The historic 300 issue run of Hellblazer is over, which has made way for a new series and it’s star John Constantine to join DC’s New 52 in a new series. This is his first proper solo outing though he’s been a part of Justice League Dark and been seen in Animal Man and Sword of Sorcery.
I haven’t known a lot about Constantine, other than the few issues of Dark I’ve read, some Hellblazer and the lackluster movie from years ago. But, it’s clear, DC is attempting to prop up the character to be up there in importance with the trinity of Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman. He’s played a pretty big role in some recent series to indicate this.
So, that brings us to this first issue. It needs to do two things, set up the bad guy big enough that it feels like a threat to the entire DCU and at the same time introduce Constantine to new readers. The first issue is entertaining, but it doesn’t quite reach the former, but does decent in the latter goal.
What Constantine learns in this first issue will shake the very foundations of the New 52…and only he knows how to deal with it!
That’s the tease for this issue, and I’m not quite sure the issue really made it feel like what Constantine learns will “shake the very foundations.” But, it’s all interesting and we’ll see how it pans out.
The issue is successful in introducing the character. We get a solid feel for what he’s like and how he acts, and that’s as a “liar, cheater and manipulator.” This is a hero we’re not supposed to like but want to cheer for.
The first issue doesn’t know it out of the park, but it’s definitely interesting enough to have me come back for the second issue.
Story: Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes Art: Renato Guedes
Story: 7.5 Art: 7.5 Overall: 7.5 Recommendation: Buy
Action Comics #18
With this issue Grant Morrison’s epic run on Action Comics comes to an end. Morrison himself said in an interview that this issue is “like no Superman story before, there’s a lot of stuff going on in it. The readers themselves are implicated in the story.”
But to me, I just didn’t get and of that or it. I didn’t feel implicated in the story, I just felt confused. I had no idea what was going on, this isn’t a comic for a new reader. In fact, this might be a hard comic to figure out for anyone that hasn’t read this series from the beginning.
The villain is from the 5th Dimension, and this character, Lord Vyndktvx, is attacking Superman in a lot of different levels and ways, like a horrible acid trip (and maybe if I were on one, I’d of enjoyed the comic more). I got that much from a lot of the dialogue, but beyond that, for a new reader, the issue is a mess of ideas and disconnected scenes.
The issue seems epic, I’ll give everyone involved in that, but the resolution seems silly in how the bad guy is defeated, it feels like it’s been there, done that.
I read the first few issues of the series, but to me, Morrison is hit and miss as a writer, and his Superman, like his Batman, has been a miss for me. I just haven’t enjoyed it. Both seem to have grand ideas that aren’t clearly laid out coherently. If I need Cliff Notes to read a comic, there are serious issues with the storytelling. And this entire issue I felt like I needed notes if not a translator to help me decipher what was going on.
Those who have read this story arc and Morrison’s run might appreciate the issue, but as a new reader, I can’t recommend for those looking to try something new.
Story: Grant Morrison Art: Rags Morales, Brad Walker, Cam Smith and Andrew Hennessy
Story: 5 Art: 7 Overall: 5 Recommendation: Pass
DC Comics provided Graphic Policy with FREE copies for review