Friday, August 14, 2015

Hellblazer by Garth Ennis issue #66

Between reading about Kit stabbing a man in the dick and John once again accidentally getting one his friends killed, I failed to mention that the villain for this story arc, Charles Patterson, is a Nazi sympathizer. It's worth talking about it now since he came to John with his chest all puffed up, making a speech about how hate-mongering and racism are one of humanity's default settings. He's merely a profiteer of such heinous nature, hence, case in point, the dead black man beside John. I gotta hand it to Ennis. Unlike Delano whose 'bad guys' are always morally ambiguous, Ennis' villains are hardcore assholes who really deserve whatever punishment is coming to them.

So, sorry, Charles Patterson. You have the unfortunate distinction of being a bad guy in an Ennis story and judging by Ennis' consistent intolerance towards evil people and how he's always writing the endings for his villains using mercilessly bloody disposal methods, you, sir, will die horribly too. And readers like me would spit on your carcass and rejoice with a happy dance.

Much like Marston from Royal Blood, this Patterson fuck-up wants to have some way of controlling something beyond his human comprehension. With Martson, it was a Jack-the-Ripper-ing demon; with Patterson it's the archangel Gabriel who recently retired and is still, at this moment, having a prolonged existential crisis. It's laughable how foolish these men are, thinking they are equipped of such power. Just because you guys have earthly riches and belong to exclusive clubs soaked in snobbery and blue-blood cruelty, doesn't mean you can dabble in stuff like the complex politics of Heaven and Hell. Serves you both right later on for being such ambitious pricks.

That being said, this third installment took into yet another dark turn when John revealed that Patterson is already too late; he's had his grubby hands on Gabriel since the beginning. We cut to Gabriel kissing Julie under the cherry trees and then making love for the first time--only to have it reveal that Julie was the succubus Ellie in disguise all along, and she rips out Gabriel's heart under John's orders. I've mentioned before that I want to see how Ellie's character develops and I'm glad Ennis is still making use of her. After all, another batch of rounds will come into fruition between Constantine and the First of the Fallen, and Ellie proves to be a valuable asset for John in the game. John promises Patterson that he will return Gabriel once he gets what he wants from the angel and Patterson agrees. He lets John go but then one of John's mates George, who was the late Dez's brother, was able to track him down and saw Patterson's men dispose of his brother's corpse. He then guns down Patterson on the spot, and rightfully so.

He shoots him once in stomach with a shotgun. And then obliterates his head the second time. John only looks on helplessly and decides not to judge George for claiming the vengeance that was owed to him. Afterwards, John meets up with Kit and they had a scuffle. Still, things will be good for them later. John goes to find Ellie and the now newly fallen Gabriel. As it turns out, he needs Gabriel as protection and he is compelled to do it as long as John has his heart. It's the only thing preventing his damnation to hell. I found this moment chilling and very old-Constantine. Gabriel also thinks so, remarking: "Why is it when people like you see something pure and good and beautiful... that you have to kick it down and drag it through the mud?"  

To put a cherry on top of the crap cake, John cuts off the rest of Gabriel's wings with a chainsaw, making sure the whole process is very painful as possible, while Ellie looks on joyously. Apparently, Gabriel was the one who took down her former lover Tali so she was definitely enjoying the show. I honestly felt bad for Gabriel in this issue. He was reduced into a mere fallen angel with no dignity or pride; who is now homeless, loitering around the cold streets of London, cursed and damned without a Holy Father to look up to and was just coerced to serve a mortal man who couldn't give a rat's ass about him. I understood John's reasons for doing this extreme thing but right now I don't agree with the actions that stemmed from those reasons. I think I despised John a little about it too, and wholeheartedly agree with Gabriel's commentary how John has this impulse to corrupt the pure things he finds.

Well, I did ask for a little Delano murkiness of Ennis' characterization of John and it looks like I'm getting it. I wonder how far he is planning to take this approach and I am curious of the new set of domino pieces that will collapse on one another next.


RECOMMENDED: 8/10

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