Constantine #3

by Johnny Freiberg on May 09, 2013

The Big Smoke
Written by Ray Fawkes & Jeff Lemire
Art by Renato Guedes

The Plot: John Constantine goes to London to get the final piece of the magic compass of doom, or at least make sure Mister E and Sargon the Sorceress don’t get it because they’re evil.

Pros: Even though I’m not really comfortable with Constantine being all about the magic, as that’s not what his character is about, I love what’s being done with the idea of magic. In previous issues, the idea of magic as an addiction and as absolute power (corrupting absolutely) was put forth. In this issue, Constantine monologues about how those who go after magic, not those who are born with it or have it thrust upon them, are stupid enough to believe themselves smarter than everyone else. The idea seems to be relating magic to having control or being in power. If this has to be a book about magic, at least it’s being handled intelligently.

Constantine is very much in character; something he hasn’t always been in the New 52. He uses his skills as a con artist to get out of situations, and it’s great to see him using his brain. He also ends up backstabbing an innocent for his own needs. This gets across the point that Constantine isn’t a good guy. He may be working for the greater good, but he’s selfish and will do anything that suits him and his goals.

There’s something about this art that I really enjoy. There’s a certain three dimensional depth to it that makes one get immersed in the pages. Every panel has a lot going on, and the faces always have emotions. I haven’t seen any of Guedes’ art before now, but he may be a talent to watch in the future.

Cons: When Constantine leaves the airport to meet up with his driver, he grabs her into a kiss, but she pushes him off. This moment seemed random and unnecessary. At points, the issue attempted a horror vibe, but these moments fell flat. Throughout the issue, Constantine is sick because of a curse on him that only exists in England. I can’t help but feel that this is the writers saying “Constantine doesn’t live in England anymore, get over it”. The end of the issue has Constantine wrap everything up in monologue, and this felt clunky.

(This paragraph will contain spoilers) The climax of the issue is that Constantine confronts Mister E and Sargon the Sorceress to get the final piece of the compass, and he outsmarts them. This was basically the climax to both of the previous issues. While I still enjoyed the story, there’s a certain level of repetitiveness that I hope doesn’t continue past this issue.

Our Score:


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