One Mad Dog


John Constantine, Hellblazer Vol. 4: The Family Man (Jamie Delano, Ron Tiner, Kevin Walker, Mark Buckinham, Sean Philips, Dick Forman, Steve Pugh, Dean Motter, Mark Penninton)

The family man collects issues 23 to 24 and 28 to 33 of the Hellblazer series.

  • Larger than Life. (Issue 23): Script : Jamie Delano. Art : Ron Tiner
  • The Family Man (Issues 24, 28-30): Script : Jamie Delano. Art : Ron Tiner, Kevin Walker, Mark Buckingham
  • Mourning of the Magician (Issue 31): Script: Jamie Delano. Art: Sean Philips
  • New Tricks (Issue 32): Script: Jamie Delano. Art: Dick Forman, Steve Pugh
  • Sundays are Different (Issue 33): Script: Jamie Delano. Art: Dean Motter, Mark Pennington

Larger Than Life:

A Bizzarre story in which Constantine meets and old friend that is being harassed by Fictional characters.  Although this story sets up the main “Family Man” arc it just left me bewildered as to what was going on.

The family Man:

This is main story of the book and deals with Constantine’s pursuit of a serial killer who murders families.  It is quite a good story and has a great protagonist that is really evil.  Yet another Hellblazer story that left me thinking how unremarkable Constantine is and not really any sort of hero. The pacing of the story was pretty good but I found it quite hard work at times rather than pleasurable. Quite a wordy tale.

Mourning of the Magician

In the “Family man” the serial killer murders Constantines father and in this story he comes back to haunt his sisters daughter.  There is a back story on Constantines relationship with his father and we get to find a little bit more about his childhood. Quite a good story but artwork not quite as good.

New Tricks

This story sees a return to the demonic world where someone has possessed a dog and is preying on homeless people. Quite a good story

Sundays are Different

I really didn’t get this story. A meandering alternate reality exploit that really seemed to have no point. Just filler in this book really.

Conclusion: 

The artwork in this book is ok but really suffers from the cheap paper stock and gaudy comic book coloring. Visually it is nothing to write home about. There are no standout artists for me but the art does the job.  It has a few areas, like the other collected issues,  where the layout of the tiles is pretty confusing.

A solid collection of Hellblazer stories (with one exception) but Hellblazer still doesn’t really get me excited. I don’t find them an easy read and visually they are nothing special. 5/10. ISBN-13: 978-1401236908

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[HOTWIRE: Requiem for the Dead Volume 1] – (Steve Pugh, Warren Ellis)
August 16, 2010, 7:26 am
Filed under: 10 Stars, Steve Pugh, Warren Ellis

Requiem for the dead is set in what appears to be a London of the future where the electromagnetic fog from the mass of wireless devices has started to trap souls on earth.  The ghosts, or “Blue Lights” as they are called, are generally non aggressive and kept in their place by electromagnetic towers. Some of the “Blue Lights” manage to become a serious nuisance and this is where our hero, detective exorcist,  “Alice Hotwire” is called in.  Normally sending the souls over to the other side is a straightforward job but some extremely violent “Blue Lights” are causing havoc and are not so easy to get rid of. This escalation of  ghost activity and a huge civil riot means that Alice really has her work cut out for her on this case.

The original story concept came from Warrren Ellis but this book is artist Steve Pugh’s baby and he both wrote and illustrated it. “Requiem for the dead”  grabs you from the first page and it keeps hold right up until the satisfying climax. The story is well paced and  Alice Hotwire’s dialog is witty, well crafted and at times laugh out loud funny.

Hotwire has an almost photo realistic, painted art style with a vibrant palette  and crisp clarity. Often “painted” comic book art is muddy and overly stylized making it difficult to follow the action but this book isn’t like that at all. The human faces are extremely realistic and the backgrounds are a  wonderfully imagined sci-fi  backdrop.  I have heard Radical say before that the artwork within their books matches the cover art but this is the first book of theirs where I truly think they have achieved this. The extras in the book are also really good including interviews, backgrounds, sketches, unpublished strips and a cover art gallery.

This is an incredible first effort from Steve Pugh where he has managed to produce a complex but easy to read story with amazing art and a very cute hero that isnt ridiculously proportioned. It is printed on good paper stock too and is really good value for the page count.  [ISBN-13: 978-0980233537]. 10/10



[Hitman Vol. 2: Ten Thousand Bullets] – (Garth Ennis, John McCrea, Carlos Ezquerra, Steve Pugh)
July 20, 2010, 10:44 pm
Filed under: 7 stars, Carlos Ezquerra, Garth Ennis, Hitman, John McCrea, Steve Pugh

This collected edition contains Hitman#4 to #8 and Hitman Annual 1. Garth Ennis’s second DC  Hitman collection has two stories “Ten Thousand Bullets” illustrated by John McCrea and “A Coffin Full Of Dollars” illustrated by Carlos Ezquerra and Steve Pugh. It also has a short bonus story called  “The Final Night ” which also features the artwork of John McCrea.  10,000 bullets continues on from Hitman Volume 1  and the fight with bizarre gangster Mr Dublez. Tommy has his work cut out with an over the top dishonest super hero, a host of would be assassins  and one other hit man that seems to be more than a match for out hero.  It is a good “Punisher” type story with no strange demons or aliens that made the first volume so unusual.  A coffin full of dollars pits Tommy against the inhabitants of Tiburon when he is hired to make a hit for a bent Sheriff against a Mexican gang. There is definitely a hint of “The Preacher”  in this one. Out of the two stories I think I enjoyed  the second one the most. This is another solid effort from Ennis but lacks a few touches to make it stand out from the crowd.

The artwork throughout the collection is classic limited color palette comic book style and it fits pulp fiction nature of the story well. It looks like Carlos Ezquerra only illustrated part 3 of the final story but it still probably my favorite art in the book.  [ISBN-13: 978-1401218423]. 7/10



[Preacher Vol. 4: Ancient History] – (Garth Ennis, Steve Pugh, Carlos Ezquerra, Richard Case)
April 7, 2010, 2:46 am
Filed under: 8 Stars, Carlos Ezquerra, Garth Ennis, Preacher, Richard Case, Steve Pugh
This book is a collection of 3 back stories covering some of the characters in the Preacher series. The first story is an absolute classic and it covers the bizarre history of the Saint of Sinners. Although the artwork does vary between artists in this tale the overall effect is very good indeed. Superb! The second tale I enjoyed less and it fills in the back story for Ar*e face. The style and content of this little tale doesn’t really seem to fit in well with the rest of the Preacher series although it is still pretty violent and shocking. Ar*e face himself doesn’t look as grotesque as he did in the earlier Preacher books. The final tale covers the insane Good Old Boys Jody and T.C. in a ultra violent side story. The art work and storytelling are fantastic and these guys really deserve their own book. (ISBN-13: 978-1563894053). 8/10