Marks of Woe (John Constantine, Hellblazer #1)

Simon Spurrier and Aaron Campbell. DC Black Label, $19.99 trade paper (216p) ISBN 978-1-77950-289-6
DC’s conjuring con man returns in a savvy new outing by Spurrier (the 2000 AD series) and artist Campbell (the Green Hornet series). Dark magician John Constantine is back with a (literal) vengeance, released into 2019 and its uneasy era of racist, xenophobic Brexit England. The decline of Britain is the ongoing backstory against several shorter narrative arcs, such as Constantine mentoring a cheery new age conjurer fanboy and investigating a cancer ward cursed by an angel of death, which allow Spurrier to script in the flavor of the best Hellblazer tales.While never subtle, Spurrier’s scripts are imaginative and clever; he’s as sharp with a horrific scene of demonic possession as he is with a pee joke, and he’s got a keen ear for the dialogue of modern Britain, along with ample bawdy humor and sarcastic muttered asides. Campbell’s atmospheric artwork captures realistic character design and fantastic, grotesque demons, as well as over-the-top violence. The exemplary coloring work paints London and its inhabitants in suitably grim shades, replete with grit and splattered blood. Hellblazer has been published continuously since 1988, and the series opened critiquing Thatcherism; fans will be pleased by how Spurrier and Campbell’s take on contemporary Britain feels as fresh as the original comics. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 10/02/2020
Release date: 09/29/2020
Genre: Comics
Paperback - 152 pages - 978-1-77950-953-6
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