Hellblazer #259


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Hellblazer #259


  • Words: Peter Milligan
  • Art: Simon Bisley
  • Colors: Jamie Grant
  • Story Title: The Cottage
  • Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo
  • Price: $2.99
  • Release Date: Sep 23, 2009

In many ways, "The Cottage" is the paradigmatic John Constantine story. It shows the street sorcerer in his element, working magic in solitude while affecting and infecting all those around him with the taint of black magic. Using the props of necromancy, including a magic wand of all things, Constantine attempts to communicate with the ill-fated Phoebe. From his magic induced dream-state, he relives the idiosyncratic nature of their initial meeting, and terrifying nature of her ultimate fate.

Milligan, as ever, retains a firm grasp on the character of John Constantine, and does an excellent job with the first person captioning of the magician. Shining through is the self-loathing, sarcastic, defiant foe of the unholy. Fans of Shade the Changing Man will be delighted and a little upset by the cameo appearance of an old friend. The plot here is very simple, but it is the style and execution that makes this a satisfying Constantine tale.

The main attraction of the issue however, is the interior artwork of one Simon Bisley. Bisley's artwork has been a treat for some twenty years now, and his work here is different yet incredible. The colors are added to fine pencil work, complete with smudging and shading, without full use of inks. This gives the artwork a dusty quality that is really just extraordinary. Bisley's pencils are more realistic than his prior work on Lobo, and the characters have something of a Richard Corben feel to them. There is an exceptional amount of detail in the backgrounds and as always, Bisley excels at drawing truly frightening images. In this case a demon replete with needles and industrial parts mixed with tentacles and razor sharp teeth. This artwork is really something special, and so perfect for Hellblazer.

I must admit to having fallen off the wagon in following Milligan's Hellblazer, after the unsatisfying end to his opening story-arc. This interlude, especially with Bisley's drawings, has pulled me back on for the ride.

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