Review: JOHN CONSTANTINE: HELLBLAZER #6
[Editor’s Note: This review may contain spoilers]
Writer: Simon Spurrier
Artist: Aaron Campbell
Colorist: Jordie Bellaire
Letters: Aditya Bidikar
Reviewed by: Alex McDonald
John Constantine: Hellblazer #6: As Noah’s mother lies in the hospital, deep in a coma with no prognosis of awakening, John Constantine makes the acquaintance of a rapacious spirit – one with a terrifying significance for all of England.
Every now and then a comic comes along that just taps directly into the vein of current events. It does so in such a poignant way you forget you’re reading a comic about a superhero who flies or runs fast. Or in this case, you forget it’s a comic book about an occult antihero and you become thoroughly wrapped in the story Simon Spurrier is telling.
It’s almost unsettling just how ‘current’ this story is. As a ‘British’ comic again, The Hellblazer has so far showcased that British wit and pessimistic tone. A bit like comparing the US Office to the British, there’s a noticeable difference no matter how similar the premise. With John Constantine in London he’s been encountering social issues relevant to the world but bring on an extra meaning to those currently living through them. Be it gentrification to gang violence, this series has said something worth listening to each issue.
Even though the series has been excellent so far this is the standout. This is the issue it felt like it was building to. It’s been an unprecedented summer to say the least. For a lot of people it has been quite hard to find much hope. For Simon Spurrier to come along with this script at this time and remind readers what there is to be hopeful about shows what people in the UK are going through. Whether intentional or not, this is a story perfect for today. This is not just a dissection of the NHS but of British values and ideals. It asks the right questions and presents believable characters to leave readers thinking about them long after they’ve closed the book.
This isn’t even considering the simply magnificent artwork from Aaron Campbell. Pages can be haunting and they can be beautiful. Praise needs to be given to Jordie Bellaire’s colours as well. The cool pages give the hospital an uneasy coldness that’s too easily associated with current news reports. Whereas the warmer scenes bring a life to the characters for a dramatic effect this review won’t spoil.
Hopefully this avoids hyperbole, but this is truly a fantastic issue. There’s no negatives here.
What more can be said? This is THE issue for Simon Spurrier’s Constantine. This is the one to show your friends to get them back into comics. Or to show them what Black Label is about at DC. Or to give that family member that says something uncomfortable about the NHS. This is what comics can be and it should be read.