[Editor’s note: This review may contain spoilers.]
Writer: Garth Ennis
Artist: Russ Braun
Inker: John Kalisz
Spectre and John Constantine take center stage in a book that is not actually about them. We learn a bit more about Dogwelder’s past, but nothing is clear. There might be more than one Dogwelder; that is currently unclear. We learn that one member of the super troupe Section 8, Baytor, is actually a demon who has royally upset the Spectre. There is a lot of talking.
As is the case with a lot of Garth Ennis’ work, this book is totally self-aware. Spectre laments the reboot of the DC universe, yet again, and how it always seems to fall on him to fix it up. Constantine whines that he has been made a mockery and that his old comic books were much better than his new one and in fact, his appearance in this book is somewhat absurd. There is some fun in that. It is true. Seeing the Hellblazer with a space helmet on riding on what appears to be the Silver Surfer’s board (which makes no sense to me either), is off-putting. There is a running gag about him not being able to smoke with the helmet on. He is bleeped out almost every time he speaks. He openly admits missing his Vertigo title.
Russ Braun does a nice job with this cartoonish issue by making the characters seem cartoony. There is a cameo by the Caped Crusader which is a bit silly, and Braun does a nice job making it look silly. There are a lot of soft corners in this book. That works out here as the story is fluffy and soft. Seriously, there is a lot of talking.
As much fun as Constantine’s rant is, Spectre’s rant about the Rebirth titles is a bit too much. The jokes do not land. Maybe that is because Spectre isn’t funny and we do not expect him to be. He even takes a call from Doctor Fate and gets into an argument with him. Turns out the mystic world has good cell service.
While I am normally a fan of a slow build and do not feel that there needs to be a ton of action in every single issue, there is a lot standing around. We know this is only a six-part series, so it feels like we are killing time.
This is a bridge issue, so it is a step forward, but it feels like a step back. It is supposed to get us to where our heroz start travelin’ hard. Hopefully, the next issue will focus on them and the irreverent humor that Ennis is known for. The art work here is really good even if Constantine says it is not.