Constantine: The Hellblazer #13

by John White on June 08, 2016

Written by: Ming Doyle & James Tyinon IV

Art by: Eryk Donovan

Coloured by: Kelly Fitzpatrick

Lettered by: Tom Napolitano

            In Constantine: The Hellblazer #13, we find our titular hero doing the two things he does best. Playing with magic he shouldn’t and pulling a con on marks that could annihilate his entire being as easily as look at him.  One of the few titles not swept up in DC’s Rebirth initiative, this issue marks the conclusion to Ming Doyle’s and James Tynion IV current arc. Although supporting players do have a role in this issue, the character and cunning of John Constantine are on full display and the ending to the issue, like so many other John Constantine stories, makes you question whether this man is a hero or just someone who routinely finds himself in situations where heroism is his only way out?
          Driven by the desire to get Oliver’s (his most recent paramour) daughters’ souls back from Neron’s clutches, Constantine taps into magic so powerful and deep that it is “profane to even consider meddling with”. Combine that with some favors from some cameo players John is able to get just where he wants to, naked with a cigarette in his mouth and in front of a demon who despises him.  The climax that Doyle and Tynion IV write is fast, fun, and classic Constantine. Without giving too much away, it is safe to say that no hero in any other comic would come up with a solution as “speculative” as this.
         On full display in this issue is the dual nature of John Constantine.  Neither solely magician nor con man, he must use all his skills to combat the evil Neron and the demon’s, what can only be described as a, soul shorting scam. Although the resolution feels a bit rushed, it is done so with good reason because without that pace the writers would not be able to highlight the one thing that lets Constantine stand apart from the rest of the protagonists in DC’s pantheon. He is a man with flaws and despair that at the end of the day questions whether or what he does even matters or whether or not he even matters.           
        Bolstered by the vibrant artwork of Eryk Donovan and Kelly Fitzpatrick that makes the action nearly pop off the page, including one two page spread that shows the real strength of story telling in this medium, this issue really gets the sense of who this character is and why his area of the DC universe is one that should be explored more often.  Although it can feel a bit clunky in the middle, the payoff at the end is well worth it for anyone enjoys character development as well as high adrenaline action. There’s no telling what adventures John Constantine will get into in future issues but Doyle and Tynion IV are writing it, you can be sure that it will be worth picking up.

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