RIP Hellblazer (1988 – 2013)

thrills&chills

What an incredible week for comics. Sure there were some hiccups, but overall I snagged a dramatic and refreshing collection of titles that, above all else, reaffirmed just what is possible in this medium. All that said, there was one title I was waiting for with both a sense of dread and nervous excitement. More on that after I present this week’s pull list in all its unfettered glory —

From Dark Horse
B.P.R.D. 1948 #5
Conan the Barbarian #13
Dark Horse Presents #21

From DC Comics
Hellblazer #300
Nightwing #17

From Dynamite
Sherlock Holmes: The Liverpool Demon #2

From IDW
Locke & Key: Omega #3

From Marvel
Daredevil #23
Savage Wolverine #2
Thor: God of Thunder #5

From Oni Press
The Sixth Gun #29

Big week and a lot of hard earned coin represented. For a change, no real regrets. Sure, Conan is disappointing, but I can’t not look. The brawny barbarian is still my favorite literary character, and though it hurts to see him misrepresented (and it would make more sense to vote with my wallet and spend my money more satisfyingly elsewhere) the completist in me just won’t allow that to happen, damn it. savage Wolverine is another book that’s not quite up to snuff, but it’s so darn pretty…

Everything else was pretty freaking solid. Bunn and Hurtt are still killing it on The Sixth Gun. Hill and Rodriguez are performing miracles on Locke & Key. But this week’s showcase for me should really come as no surprise. This is the Occult Detective, after all, and no character embodies the genre more than John Constantine. And this week, the curtain is closed on Hellblazer. So, what did I think of the con man’s swan song?

hellblazer300cover

I like Peter Milligan. I think that he brought a lot to the table in his 50 issue run on the title and Hellblazer #300 was a fitting end to that run. Loose threads were tidied up, which is a good thing, I suppose, but overall I think the Hellblazer series finale was ultimately disappointing. Chaotic, disjointed, Milligan’s Constantine fell flat in his final hour. Several characters were mismanaged (particularly Chas) and the slow disintegration of Gemma was nearly unbearable. I guess the point is that people connected to John Constantine just don’t get happy endings. Not even his readers.

Constantine goes out, not with a bang, but with a bloody whimper, and that’s just wrong on so many levels.

Hellblazer will be sorely and truly missed. I have serious misgivings about the upcoming Constantine relaunch. Sure, I’ll give it a chance, just as I did with Justice League Dark, but Constantine-Lite holds no appeal for me.

I want the dirt and the grit. I want the blood and black magick of the foulest sort. And I bloody want that alcohol and nicotine-fueled swagger.

Hellblazer was special.

Now, a day later, it’s a thing of the past.

Thankfully, I’ve got over 300 comics to revisit and I’m alright with that, because in my heart of hearts, I know that John Constantine is still out there. He may not be fighting the good fight, but he’s still fighting. Maybe not for the sake of your soul, but assuredly for his own… right to the bitter end, before he’s dragged down into hell, puffing on a fag all the freaking way.

2 Responses to “RIP Hellblazer (1988 – 2013)”

  1. Your words are so very true, what a wimper it was, none of the social political insight of the Delano, or the scathing religious rant of Garth Ennis, or the ingenuity of Warren Ennis, instead soap opera Milligan just lost all interest in the last few months, taking it nowhere at all. As though DC heads wanted it to just fade away, lose its audience and just f*ck off.

    Well as in the mighty words of Mr John Constantine himself, DC heads you can just f*ck off, because right now you have nothing on the market I want to buy any more, well done.

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