John Constantine: Hellblazer #11 Review

by Nick Devonald on October 27, 2020

Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Aaron Campbell
Colours: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Aditya Bidikar

The penultimate issue in Simon Spurrier’s run on Hellblazer feels like a perfect culmination of everything which has come before, themes which have been touched on and explored already are examined in even more detail. Story threads which appeared unconnected are all coming together in an incredibly clever and well thought out way, the stakes have never been higher, and the finale promises so much. The writing, the art, the colours are all sublime, and come together to produce one of the best comics in the series. All the talent involved in this series has been incredible but this issue feels like they’ve taken everything to another level, and finally provide an answer to the question of where Spurrier’s Hellblazer fits when compared to Delano or Ennis. It’s not just on a par with them, it surpasses them.

The series has explored themes of hate, and fear, and pride, but it’s not until this issue that the reader can see they’re all connected. It takes the worst of humanity and puts it under the microscope, not caring to sugar coat it, rather to display it in all of its sordidness. And if you think you’ve already seen the worst of humanity in this series, at its most grotesque, wait until the cliff-hanger ending. It reaches new lows, and is absolutely horrific. This issue in particular employs a rather unique and different narrator from what the reader is normally used to, which really benefits the storytelling. He also sums up why John is the only one who can save the day. It’s not a hero which is needed, it’s a bastard, and that’s exactly why John is the only person for the job.

The writing is absolutely epic, and the way that the narrative has been weaved throughout the entire series without the reader even realising that it all comes together to tell one outstanding story shows how clever Spurrier’s writing is. Another strength of the series as a whole is the way that Spurrier has taken it back to his routes. Not just by grounding the series in a reality very close to our own, nor the darker, more mature themes it explores, but also by its inherent Britishness as well. Everything that worked about classic Vertigo Hellblazer is here.

Aaron Campbells art has been truly special throughout the series but this issue is something else. It’s absolutely stunning. The unique nature of the narration in this issue would present most artists with a real challenge, but Campbell takes it all in his stride and produces a comic that is very special indeed. From the first issue with Campbells artwork he’s managed to give the series such a unique tone and feel to it, perfectly in keeping with the writing, which sets it apart from other comics.

Jordie Bellaires colours are equally special in this issue. Bellaire is a perfect match for Campbells art, taking his incredible art and elevating it to another level throughout the entire series, but in this issue she does something truly special. The narration is from a rather unique point of view through most of the issue, and she shows us this by colouring each panel in red. The contrast of the reds and blacks make for something that is truly different and special, not only does it capture the tone of the story it looks absolutely fantastic.

Storytelling on a level which is rarely seen in comics, the series has explored some dark themes, and with this issue everything is culminating towards an incredible finale, and readers can see the entire series has been building to this point and telling one grand story. It’s not just the writing though, it’s the art, the colours, it all comes together to create such an incredible piece of work, there isn’t anything which lets this series down.

Our Score:


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