Call in Matt Ryan because Hellblazer: Rise And Fall #2 has every bit of that clumsy, ruthless John Constantine charm that the actor made perfect on television series. With some unexpected partners for the "self-styled Hellblazer" and a lot of old business left unresolved, this issue hits many of the right buttons.
Let's deal with the elephant in the room: the devil himself has come to make a deal with Constantine. This one has half of the humor and twice the wrathfulness of Tom Ellis, and that's not a bad balance. Apparently, the events depicted in the previous issue have proven costly for the Lord of Lies, and he's hell-bent on getting even. That means tracking down John's childhood friend, now police detective Aisha, and the ghost of the man murdered in the last issue for a team-up of both horrifying and ridiculous proportions.
Writer Tom Taylor uses many elements to build up the horror and mystery elements here, escalating this by using the procedural format but also delivering on the mysticism and manipulation inherent in the character. Then, just when it got good, legendary artist Darick Robertson leads the visuals with Diego Rodriguez and Deron Bennett along to give this the visual quality of a big-budget Netflix show.
Now, sure, this book is not for the faint of heart (super graphic violence) nor the prudish (so many things, from language to graphic content), but none of that takes anything away from the well-crafted bones of it or its sheer entertainment value. This is worthy of the old Vertigo days and digs deep in the muck of John Constantine's realm of moral ambiguity and doing good while not being good.
An improvement on an already solid debut, this issue makes for a good time with distinctively bad people. RATING: BUY.
By Tom Taylor, Darick Robertson
John Constantine has been in trouble before, but running afoul of the Devil himself is crossing a line even for the self-styled Hellblazer. But that's exactly who darkens Constantine's door with news that John's investigation into the gruesome "angel murders" of London's billionaire class and Satan's own vendetta against a treacherous demon are actually the same mission. What's that mean? You guessed it: It's time for a team up!
Hannibal Tabu is a writer, journalist, DJ, poet and designer living in south Los Angeles with his wife and children. He's a winner of the 2012 Top Cow Talent Hunt, winner of the 2018-2019 Cultural Trailblazer award from the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs, his weekly comic book review column THE BUY PILE can be found on iHeartRadio's Nerd-O-Rama podcast, his reviews can be found on BleedingCool.com, and more information can be found at his website, www.hannibaltabu.com.
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