One Mad Dog


[John Constantine: Hellblazer : The Devil You know] – (Jamie Delano, Richard Priers Raynor, Mark Buckingham, Mike Hoffman, Bryan Talbot, Dean Motter, David LLoyd)

“The Devil You Know Collects  issues  #10 to #13, Hellblazer Annual 1 and The Horrorist #1 and 2.

  • #10 “Sex and Death”  written by Jamie Delano with art by  Mark Buckingham and Richard Priers Raynor.
  • #11 “Newcastle: A Taste of things to Come”  written by Jamie Delano with art by  Mark Buckingham and Richard Priers Raynor.
  • #12 “The Devil You Know” written by Jamie Delano with art by  Mark Buckingham, Richard Priers Raynor and Mike Hoffman.
  • #13 “On The Beach” written by Jamie Delano with art by  Mark Buckingham and Richard Priers Raynor.
  • “The Bloody Saints” written by Jamie Delano with art by Bryan Talbot.
  • “Venus of the Hardshell” written and drawn by Dean Motter.
  • “The Horrorist” written by Jamie Delano with art by David LLoyd.

I have some of the same criticisms for this second Hellblazer edition that I had for the first. Firstly, the book really needs to include the crossover  “Swamp Thing” stories as without them things can get a bit confusing.  Secondly, the panel layout can also be a bit confusing at times, especially when the story is spread across two pages. Finally the monologues can be a bit to arty and self absorbing at times and the art is nothing special.

#10 to #12 form something of a story arc and are pretty good but the stories are a little pretentious in feel and can be hard work to read.  I actually found each subsequent issue to be more enjoyable and the title story of the book “The devil you know” was actually pretty good.  “On The Beach” is a seriously strange little story with a somewhat predictable ending but it was OK.

“The Bloody Saints”  is a strange Arthurian based tale with Constantine really only along for the back narrative. The story includes Merlin’s talking head on a spit which is a nice touch but it left me cold.  “Venus of the Hardshell” is a throw away pop video type tale that fills in a bit on Constantine’s back story but was nothing special.

“The Horrorist” is probably the strongest story in the book even if it is a little to surreal for its own good at times.  It can be a little confusing and quite hard work to read but it is the only story in the book that left me with the urge to finish it before putting the book down.

It is my opinion that the artwork in stories #10 to #13 is better that that in the first Hellblazer collection.  Although the color pallette is similar, the drawings are much crisper and pleasing to the eye. It does get a bit psychedelic at times especially in book #10. Bryan Talbot’s artwork is in “the Bloody Saints” is good  and is very reminiscent of the style in earlier Conan or Solomon Kane works.  I didn’t like the artwork in “Venus of the Hardshell” at all and its attempt to recreate pop culture didn’t work for me. The final story in the book, “The Horrorist”,  features the art style of David Lloyd which is characterized by washed out watercolors and pastels. I am really on the fence about Lloyd, he is certainly talented but his work isn’t really to my taste.  It usually takes me 4-5 pages to get used to the style and I find that sometimes it is difficult to figure out what is going on.

Volume 2 of the Hellblazer collection was OK but it was a book that I struggled to get finished. I planned to read it over a weekend but it lasted me a whole week. Its not a bad book but I found it hard work rather than pleasurable at times. [ISBN-13: 978-1401212698]. 6/10



[War Stories, Vol 2.] – (Garth Ennis, David LLoyd, Cam Kennedy, Carlos Ezquerra, Gary Erskine)
May 26, 2010, 5:19 am
Filed under: 7 stars, Carlos Ezquerra, David Lloyd, Garth Ennis, Gary Erskine, Kam Kennedy
J for Jenny – (David Lloyd) – I am not a huge fan of David LLoyd’s artwork but it seems to fit this story well. This is an excellent war story that explores the horrors of WW2 bombing raids through the eyes of a British Lancaster crew. There is much conflict between the crew and just a bit of insanity. Satisfying read and pretty thought provoking.
The Reivers – (Cam Kennedy) – I am always partial to SAS stories so I enjoyed this desert tale. A good old light hearted yarn with great artwork, witty dialogue and well timed pacing. Cam Kennedy’s art style has a certain 2000AD look to it which isnt suprising. I enjoyed his work on Rogue trooper.
Condors War – (Carlos Ezquerra) – I didnt really enjoy this story at all. It was really just one long politcal rant. Carlos Ezquerra’s art was good though but the story left me cold.
Archangel – (Gary Erskine) – A really good story about a paranoid RAF pilot protecting a convoy from a catapult launched aircraft. Classic Garth Ennis without any of the usual swearing or violence. This is the best story in the book. The artwork is also top rate in this story. Gary Erskine has a huge talent for drawing WW2 air battles.
A great collection with some nice extras explaining the background of the stories. Typical Vertigo cheap paper [ISBN 1-4012-1039-2]. 7/10


[War Stories, Vol 1.] – (Garth Ennis, Chris Weston, Gary Erskine, Dave Gibbons, David Lloyd)
May 25, 2010, 2:00 am
Filed under: 7 stars, Chris Weston, Dave Gibbons, David Lloyd, Garth Ennis, Gary Erskine
Johann’s Tiger (Chris Weston) – A gritty story about the commander of a tiger tank and the final chapter of his part in the war. This is a Well written short story with excellent artwork by Chris Weston and a satisfying conclusion. Chris Weston ranks as one of my favorite war artists.
D-Day Dodgers (Gary Erskine) – Based upon a true story whereby a prominent lady figure called the soldiers fighting on the Italian front “D day dodgers”. This story is very much in the style of the classic British Comic Book “Commando” whereby class distinctions and the inneptitude of the generals all take a front row seat in the narrative. Good story and good artwork too.
Screamin Eagles – (Dave Gibbons) – A somewhat strange story with a unusual premise but not a bad read. Artwork is good.
(Nightingale) – (David Lloyd) – A superb story about HMS Nightingale and her crew as they battled to protect convoys during WW2. This tale is fantastically crafted to really portray the horrors of war at sea in to make the reader really care for the plight of the characters. I am not usually a fan of David LLoyd’s artwork but it fits this story perfectly. His dark colours and drab pallet really help to bring home the drama. Best story in the book.
A great collection with some nice extras explaining the background of the stories. Typical Vertigo cheap paper. [ISBN-13: 978-1401203283]. 7/10