and now it's different anyway. Kit... And saying her name makes me more determined. And I almost believe my own bullshit."
The issue ends with the man in the shadows named Charles Patterson, the one Gabriel chatted with back in Dangerous Habits whom John warns him about is a dangerous thug, was displeased to find out that Gabriel is putting too much importance on John's opinions so he opted to make a move about that and orders his goons to gather up and find John's girlfriend Kit so they can murder her. Oh, goddammit. I knew it, I just knew that this shit is gonna be happening sooner rather than later. A part of me worries so badly over Kit's welfare because she's been such a light in his John's life but a bigger part of me definitely wants to see more action and conflict so I have no problem about endangering Kit's life a little if it meant having a compelling story to read. I'm looking forward to the second installment of Fear and Loathing which I will get on with by tomorrow.


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