Home > Vertigo > Hellblazer #192

Hellblazer #192

January 27, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Staring at the Wall Part Four

Constantine sets up a last stand.

Writer: Mike Carey
Art: Marcelo Frusin
Colors: Lee Loughridge
Letters: Clem Robins
Editor: Will Dennis
Cover Art: Tim Bradstreet
Publisher: DC Comics/Vertigo

With only one issue left in this story arc, Mike Carey has set things up for a really epic climax. As a demon has found a way to invade and take over the collective unconscious of the human race, John Constantine has found a way to shield himself from the insanity, making him humanity’s last hope. Outside mob rule has taken over, riots rip apart the cities, fires burn and things are plunged into chaos.

I must say, however, my favorite thing about this issue is that we are reminded that several of the Vertigo titles do take place in the DC universe proper, and as such, the fact that it’s a shared universe is recognized and used to the story’s advantage in this issue. Aside from Constantine’s own battle, we see how other mystic creatures are dealing with the insanity about them with cameos by Lucifer, Swamp Thing and one of my personal favorites, Tim Hunter (the new Books of Magic series cannot begin soon enough).

In fact, if one didn’t like the shared universe concept, that could be the biggest complaint they have about this issue, that it reads a bit too much like a superhero comic and not the horror/dark fantasy title it is purported to be. But why can’t it be both? If the book reads well — and it does — what’s wrong with that sort of thing?

Marcelo Frusin wouldn’t be one of my favorite artists on other projects, but his talents are very well-suited to this book. He and colorist Lee Loughridge craft a very good dark, dismal world, reflecting the horrors that Constantine’s enemy is inflicting on the planet Earth. Frusin also does a very good Swamp Thing, and with rumors floating around about that book being resurrected later this year, editors would do well to look in his direction.

Although I’ve always enjoyed Constantine’s guest appearances in other titles, I’ve never bothered to read his own book until this storyline. I think I found a good one to come in on. Dark, funny and horrifying sometimes, this is a good comic book, and with only eight months to go, one can’t help but wonder what Carey has in the works for the big issue #200.

Rating: 7/10

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