Tensions boil over as Earth-2 falls in Constantine #21. Greeted by Doctor Fate, Constantine and his Earth-2 compatriots attempt to fend off the looming forces of Apokolips. Like the other issues in this arc, however, Constantine #21 is an internal conflict as John debates the options his magic requires. The art costs, and what it costs is a Constantine. The supernatural frequency of both John and his Earth-2 counterpart being in the same place and time is throwing off the spell, and one of them must leave for it to work.
As John struggles with his dilemma as to which Constantine should be forced to leave, he is also pestered by Doctor Fate, who reminds him of the lack of time on their hands, a decision must be made quickly, and Fate is hoping that Constantine will use his help and become the new host of the helmet.
Ultimately, the painful decision is made, and it is one that will affect the cast of the book in a drastic way.
Ray Fawkes’ writing has been strong on Constantine for a while now, but he really steps up his game this issue. Readers are given a good look into John’s head this issue and can feel the weight of the decision on his mind. If he leaves, he has to trust that his Earth-2 counterpart can steer the magic and get his loved ones to safety. If Earth-2 Constantine leaves, John is stuck with the guilt that he has condemned a man to die and taken him from his loved ones. It’s heart-wrenching stuff, especially when John admits that there is a part of him that really would like to steal his counterpart’s life.
Jeremy Haun’s art is stellar and harrowing all at once. Though there is action to be had, this is an internal conflict, and Haun makes great use of close-ups to add to the intimacy in the issue. The action is thrilling as well, as John’s companions are armed with only a few handguns against the forces of Apokolips. It’s survival horror taken to the next level.
Constantine #21 is a great issue in what has been a superb arc. While the conflict has been man vs. self, this issue ramps up the intensity to devastating effect, alleviating the arc of some of the possible pacing issues that readers may have had in prior chapters. There are no real flaws to be found here.
Ray Fawkes and Jeremy Haun have worked in tandem to create an excellent comic. Constantine #21 is an exciting read that sucks the reader into a moral dilemma and stages it against some amazing action. This arc has been fun from the start, and things are only looking to get better and more personal.