One Mad Dog


John Constantine Hellblazer Volume 03: The Fear Machine (Jamie Delano, Richard Piers Rayner, Mark Buckinham, Mike Hoffman. Alfredo Alcala)

Collects Hellblazer #14–22

  • Script  :  Jamie Delano
  • Art : Richard Piers Rayner, Mark Buckinham, Mike Hoffman. Alfredo Alcala

The 9 part collection has a nice shiny cover but it is Printed on dull comic paper stock which is a bit disappointing for a $20 book.

Running from a report in the Sun newspaper, Constantine finds himself with a new-age pagan group that have apparent psychic abilities. Unfortunately the group become prey to a defense contractor and a young girl Constantine has befriended gets kidnapped and he tries to get her back.  This is a very wordy story that is similar to those old detective movies where the hero gives a lengthy internal monologue at every opportunity. The book doesn’t really have much action going on at the start and Constantine doesn’t  seem to be remarkable at all.  I can only imagine what the purchasers of book 14 must have thought at the time. The story is steeped with hippy and masonic style cultures and references and requires some concentration to keep up with the plot.

The art is acceptable but nothing special and suffers a bit from the cheap comic book coloring and paper. There are no standout artists in this collection but no stinkers either.  Some of the frame layouts can be very confusing.  Most sections you read on each page, left to right and top to bottom  whereas others you have to read left to right across two pages. It was not always obvious that this was how you were supposed to read it.

The story isn’t bad but I found the finish a bit unrewarding and convoluted. The badies never really get their comeuppance in a satisfying manner. The standout thing for me for this collection is just how unremarkable Constantine is. Three collections in so far and Hellblazer doesn’t seem to be a great series so far. 6/10 (ISBN- 978-1401235192)

 

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