by Dylan Duarte, CMRO Contributing Writer
Written by Ray Fawkes & Jeff Lemire, Art by Renato Guedes
Published: May 2013
Of course I’m familiar with John Constantine, also known as Hellblazer, but Jeff Lemire’s New 52 title is my first actual experience with the character. Well, there’s the film adaptation with Keanu Reeves, but I think comic nerds will flay me alive if I cite that as my prior Constantine knowledge.
The thing that separates Constantine from most other heroes is that he can be a total jackass. He’s not the only one. I said most, not all. Batman, the Punisher, most anti-heroes – they can all be less than friendly. However, not all are quite as self-serving as John Constantine. Don’t get me wrong, he’s very much a good guy, and that’s hinted at in this issue. The respect with which he treats Dottie, an older woman who appears to be his housemate, shows that John has a big heart underneath the and the layers of cigarette smoke.
I said that she appears to be his housemate. That’s my one and only complaint about the debut issue of Constantine. For a debut issue, Lemire doesn’t really touch on John’s backstory at all. It’s funny, I almost always trash comics that rehash origin stuff, because it’s all stuff that I assume is already known. Now here I am reading a title that I’m unfamiliar with and all I can think is that it needs to touch on his origin more.
I loved, loved, loved the ending to this issue. John’s method of “saving” Chris was both shocking and understandable. In the face of Sargon, what else was he going to do? John is powerful, but Sargon is more so, and this served as a good introduction to the morbid, bleak world of John Constantine. I can’t wait for more.