Hellblazer #247


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Hellblazer #247


  • Words: Andy Diggle
  • Art: Leonardo Manco
  • Inks: Leonardo Manco
  • Colors: Lee Loughridge
  • Story Title: The Roots of Coincidence: Part One
  • Publisher: Vertigo/DC Comics
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Sep 17, 2008

Lord Burnham reveals the aim of his holy alliance with Mako, as John Constantine digs up the bones of Santa Claus to use for a ritual.

Andy Diggle returns to Hellblazer, after the capable fill in issues by Jason Aaron, and as absurd as the above sounds, it’s all quite clever and interesting. Constantine travels to Italy to retrieve the remains of Saint Nicholas, Bishop of Myra, the historical figure upon whom the Santa Claus legend was based. The relic is used to give John Constantine the means to find Mako, who continues to butcher the community of magicians and devour their power as he mutilates them. I still haven't warmed to Mako, but his partner in deviltry, Lord Burnham, is a great villain. Knowing that his evil deed will damn him to an eternity in Hell, Burnham has contrived a plan to produce his own personal Heaven, a hedonistic paradise.

Diggle continues to explore the idea of Constantine as a focal point in the magical universe, as he continues to be coincidentally a nexus for much activity. Constantine denies it of course, but it seems as though Diggle is leading him toward some kind of revelation as to his place in the supernatural order. With so many mages being slaughtered, and Mako following Constantine to London, whether he likes it or not, John is caught in the wake of this vortex, and will no doubt be drawn directly to its center. This issue is a strong beginning to the storyline, and builds well on past continuity.

The lack of supporting cast is not felt so strongly in this opening part of the arc. Diggle spends a great deal of time on excellent exposition, and imaginative magical concepts that it’s easy to forget that John doesn't interact with anyone on a personal level. Hopefully, some characters will be introduced or reintroduced as the story progresses. Of course, the poor souls that will come in contact with Constantine are likely to regret it.

Leonardo Manco's art is so well suited to Hellblazer it's scary. His scratchy inking style conveys the dirty world of the street mage and the dark streets of London he calls home. He draws buildings, vehicles, landscapes and people with exceptional skill and detail. Manco excels in his portrayal of gore, and Diggle gives him a great opportunity with a double page spread of Mako's hapless victims. His art is not for the weak stomach, but who reading Hellblazer would fit that description?

Hellblazer has long been one of my guilty pleasures. Diggle's run on the book has been enjoyable, particularly for the original concepts concerning magic. I find the idea of one's own personal Heaven to be ingenious, and no doubt necessary for a nefarious creature such as Lord Burnham. Constantine himself cleverly cheated damnation, so perhaps he could offer his foe a few pointers. This issue is another strong offering from the flagship of the Vertigo line.

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