REVIEW: The Hellblazer #18 (Going my way?)

Shot up, spirit detached, greedy idiots all around and worst of all — sober. Not John’s best day. Someone’s going to catch it for ticking him off, and there are so many people to choose from.

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Writer: Richard Kadrey
Artist: Davide Fabbri
Inker: José Marzán Jr.
Colorer: Carrie Strachan
Letterer: Sal Cipriano
Publisher: DC Comics

What You Need to Know: 

This is part 3 of the Bardo Score. John has been summoned to San Francisco, where one of his friends has been murdered. The murderer somehow gets their victims to thank them before they die. This person appears to be someone mixing magic and politics. John manages to get himself shot and has entered “the Bardo Realm”.

What You’ll Find Out : 

The Bardo Realm is a place between life and death, which John seems to be skirting yet again. While he’s there, John comes face to face with the demon/god/mystery that attacked him last issue. This version is much chattier and reasonable. From talking to him, John finds that someone has been messing with the enlightened path.

John manages to annoy/talk his way out of death again, and back in the real world.

Of course, the real world isn’t all wine and roses, as John awakens wounded and wanted for murder. The coven steps in and pulls him out, but then pulls him right back into helping them. Now, though, he’s got his answers and knowledge is power. He knows just what to say and just what to do. And at the end of it all, he saves the day and loses it too, just like he always does.

What Just Happened:

The arc wraps up with the mystery solved and all revealed, but with a bittersweet note. The story was a little put off by some of the cartoony art, which got a bit silly in parts (Gandalf hat? Really?). The “villains” in this scenario were a little on the nose as far as mustache-twirling caricatures go, but given the political climate of late, perhaps that’s the going trend nowadays. So John saves the day but gets bitten in the end. But… least he’s out of San Francisco and back to home sweet home. Hopefully, they’ll let him settle down with a pint before kicking him in the gut again. But I doubt it.

Rating: 8/10

Final Thoughts: This arc was entertaining, but nothing entirely special. I hope for a little more depth in a story than this one delivered when it comes to Constantine, but still, a nice little diversionary tail, with a somewhat heavy-handed, if time-appropriate, political undertone.

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