Friday, May 6, 2016

Hellblazer by Paul Jenkins issues #93-95

I guess I've really made a habit out of reviewing a slew of Hellblazer issues using a single post as oppose to individual respective reviews. Now I don't think I'll be stopping this format soon because (1) it's convenient to discuss issues back-to-back; (2) I frankly don't feel like explaining everything in detail for each issue at all anymore. Maybe it's because there's something about Paul Jenkins' style of writing that has yet to connect with me. Still, it's not to say that his first major five-parter story arc Critical Mass is boring--it's actually going pretty great so far, and I only have the conclusion issue to review next week. For now, let's briefly tackle what happened in issues #93-95.

John Constantine has started hanging out with an old mate of his during his punk band days named Rich, and the guy has a wife and kid named Michelle and Syder. Meanwhile, somewhere in the burning pits of inferno, a demon named Buer is torturing souls of children. He's also hang up over the absence of the First of the Fallen who was banished as a mortal in Greece where he worked as a sailor. Buer was also a former lackey of the demon Nergal. In case none of you remember who this fucker was, Nergal was the demon whom John had made contact with back in Newcastle, a place where all his guilt stems from. This demon was one John got cocky with, so he didn't bind Nergal properly with his name. In doing so, he ended up damning a little girl (Astra) and her soul to hell. Nergal bit the bullet during the Delano run, but not after he transfused his blood into Constantine's body which is all kinds of gross, but was actually helpful in a few ways. One example was when the King of Vampires tried to suck John's blood and ended up getting poisoned by demon blood instead. That was hilarious. Unfortunately this time around, John having Nergal's blood running through his veins had made him Buer's main target.

Apparently, Buer felt as if John owed him, considering he has his former master's blood coursing through him. See, Buer took over the children torture back in Hell since Nergal died and all, and the work was good because he has a passion and natural talent for making children's souls miserable and forever in agony and torment. However, John had duped the First of the Fallen thrice now, and the last time was by conjuring a series of events where First was officially punished to have a mortal life, banishing him from his realm of Hell for good. Buer takes offense with this because I personally believe First is the love of his life, and John made him go away. So, Buer took the kid Syder and possessed his body so he can make John suffer. Ever the World Expert in Blaming Himself, John nervously informed Rich and Michelle that he may be unable to save his son. He also confessed to the events of Newcastle with Astra. And afterwards John got the worst reaction he never expected:

THEY FORGAVE HIM. Shockingly calm, Rich didn't blame him at all, nor did he get angry. He simply said that he knew John did all he could do for their son, and then he and his wife proceeded to grieve. John was unraveled by this. So then he tried to fix the shit he had let into his friends' quiet and normal lives by going to a place called Abaton. The explanation for what it is wasn't really that clear to me, to be honest. It's a supernatural hub for forgotten people? I don't know, but Robin Hood was there and John exploded on him like a jerk and demanded to know what is going on. Robin was kind enough to inform him Buer has plans to take his soul and offer it to First of the Fallen, who sucked at acquiring it for himself in the first place. How did a one-off character like Robin Hood arrived to this information? Abaton must have been such a gossipy bitch of a town. 

Er, Buer also demanded to take John's soul in exchange for Syder's soul, and John certainly does not want to condemn another child to Hell so now he's in a tight spot. Meanwhile, First of the Fallen joyously poisoned his co-workers in the belief that he is coming home to Hell. Way to jinx your chances, man. Try not to be too confident next time because you still have a hurdle of John Constantine to overcome after all, and that hurdle is never to be underestimated. Anyway, those were issues #93-94 now already, I think. Yeah, I covered the relevant details well enough.

Look. I'm sorry, all right? I know that I'm probably being the worst reviewer ever right now. I've been so lackadaisical in my reviews since my third comics diet started, I know. But I'm not going to continue to be an apologist. It's not my fault that Hellblazer is sort of having a dry spell run for me. Blame the nineties instead!

But also, get over it!

In issue #95, John Constantine teams up with Alistair Crowley who was imprisoned inside magic circles and was bored and a little resentful of John for putting him there? I don't know. I'm pretty sure I didn't miss this guy in the earlier issues of Delano or Ennis, and so I'm also sure that this was the first time he ever made an appearance. But he and John are mates, so John asked for his help and then they got naked together and did some magic stuff. Meanwhile, Rich and Michelle bring their still-possessed son to John's care, and Chas drove them around for a while as Buer (who was still controlling Syder) started making snide remarks concerning Chas' penchant for porn and lack of sex with his obese wife. Just dandy and all. John arrived to a location where Buer's powers are at its height, and he proceeded tormenting John with images of poor Astra even more suffering than when Nergal has her. John is weirdly weepy about everything. And it turns out the reason why he was being a total wimp was because that was not John at all. It was probably Alistair or something. The issue ends with the real John making a deliberate appearance before Buer. Stay tuned for the concluding issue next week, guys.


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