The true John Constantine disappeared for a while as a superhero-friendly version of the character entered the main DC Universe. While that iteration still exists in books like Justice League Dark, the original Constantine has returned in all his messy glory in the new John Constantine: Hellblazer series. Written by The Dreaming’s Simon Spurrier—check out last week’s Big Issues for more on his phenomenal work on that title—this new Hellblazer title is an exceptional return to form featuring stunning artwork from artists Aaron Campbell, Matías Bergara, colorist Jordie Bellaire, and letterer Aditya Bidikar.
The series is full of the clever ideas, socio-political commentary, and snappy dialogue that have come to define Spurrier’s work, and he has a deep understanding of John Constantine’s character and the seedy urban world he thrives in. Spurrier always has a sense of humor in his writing, and the current John Constantine: Hellblazer two-parter leans into comedy even more aggressively as Constantine meets the hipster sorcerer who replaced him as the “Magelord of England.” This exclusive preview of John Constantine: Hellblazer #5 highlights the fun this creative team has with this odd couple dynamic, and Bergara and Bellaire immediately distinguish Tommy Willowtree from Constantine by presenting him as a beacon of bright enthusiasm and cheer.
Spurrier and Bergara created one of the best fantasy series in recent memory with their work on Boom! Studios’ Coda, and Hellblazer takes them into a more grounded environment while still providing opportunities for mystical spectacle. Bellaire’s colors enhance the expressive qualities of Bergara’s linework and layouts, like the rush of warm light that bathes Tommy in the morning and the ethereal mix of blue and green paint when Tommy is approached by the Guardians of the Merlintrove. Bergara’s character work is full of animated personality, and his coming timing is completely in sync with Spurrier’s script, which gains some extra punch from Bidikar’s use of bold, italic, and lowercase vs. uppercase letters. This book is designed to be new reader friendly with shorter arcs that stand on their own, so it’s easy to hop on to John Constantine: Hellblazer and catch up with DC’s #1 scumbag magician.