Home > Vertigo > Hellblazer #195

Hellblazer #195

April 24, 2004

Quick Rating: Good
Title: Out of Season Part One

Constantine’s friends hunt for him as his amnesia causes him even more problems.

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

After an encounter with an unpleasant fellow with telepathic tendencies last issue, John Constantine is trying to figure out who he is with nothing but his first name. His large friend is looking for him, a new friend isn’t exactly stable, and his old friends are trying to find him by any means necessary.

This is listed as the first of a two-part story, but it essentially continues from last issue’s quite good “Ward 24” story. Seeing Constantine trying to get by without his usual wit, snarky nature or anything else is new territory for the character, and for someone with 195 issues under his belt, finding something new isn’t easy. He gets into a seriously dangerous position in this issue and is unable to rely on any of his usual tricks, not remembering what they are, and the result is much more perilous than usual without actually making the stakes as high as they often get in a book like this.

Leonardo Manco does a fantastic job with the artwork on this issue. He has a handle on Constantine that actually echoes the rendition of the character done by cover artist Tim Bradstreet. It’s not quite as detailed – but doing the level of detail on a Bradstreet cover for the interiors would virtually eliminate any chance of getting an issue done on time. The facial structure is similar, however, and moreso than it usually is when it’s just different artists trying to draw the same character. It’s as if they used the same model.

Manco’s creepier scenes work well too, with just the right touch of blood and gore interlaced with some pretty normal-looking characters. These guys are still in shape, but unlike some horror comics, there is no character in this title that could be mistaken for a superhero.

With My Faith in Frankie over, this is easily the best title Mike Carey is writing now. He manages just the right mix of horror and potboiler, and that’s something that’s always fun to read when it’s done right.

Rating: 7/10

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