Sure, it’s bad when you black out and wake up in a strange place. It’s even worse when you wake up in a strange place and you might have magically murdered someone… Your Major Spoilers review of The Hellblazer #13 awaits!
Writer: Tim Seeley
Artist: Jesus Merino
Colorist: Carrie Strachan
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Editor: Kristy Quinn
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Previously in The Hellblazer: John Constantine is a powerful mage, one who has made a lot of enemies over the years. But would one of them have enough of a grudge to kill somebody to get even with him?
Ooooooooof course they would…
ONE HELL OF A HANGOVER
This issue opens with an old-school Hellblazer bang, as John awakens in his hotel room, aware of nothing by the rumbling of the air system. Stumbling to the vent, he opens it, only to be doused in blood and gore, the kind that usually involves some sort of grinding apparatus. Cut to the police station, where Constantine is being interviewed about his strange experience, by a police inspector who also happens to be an old friend. (There are a lot of those, and if previous patterns hold, she’s probably not long for the world.) Slowly, he puts together the events of the boozy night before, realizing that one of his drinking friends has to have betrayed him. At the same time, D.I. Margaret watches security footage that shows the snotty motel manager being dragged up to the roof by invisible forces and thrown into the circulating fan, a fate very similar to what John himself could have (and idly imagined) doing to get rid of the punk…
MOLES AND TROLLS, MOLES AND TROLLS, MOLES AND TROLLS…
The final two pages of this issue introduce an unexpected twist in the story (one that I won’t be spoiling here, but not only works but feels like something new and different in the long history of Hellblazer), really making me want to read next issue RIGHT NOW. This issue is well-crafted, featuring lovely art by Jesus Merino, who actually makes the more disturbing sequences of the issue a little TOO vivid for my tastes. Of course, given that the bulk of the issue is John flirting with a woman and two men, drinking his butt off in a pub, and it’s still exciting and visually dynamic is a testament to the strength of the art. I especially like how the liquor (or is it mead?) looks shiny, velvety and somehow terrifying throughout the issue, something that must have taken a lot of effort on the part of the creative team.
THE BOTTOM LINE: OMINOUSLY GOOD
In short, this is a good issue. The Hellblazer #13 is lucky enough to pull off the beginning of a new arc with aplomb, providing skilled art and a really engaging story that doesn’t tread over territory already covered (and I’ve read every issue since 1988) earning an above-average 3 out of 5 stars overall. I’m still a little shaken by the opening sequence, and will definitely be back next time…