THE HELLBLAZER / BLUE BEETLE REBIRTH / DEATHSTROKE / DEMONIC [Reviews]: Bury You With Satan.
Simon Oliver’s Hellblazer is a return to form for John Constantine in more ways than one. Constantine is back in his old stomping grounds of London which instantly makes the series feel much more authentic and also lets the readers reacquaint themselves with some old friends. There are several callbacks to Jamie Delano’s original run from the 1990s (to include a grown-up Mercury) and even Swamp Thing is back–with his newfound teleportation skills–to reignite his odd couple relationship with John. I always enjoy the back and forth they have with each other and the conflict between Swampy’s noble spirit and Constantine’s tendency to be a complete reprobate is amusing. With Oliver (FBP) at the healm, there isn’t too much in the way of “new” story though as they spend a lot of time catching readers up with old history.
Now that DC has moved The Hellblazer from the Vertigo imprint to the main line it does seem to be a little bit watered down. The cuss words are bleeped out and the overall tone is much lighter than the older series. Hellblazer has always had this EC Comics/horror vibe going for it (especially in the Garth Ennis days) and that seems to be absent thus far from this run. It reminds me of the tone that the ill-fated TV adaptation had and it just isn’t as subversive as it should be. Moritat’s art style (All-Star Western) doesn’t seem like a good fit either, because it’s too plain for the fantastical world that John Constantine inhabits. This reboot may appeal to new fans of the franchise, but longtime readers will find that it leaves much to be desired.
We have a Blue Beetle Rebirth comic this week that we did not know we needed. At the helm: veteran writer Keith Giffen (Justice League, OMAC, Booster Gold) on script; alongside writer/artist/inker Scott Kolins (Solomon Grundy, The Flash) with story and interior duties. Then Romulo Fanarado Jr. (Batman and Robin Eternal, Midnighter) whom was bringing electricity with his color work to each panel in Blue Beetle’s latest renewal. Ted Kord is around the scarab, but cannot wield or even access it’s power. Right? Wait– so what’s new? Joke aside; we open with Kord in the “floating batcave” and our reluctant high-school hero: Jaime Reyes.
Amidst a fight with powerhouse twins, Rack & Ruinm there is a mystery around why and whom sent the twins with the sole purpose of getting the Beetle’s attention. This ultimately shows Jaime the full potential of their power and abilities. The (team) dynamic between Kord and Reyes is a welcome change from when it was the suit’s voice inside Jaime’s head. Plus, who doesn’t like corporate funding?! So, welcome aboard Mr. Kord. I’m a fan of Giffen, Kolins, and Fajardo Jr. The direction for this Rebirth is promising– especially for a half-Mexicano such as myself. 3.25/5 Bibles.
DC’s Rebirth is well underway, and while I miss the New 52 already, I’ve always been a fan of all things DC and I’m excited to see what’s in store for some of my favorite characters… one of which just got his first issue of the new line. Deathstroke #1 has me intrigued. We’re quickly introduced to some key players: Slade Wilson, of course, and William Wintergreen in the middle of a mission. We meet Slade’s wife, Adeline and catch a glimpse of their kids Joe and Grant, all folks we might remember from previous Deathstroke titles. Christopher Priest (Black Panther) doesn’t keep us out of the action long, as we catch up with Wilson and Wintergreen taking out Clock King at the behest of an African warlord intent on double crossing the worlds deadliest assassin… something that might not work out well for him in the end. There’s a bit of mystery going on with the mercenaries and their past/present together that we should see play out, as it seems to be something of a central focus of the issue.
Deathstroke #1 has everything I look for in a debut issue. It introduces us to our title character, lets us know a little about who he is and what he does, while leaving lots of room for elaboration over the run of the title. It also does just enough to make me want to read the next issue. I’ve never been a fan of the slow build–whether it’s comic books, tv shows, books, or movies–if the beginning doesn’t hook me, I won’t be in to it. I usually give TV shows and comic books 2-3 episodes/issues to get me excited for the rest, and Deathstroke did that in 1. There’s that little bit of mystery between the W’s that I want to know more about, and there was the familiar Deathstroke ass kicking that I’ve always loved. 4/5 Bibles.
It feels like it is a pretty rare thing to find a downright bad comic from Image. Demonic, while it may not be the best thing the publisher has released recently, is another solid number 1 that has some promise. It bares the most similarities, at least on a first read and with a look at the first issue, to something like The Strain, but not totally. There are some slightly more supernatural elements, and a tiny bit more of a anti-hero thing. Sort of. Kind of. Basically, the title of the book pretty much sums itself up really well, if we want to talk about it simply. Christopher Sebela (Escape From New York) penned a good first issue, and Niko Walter (The Accelerators) and Dan Brown (Iron Man), the book looks damn good as well. Go pick it up Image junkies. 3.75/5 Bibles.