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Constantine DCU-bound?

constantinebooksRegarding the Bleeding Cool post on the topic…This could be interesting…though I’d wonder if perhaps it’d be similar to how Marvel’s had the “Marvel MAX” Punisher as its own continuity separate from their mainline “Marvel Universe” Punisher character.

I do recall about a decade ago when I was introduced to Constantine, feeling sure I’d seen the character in the Day of Judgment series (he HAD to have been there…or so I thought. I was wrong.)

Personally…I see little reason this couldn’t or shouldn’t happen. Keep his own title to what it is/has been, in its own continuity…and otherwise let the character back into the DCU as what he is, but keep him to more of a guest-starring role; he doesn’t need to have a second title within the DCU. Similar to how the Phantom Stranger shows up now and then, or how Marvel’s Watcher shows up here ‘n there.

Might even be enough to convince me to pick up some DCU books I’m otherwise pretty much ignoring for present.

Rich Johnston’s original post:

I don’t know where. I don’t know when. I don’t know how.

But I am reliably informed from a certain Brazilian in the know that John Constantine will be appearing as a major character in upcoming DC Universe titles, post Flashpoint.

Created in the then-DC Universe title Swamp Thing, by John Totleben, Steve Bissette and Alan Moore, this street-level occultist span off his own comic series, John Constantine: Hellblazer and, with Sandman and Swamp Thing, spearheaded the Vertigo line of mature readers comic books, including the much derided Keanu Reeves vehicle, Constantine.

Rare in comics, Hellblazer takes place in real time with the sixty something supernatural opportunist currently married to the twenty something cultural rebel Epiphany, and continues his adventures as an occult adventurist, detective and saviour, scarred by the ages. Even his shock of blonde hair has been considerably receding of late.

But now I understand that Constantine will soon be appearing in DC Universe titles. There’s a possible appearance in Flashpoint:Lois Lane looking at the cover, but what I’m being told is a longlasting return to DC Universe continuity.

If nothing else, it might be good for his hairline.

via John Constantine To Return To The DC Universe Bleeding Cool Comic Book, Movies and TV News and Rumors.

Hellblazer #250 [Review]

Happy New F***ing Year, Christmas Cards, All I Goat for Christmas, The Curse of Christmas, Snow Had Fallen

Writers: Dave Gibbons, Brian Azzarello, China Mieville, Jamie Delano, Peter Milligan
Art: Sean Phillips, Rafael Grampa, David Lloyd, Eddie Campbell
Letters: Sean Phillips, Jared K. Fletcher
Colors: Val Staples, Marcus Penna, Jamie Grant, David Lloyd, Dominic Regan
Breakdowns (Snow Had Fallen): Giuseppe Camuncoli
Finishes (Snow Had Fallen): Stefano Landini
Asst. Editor: Brandon Montclare
Editor: Bob Schreck
Cover: Lee Bermejo
Publisher: Vertigo (DC Comics)

If you’re gonna charge me $3.99 for one issue, this is the way to go. 38 pages of actual story content, high-quality creative teams (multiple instances of quality Hellblazer talent), contained in a milestone issue that could be an event and yet isn’t an event. This is the longest-running Vertigo title, this is the milestone 250th issue of the series–an extremely respectable number in a day ‘n age when only a handful of titles in all comics have maintained consistent numbering while reaching such a point. Focusing in on Christmas (“holiday, sure, but there’s a lot of reference by name to Christmas!), we get five shorts showing John Constantine in slices of life, just being himself around Christmas.

I checked out a couple years ago from buying the single issues, finding that I was enjoying this series far more through the collected volumes; I’ve fallen behind on those collected volumes, so am not up to date on recent happenings for this book. That said, I feel like I only missed nuances here. The character, the feel and tone of Constantine is still there. The stories fit the character. And though just picking this up for the “special” nature of the issue, I don’t feel out of it nor lost.

The first story follows Constantine as he pursues someone who has been assembling stuff to invoke immortality for himself–the price of said immortality likely requiring the life of a child. In Christmas Cards, John watches a game of poker he himself is banned from–offering commentary and observations none the less, as well as the nature of a couple of people present. All I Goat for Christmas suggests a ritual that may have broken the curse on a certain sports team seemingly cursed right out of any championships. The Curse of Christmas shows an encounter Constantine has with someone who managed to work an actual curse into an address given by a very public official. Finally, Snow Had Fallen details a fairly magical sort of snowfall that challenges the faith of a man overseeing sick children.

All five stories have that “classic” Constantine feel to them. They’re sorta slice-of-life due to being short and not part of some big event–these are the sorta things John deals with routinely in his world/experiences, specifically around Christmas.

The art varies, giving different visual styles, different visual interpretations of Constantine & Co. The first three–by Phillips, Lloyd, and Grampa respectively–are probably my favorites, as they get across a certain feel of darkness or grittiness that seems particularly appropriate for their stories. The fourth didn’t work very well for me visually–personal preference, probably. The final story’s visuals were not bad, but had something I can’t quite put my finger on–perhaps a bit of brightness–that simply didn’t put it in the top three for me of this issue.

All in all, this works very well as an anniversary-style issue. Rather than hosting a huge event, this serves also as a “holiday special” with the focus of the tales. And the tales are provided by Hellblazer creative teams from throughout the years.

Whether you follow this series regularly are are merely aware of the character’s existence, this seems a great issue to pick up as a one-shot, whether you plan to continue with the next issue or not. Besides….you could do so much worse for $4. I give this issue an extra half point as a whole–the package is greater than any of the individual parts.

Story: 8/10
Art: 8/10
Whole: 8.5/10

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