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DC Cancels Hellblazer With #300; Launches New 52 Constantine

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If your head is spinning after reading the headline it’s not because you might have – vertigo – it’s actually because you do not!

DC Comics has announced that with issue #300 of Hellblazer they will be cancelling the Vertigo title and relaunching with Constantine #1 as part of the New 52 in March.

DC Comics Co-Publisher Dan DiDio let loose the following:

“We’re supremely proud of Vertigo’s HELLBLAZER, one of the most critically-acclaimed series we’ve published. Issue #300 concludes this chapter of Constantine’s epic, smoke-filled story in style and with the energy, talent and creativity fans have come to expect from Peter Milligan, Giuseppe Camuncoli and Stefano Landini. And no one should worry that John is going to hang-up his trenchcoat – he lives on in March, in the pages of the all-new DC Comics New 52 ongoing series, CONSTANTINE, by writer Robert Venditti and artist Renato Guedes.”

Venditti is currently writing X-O Manowar #1 for Valiant Comics.

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Review: Hellblazer #296

John Constantine has been investigating a series of black magic murders. Each victim is killed, has his organs ripped out, and has words written above him or her on the wall in their blood. All of which points to Constantine.

Constantine investigation has brought him into the home of his estranged nephew, Finn. As Constantine trains Finn in the mystical arts, the mysterious threat reveals itself. But is Constantine ready for the amount of magic this new foe possesses?

Peter Milligan’s run on Hellblazer is continuing to be very entertaining. He mixes mystery, detective work, magic, and con-artist charm into every issue. Constantine feels genuine in each panel and can make readers laugh with the slightest bit of dialogue.

Giuseppe Camuncoli did the layouts for this issue and Stefano Landini did the finishes. The artwork continues the current character style, which has a very cartoon-like tone. It works well with the mixture of humor and horror, and it gives characters a chance to really emote when they need to.

Vertigo Comics has been publishing Hellblazer for decades. It’s good to know that fans and new readers can rest assured that it will continue to deliver some of the best characters and stories in comics.

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Review: Hellblazer #293

John Constantine is no stranger to breaking promises. On his last trip to Hell, Constantine promised his sister Cheryl that he’d try to find her long lost son, all while crossing his fingers. He had no intention of looking for the lost member of the Constantine bloodline, but now that grizzly murders with black magic are filling the sewers of the city, Constantine thinks that his nephew might be looking for him instead.

Hellblazer is one of Vertigo’s longest running series and for good reason. Peter Milligan writes Constantine the same way Jamie Delano or Garth Ennis wrote him – as a crime noir character deep in the occult. The dynamic with Constantine and his wife Epiphany has been playing out really well, and it’s satisfying to see him with someone he can confide to in every issue.

How long she’ll last is another story, since it’s common knowledge that anyone close to Constantine doesn’t last very long.

Giuseppe Camuncoli has a very expressive style that fits Hellblazer and Constantine’s world while still having an impressive cartoon element. The eyes and expressions of characters are what really sell each panel. In every moment where Constantine is angry, smiling, or ready to vomit, is felt by the reader through the artwork.

Most audiences are only familiar with the film version of the character in Constantine, starring Keanu Reeves. While it’s not a horrible movie, it’s definitely not a faithful adaptation of the character or the Hellblazer franchise. If you love detective stories and urban occult or horror, this series is the go to material for any fan.

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Just What The “DOC” Ordered: Drawing The Line At Constantine!

Just What The Doc Ordered

DC Relaunch: Drawing The Line At Constantine

(Editor’s Note: Our latest column to hit Cosmic Book News comes from Chris “DOC” Bushley who will be taking a look at the less “cosmic” characters in comic books with his “Just What The Doc Ordered”  OPED column!)

By Chris “DOC” Bushley

 

(That’s right, no matter what they called Keanu Reeves horrible movie, it’s pronounced “kon-stuhn-tahyn!” Not teen!)

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JUSTICE LEAGUE DARK #1
The DOC draws the line with Constantine!

So, how many of you out there knew who that cigarette smoking, blonde haired fellow was at the end of Brightest Day? Not many I am assuming, considering the CBN offices were at a fifty-fifty split! Everyone was either so caught up with the fact Swamp Thing was the White Lantern (is he still?–who knows!) or the horrible conclusion of a mediocre storyline to even notice that Vertigo’s longest running book was sending over their star – John Constantine! But who can blame fans for not immediately recognizing Mr. Hellblazer himself, it’s not as if everyone is a huge Alan Moore Swamp Thing fan nor was there any real hype about what was going on. It was supposed to be shocking, and it was to Hellblazer fans like myself, but it was shocking for all the wrong reasons! It was shocking because John Constantine doesn’t belong in the normal DCU and especially not on some magic super team, Justice League Dark – really?! The only “team” John Constantine was ever on was in 1999, as a member of the “Trenchcoat Brigade,” which consisted of Phantom Stranger, Mister E and Dr. Occult. It was a Vertigo mini series that made sense for the characters to all be thrown together, and at the end – they all went their separate ways! No secret team handshake, snazzy logos or magical headquarters to hang out in. Just four guys, that never trusted each other, thrust together for a single goal.

But a better reason as to why good ol’ Johnny doesn’t belong in the world of super teams, is at the core of the character, he is a genuine bastard! At the end of the day, when the doors of Hell have been shut and the dust has settled, only one thing matters to Mr. Constantine – his own survival. Though he has had plenty of friends and family over the years that have cared for him, and he in return, no one is as important to John Constantine as himself. Not that I’m saying he purposely goes out of his way to undermine those that have asked for his help, it just always seems to go that way. And each time it does, it further enriches the character, perfecting the art of self loathing to a honed edge while doing everything he can to live one more day. If he fails at saving his friends and family, what chance do a bunch of magic welding freaks stand against his skills of self preservation?

But the change that will hurt Constantine the most is the neutering of the character and his tales to fit into the DC proper. No other book at DC delves into such an array of poignant yet controversial issues the way Hellblazer does! From the very beginning, it has been a book not only revolving around such a thought provoking character, but one that pushed the limits on current political, social and economic issues. It has tackled everything from the affects of nuclear and chemical warfare, civil unrest in South Africa, the hell and splendor of America’s prison system, racism in the U.K., the hatred between both young and old, poor and wealthy, abortion, murder, gang violence, alcoholism, rape, bestiality, black magic and the bastardization of the Royal family! And let’s not forget challenging every nuance of the Catholic religion so much, that it makes Dan Brown look like the thirteenth apostle! From the Devil himself being the main villain to a conversation with a homeless man that turns out to be a de-winged Michael, Hellblazer has always challenged itself to be unique and controversial. And a lot of that controversy occurred during Garth Ennis’ amazing run, where we find out exactly how The Virgin Mary conceived a child; it wasn’t quite as immaculate as I remember from Catholic school! 

It’s not just the smoking, drinking, sex, and vulgarity that makes up John Constantine; it is the aspect of making the reader actually think about issues in the real world – things that matter and view points that may have never been perceived before. This above all else is what will have to be lost in order to conform to the regulations of a “proper” DC book. So let’s call Justice League Dark Johnny, the now defunct moniker of Johnny DC and the original Vertigo badass by his proper name – Constantine! I have drawn a line as well, and I choose to stay on the side where the shadows hide secrets we don’t want to know. A place where wives make deals with succubi to take care of cheating husbands, where technology sometimes eats your soul and where an Englishman just might be able to save you if you don’t get in his way! 

Choose Vertigo, I know Alan Moore’s head is spinning over this announcement – so yours should, too!

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