John Constantine: Hellblazer #10 Review

by Nick Devonald on September 29, 2020

Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Matías Bergara
Colours: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Aditya Bidikar

Right from the first issue of this Black Label run on Hellblazer we’ve known an older version of John has been lurking in the shadows, waiting for John’s soul, committing atrocious acts and inciting hate. He’s not been subtle about it, a phallic shape on the map tracing his deeds. And of course our John has been aware of it, but always a step or two behind, never really sure what the bigger picture is. As the series has progressed a confrontation between the two is not only inevitable, but it’s long overdue. This issue has the two coming face to face.

Early on in the series Simon Spurrier made it quite clear that nobody was safe in this series. The way he treated Chas in the first issue established there would be collateral damage, reminding the reader that John's companions rarely, if ever, have happy endings. That has helped keep the tension high throughout the series, and just in case the reader had been lulled into a false sense of security Spurrier reminds us, early in this issue, that no-one is safe. The stakes are raised and as the issue progresses the sense of horror becomes almost overwhelming. There is an element of denial to proceedings. Fan favourite characters or not, nobody is safe in this issue. It’s one of the tensest issues in this run, and considering some of the horrors Constantine has faced that’s quite the achievement.

It’s an incredible issue, it feels like the natural build up of nearly a year in this world and is another reminder that this is one of the greatest runs in Hellblazer history. It’s also clear there have been seeds planted early on which are beginning to blossom here. The theme of pride has been brought previously, this issue shows readers that it’s going to be central to the endgame.

So far whenever Matías Bergara has taken over the reigns the issues have tended to be a little more lighthearted and humourous than when Aaron Campbell was the artist. It was a neat touch and helped separate the two artists and their wildly different styles. Bergara shows readers here he's just as capable of horrifying readers with a much different, darker style here. It plays with readers expectations and makes the darker aspects of the story feel more impactful. From the moment you open the comic and see London under a blood red moon the tone is set. And he keeps on bringing the horror from that moment onwards, each new location bringing fresh and darker horrors.

Jordie Bellaire must have really had her work cut out for her here. The issue takes place across a number of different locations and each new location has wildly different colours from the last. A quick flick through the comic would suggest she’s needed to use every colour in her pallet for this one issue. And as always Bellaire continues to deliver the goods.

This issue should come with a disclaimer, not for the faint of heart. An exceptionally tense issue in an exceptionally good Hellblazer run, this issue will have fans talking for weeks. Spurrier shows us yet again what a masterful storyteller he is, and how incredibly well suited he is to dabble with the Hellblazer mythos. If ever a writer and a series were a natural pairing this is it. Bergara takes readers expectations for the style of story he’s telling and flips it around completely, showing us he’s more than capable of telling darker and more horrifying stories.

Our Score:


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