Constantine #22 sees John reap the rewards of his actions last issue. In the wake of having killed off Earth-2 John, Constantine finds himself face-to-face with the alternate versions of his family and friends as they mourn the loss of their loved one. They are distraught, and in their anger with Constantine, several members of the group consider abandoning the portal and falling into the oblivion around them.
Much of the issue relies on this emotional battle between Constantine and the Earth-2 family. Constantine’s spell is carrying them safely through various realms familiar to readers, such as the Green and the Rot of Swamp Thing lore. And while these hazards drift around them, reaching out with doom-like tendrils, the group of inter-dimensional travelers remains focused inward on the death of Earth-2 John. Constantine is forced to confront the selfishness of his actions. He admits that he has lied to the group, but tries his best to convince them that he is bringing them to a better place.
Throughout the issue, there is another conflict, the one that’s been growing in John’s mind during this arc, and it’s revealed that the Apokolips plaguing Earth-2 is reaching out for John, seeking his origins and looking to take hold in his world. Now, so close to his own home and with Earth-2 Constantine’s family and friends in tow, John must prepare to face a god.
Ray Fawkes allows Constantine #22 to have some serious emotional payoff for the arc, forcing John to confront the Earth-2 family about his actions. There are some great character moments that really show the despair of the Earth-2 John’s family members, his father in particular. The rapidly changing environment allows for an appropriate change of pace in the visuals. In previous issues of the arc, the action was relegated to either one location or one overall tone, and with that limitation gone, Jeremy Haun shows off a variety of environments for Constantine and co. to travel through.
This issue sees our protagonists transition out of their doomed predicament, and along with that, some of the tension that has gripped this arc since the beginning is released. This doesn’t hurt the book’s conflict too much, as things are worse than ever between The Earth-2 group and Constantine, but one can’t help but wonder how much more immediate the conflict would have seemed if the group wasn’t going through alternate worlds like a train through the countryside.
Constantine #22 is not quite as strong as its predecessors, sacrificing some of the apocalyptic tension to emphasize the rift between Constantine and his companions. However, this doesn’t mean it’s not good in its own right. The issue sets up an incredible conflict between Constantine and Apokolips as the series comes to a close next March.