A malevolent spirit is free and all of Britain hangs in the balance… Your Major Spoilers review of John Constantine: Hellblazer #6 from DC Comics awaits!
JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER #6
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Aaron Campbell
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letterer: Aditya Bidikar
Editor: Chris Conroy
Publisher: DC Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: June 3, 2020
Previously in John Constantine: Hellblazer: As Noah’s mother lies in the hospital, deep in a coma with no prognosis of awakening, John Constantine makes the acquaintance of a rapacious spirit… one with a terrifying significance for all of England.
NIGHTTIME, AT ST. THOMAS HOSPITAL
As this issue opens, we are introduced to Noah, a young man whose mother is a patient in St. Thomas hospital’s terminal ward. Unable to speak since an unspecified accident, he spends most of his free time with his mother, but still notices when a beautiful woman makes her way through the halls. This particular woman visits different patients each time, and when he follows her into a room, he is greeted by a literal hailstorm of blood and gore. It’s clear that something is very wrong on the Terminal Ward and no one is willing to help him… until he finds John Constantine waiting patiently in the dark. Together, they realize that there’s a ghost in the ward, one that is very interested in who is and is not (by it’s own definitions) truly British…
“IN THIS GAME, ‘DESERVE’ DON”T MEAN %$&*@ ALL.”
I remember reading ‘Hellblazer’ back in its original incarnation and reading stories about Thatcherite politics and football rivalries and other veddy British (and oh so 80s) conflicts in John’s life, and Spurrier’s script reminds me of those issues. This issue isn’t afraid to call out the racism and classism in post-Brexit England, specifically referencing the problems with the NHS and the plight of immigrants, leading to the shocking reveal of who, exactly, has been feeding the hatred of this spirit… I’m not pointing and laughing, either, as this story feels very relevant even in the United States, but I think it will have power wherever you are. That’s due in part to Aaron Campbell’s excellent art, once again reminding me of the old days of Vertigo, giving each character a reality and sense of life all their own, from the put-upon charge nurse to the friendly police inspector to the angry old lady in bed #1. You actually understand the motivation of this spirit and the moments where it roars into terrible life are truly chilling.
BOTTOM LINE: LIKE THE HELLBLAZER OF MY YOUTH
In short, John Constantine: Hellblazer #6 is an excellent example of Hellblazer in the classic mold, impressing with it’s art and complex storytelling while depressing me as I realize how little has changed since 1988, earning 4.5 out of 5 star overall. If you’ve only seen John in his television incarnations and wonder what all the fuss about his comic adventures is really about, this is an excellent place to jump in.
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JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER #6
This is a well-crafted story with excellent art AND it’s a done-in-one that puts you squarely in John’s world of supernatural Britain.