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John Constantine, Hellblazer: Pandemonium by…

John Constantine, Hellblazer: Pandemonium

by Jamie Delano (Writer), Jock (Illustrator)

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704171,029 (4.17)1
  1. 10
    American Gods by Neil Gaiman (Sivaroobini)
    Sivaroobini: One of my favourite scenes in Pandemonium was the poker game with the gods, and I also loved the references to the splendour of ancient Babylon and the power of the old gods. The idea of the old gods we once worshipped still sticking around is also explored in American Gods, albeit in a very different way; the protagonist does end up having to play quite a few games of his own with the gods, too.… (more)

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Road Trip! -- Constantine leaves dreary wet England for the dry desert of war-torn Iraq. ( )
  bensdad00 | Jan 10, 2017 |
Jamie Delano didn't invent Constantine, but he invented him. He didn't invent him, because Alan Moore did, but he invented him the way the first person to play a character in a Broadway show invents the character, fills it with life. Sure Constantine appeared in Swamp Thing before he had his own series, but he was a mystery in Swamp Thing. In Hellblazer he's a cypher -- we know him but only so much as to know we don't fully know him. It's not that he has countless tricks up his sleeves, it's that he has countless sleeves.

There's enough back story packed into the first single issue of Hellblazer to play out for decades, and that has proved to be the truth. Numerous writers took on Constantine after Delano left the series, and here he returns with a standalone volume. In it, Constantine enters the vortex of the war on terror. Enticed by a hijab honeypot, he ends up deep in the Middle East, forced by NATO (well, at least by the U.S. and Britain) to interrogate what turns out to be -- this is Constantine -- not a terrorist, but terror itself: an ancient demon who's entered our plane, feeding off the death and fear and violence of modern warfare.

The art is by Jock, who also drew the Green Arrow graphic novel I read recently and didn't think much of (the retold origin story, Year One, one written by Andy Diggle). Here, it's as if he's a different artist. I have no knowledge of the direction he was given or the conditions under which he worked, but if Green Arrow is all loosely constructed poster pages that are the comic equivalent of a movie filmed on an inexpensive multi-use set, Hellblazer: Pandemonium is a powerfully rendered graphic story, moving easily from public to private spaces, from the West to the Middle East, from Earth to Hell. Every other page has some stark image that you'll want to stare at for a moment before moving on.

Constantine is Constantine here, older, wearier, less in control of himself, and still able to surprise. Despite the change of scenery and the adopted gravitas of an ongoing, real-life situation, the structure is familiar. There's a third act that goes a little too quickly, and a brief fourth one that provides some easy if rewarding comeuppance.

What it isn't is fun. One thing the story lacks is humor. There was a wryness to Delano's Constantine at its best. Much of it was parody: of class, of convention, of superheroes, of yuppies (it was of its moment), of fantasy, of religion. There's no parody here, no laughs, not even dark ones. Perhaps humor was a casualty of war.
  Disquiet | Mar 30, 2013 |
After Spider-Man, John Constantine is probably my favourite character in comics. I have a theory about this. (Bear with me, we'll get to the review.) Whereas Peter Parker is the character I aspire to be - the one who selflessly sacrifices himself for others and is forever striving to do his best and live up to his responsibilities... John Constantine is the character I'd be if I gave up trying. The character who says - "hey, the human race is a bunch of selfish bastards, so I'm gonna be a selfish bastard too. I'll help out if I can... but I'm gonna put myself first and not worry too much about breaking a few eggs as long as there's an edible omlette at the end of it". Or something. Along the way I'd get to smoke and drink and shag whatever I wanted and tell anybody who didn't like it exactly where to go. I'd get to thumb my nose at authority and even stick two fingers up at the devil himself. I'd still get to be a hero - I just wouldn't give a toss about what anyone else thought about it. Hmm... when you put it like that... Peter Parker looks like a lot of hard work for not much reward.

Most people consider John Constantine to be an Alan Moore creation, but though Moore did conceive the character and give him his first few outings in Swamp Thing, it was Jamie Delano who made him into a lead man. Although Delano hasn't written the regular book for about 20 years, but he does return to the character every now and then for a new mini-series or original graphic novel, and the latest of those, Pandemonium, has just been released in softcover.

This time Delano takes Conjob somewhere he's never been before - to wartorn Iraq, where he ends up facing off against one of his oldest enemies in a bizarre poker game for his life. The most interesting part of this story is the set up, a honey trap involving a mysterious Muslim woman that breaks taboos revealing John's weakness for women wearing burkas. It's witty and irreverent and reminds me of a 21st Century take on Raymond Chandler.

Read the full review ( )
  rolhirst | May 10, 2011 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Delano, JamieWriterprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
JockIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
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Vinte e cinco anos atrás, John Constantine surgiu nas páginas de Monstro do Pântano pelas mãos de Alan Moore. Desde então, o mago tornou-se um dos maiores anti-heróis das HQs, atraindo uma legião de fãs. Agora, para comemorar o 25º aniversário de sua primeira aparição nos EUA, o roteirista original da série Hellblazer volta ao personagem. E levará John Constantine, o homem que conhece quase todos os infernos possíveis, a um dos poucos infernos que ainda não conhece: a linha de frente da guerra. Um atentado à bomba no museu de Londres, enigmáticos artefatos sumérios, uma assustadora criatura à solta… tudo isso invade a vida de Constantine como um turbilhão quando ele encontra uma misteriosa muçulmana. Para salvar sua vida e manter sua liberdade, o mago agora precisa percorrer uma improvável trilha que liga os becos de Londres aos centros de detenção e campos de batalha do Iraque – onde o homem que já viu de tudo testemunhará um conto de terror moderno que nunca havia sido capaz de imaginar. Hellblazer – Pandemônio traz Jamie Delano de volta ao personagem que ajudou a consagrar. Ao seu lado está Jock, que agora tem a chance de emprestar seu talento a uma graphic novel, mantendo o mesmo estilo que tornou suas premiadas capas famosas. Juntos, ambos dissecam os gêneros de guerra e terror em uma história de horror feita sob medida para o século 21.
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"Constantine embarks on a desperate trail from the back streets of London to the detainment centers and battlegrounds of contemporary Iraq..." -- back cover.

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