To be honest, I never really considered reading Hellblazer, or maybe I considered it (after seeing the 2005 flick Constantine staring none other than Keanu Reeves!), but never acted on the impulse, till the underrated Constantine show kicked off on NBC. The show is amazing, and just as I previously said, does not get enough credit from NBC. But the real reason why I was finally convinced to seek out the comics was it seemed that the show was drawing from the source material (comics) heavily. While the weight of said influence could be argued among reviewers and other such nerds and geeks, I’d say its an equal medium. Story plots are certainly drawn from the source but obvious changes have been made to jive up the original 1980’s story structure for today’s modern audience. With that said, let me get back to my review of the actual comic collection!!
I’d say this is a mighty fine start for anyone new to the series, myself included. The only bit that threw me for a loop was the Swamp Thing addition at the end. It was muddied with the Damnation Army storyline and I ended up confused with where it was going. When I got to the end, though, it was made clear. The best part of the collection was “Hunger” and “Feast of Friends.” It was tragic and horrifying, very similar to the aired episode on TV. However, it was more haunting in the book, because Gary Lester was more of a unwilling participant as the eventual vessel to contain the hunger demon. Several of the comics in the collection dealt with familiar social issues during the mid to late 80’s. It was interesting to step back and reexamine those political unrests. Another favorite from the collection was “When Johnny Comes Marching Home,” which dealt with a town still reeling from losses during the Vietnam War. Another really good one was “Extreme Prejudice” that dealt with white supremacist groups in England during the 80’s. It was an interesting look back in time, but I think what really made the comic great was the creature assembled from a mod podge of body parts from the slain racists, aka the Devil’s Mockery.
Overall I’d say it was a great start in a long journey of getting to know John Constantine. I’m looking forward to picking up volume # 2!!