What does a supernatural con man do on his day off? Find out after the Jump!
Our story starts with John Constantine in a precarious situation, which is nothing new. Papa Midnite, from the pages of Hellblazer, wants to punish him for stealing. The narrative then jumps back three hours.
After the events of the first story arc, Constantine takes the advice of a friend and attempts to take the day off. “Go visit with friends, have a drink. Talk about the weather, it’s good for your heart.” John takes a moment to reflect on his “friends,” Zatanna, who has left the Justice League Dark, and Chris, who died in the first story arc. He decides to take the advice anyway and that is when the trouble begins.
He sees a kid pulling a scam at the shop where he buys his smokes, but chooses to ignore it. John then visits another friend, at a bar. This visit is cut short by the arrival of Papa Midnite’s crew. They give a crowbar beating to Constantine before hauling him off to Midnite, which takes us back to the start of the issue.
Constantine stole an artifact from Midnite, and he wants it back. For those who didn’t read the first story arc, Constantine is all about maintaining the balance in the magical world. This includes making sure certain powerful artifacts don’t fall into the wrong (or sometimes any) hands. Constantine claims he did Midnite a favor, because the Cult of the Cold Flame is after it. Midnite doesn’t seem worried, as he had butchered the members of the Cult who came looking for the artifact. Like a supernatural Batman, Constantine is always a few steps ahead. He had prepared some spells and frees himself, and tells Papa Midnite that their conversation would be continued later, on neutral ground. It is his day off after all.
After this encounter, he sees the kid that was pulling a scam earlier. He then goes to pay Zatanna a visit, and receives an ominous warning about an upcoming war. We also find out that Sargon the Sorceress, who John dealt with in the first arc, is one of Zee’s childhood friends.
Once again, John encounters the pint-sized scammer, and knows that something is up. He figures out pretty quickly that the kid was sent by Sargon. Constantine breaks the kid’s nose, takes his money, and sends him running. He then proceeds to give the money to the store owner that was scammed in the first place. The issue closes with and portent of things to come…from a parrot.
Fabiano Neves’ design for Papa Midnite is a thing of terrifying beauty. I hope he becomes a regular cast member. His dealings with the Cult of the Cold Flame seem to point in that direction. The Cold Flame has also been mentioned in the pages of JLD. I have been enjoying the way the Cult has been dealt with thus far. New readers don’t need to know about the history to be intrigued. Old readers, especially fans of The Books of Magic, will geek out at the mere mention of them.
Some may perceive this as nothing more that a filler issue. The first story arc is over, and next issue is the first of the Trinity War tie-ins. So why do we care about this issue? Because reading about the smaller adventures of our favorite characters can give us just as much insight into who they are as the bigger ones. I also would have liked to have seen more Papa Midnite.
Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes have crafted a single-issue story that puts you into the mind of Constantine, who will be a major player of the upcoming Trinity War. This issue certainly points us in that direction with the warnings of Zatanna and the parrot. This issue also plants seeds for the future of Papa Midnite and the Cult of the Cold Flame. If you want to read all the tie-ins for Trinity War, Constantine #4 serves as a great jumping on point!