Thursday, August 20, 2015

Hellblazer by Garth Ennis issue #73

I honestly don't know how John Constantine has made it this far. For one thing, he just spent six months hobo-ing it up as a coping mechanism from his failed romantic relationship, and then he was almost eaten by the king of vampires. Prior to that, he just discovered he killed his twin brother in the womb, and then was diagnosed with terminal lung cancer which he escaped by pissing of the Devil himself. Before that, he condemned a little girl's soul to hell and spent some grueling time at a mental hospital. He also got some friends killed either directly or indirectly.

Honestly, Constantine's ability to bounce back from one hell to another is impressive in scale and consistency so I'm not so worried about the predicament he has gotten himself tangled in for this story arc called Damnation's Flame. As the second installment, it was a perfectly acceptable follow-up with enough interesting narrative decisions to be amused about. And that's mostly my general reaction with Garth Ennis' stories. I don't get excited or bored...just amused.

I do feel like I should comment on Steve Dillon's artwork, however, since he had been Ennis' partner in several arcs already. His style is more polished than the others who drew for Hellblazer, I think it's also a tiny bit minimalist. This issue is really the first time I saw him draw particularly striking landscapes which is nice. Also, I like the fact that he draws John so prettily. Loving the new hairdo on Constantine. His signature trench coat also looks cleaner than before. 

So this installment was fun. John traveled to New York just to get away from everything back home and found himself voodoeed by no other than Papa Midnite, all thanks to his sister Cedella's help. John was "witchwalked" away in some hellish version of New York whilst his body in the present world is catatonic. He was arrested by the cops there and thrown among questionable characters who may or may not rape him soon if he doesn't snap out of it. Seriously, them bastards were filthy. They stole his precious trench coat and peed on his face. Still, comparing that to the witchwalk his spirit is currently experiencing is relatively small-fry. In that world, John encounters a black guy who happily walked him through this magnificently disgusting version of New York.

Naked corpses hanging on posts are used as street signs, the Statue of Liberty (or a real girl?) is being raped fifty times a day, and--to top it all off--the guy brings Constantine to his friends and they try to cannibalize him. At this point in the arc, I just want John saved from the witchwalk nightmare and the actual tangible one that's about to happen to his body in the real world. For now, I'm finding solace in the knowledge that Ennis will punish the bad guys horribly because that's how his formula works and never fails. I think I may have developed a preference for it too. There's just something about reading evil assholes getting tortured in varied creative ways that I find reassuring in the grand scheme of things. It makes me hopeful about justice.


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