cover image Hellblazer: Death and Cigarettes

Hellblazer: Death and Cigarettes

Peter Milligan, Simon Bisley, Giuseppe Camuncoli, and Stefano Landini. DC/Vertigo, $19.99 ISBN 978-1-401240-93-6

The long-running British magician known as Hellblazer was recently rebooted into the magic-centric DC universe, where scruffy, snarky John Constantine stands at the center of the usual gang of costumed crusaders. In this final volume of stories from the original series, Constantine’s mature-audience swan song is strung together from several shorter works that, if nothing else, get to the center of the kind of supernatural grit Hellblazer specialized in. In one story, Constantine investigates a ghostly suicide bridge. In others, more family problems, including a long-lost relative, demand his attention and suggest that black magic is a curse that runs through a family’s DNA. In the finale—no spoiler here—Constantine grapples with his own death, dealing with it in the same way he faces everything else: through disingenuousness and finely-tuned planning to beat the supernatural on its own terms. As usual, the character of Constantine waivers between off-putting charm and sincere untrustworthiness. One of the hallmarks of the Hellblazer series was Constantine’s real-time aging, and here, as a tired magic practitioner floating around 60, both he and the series wear their age well. (July)