Review: John Constantine: Hellblazer #11
[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 #11: A message from Clem Thurso, the most virulently bigoted politician in the UK, unexpectedly sends John on a journey deep into the heart of occult evil-and down into a chamber below Parliament where something truly unspeakable waits…
This is it, this is the penultimate issue to probably the best comic DC has put out in the past year. Spurrier is ending things with a double sized issue next month but for now readers have part one of the final story. And what a story it is.
Clem Thurso is the focus of the issue. A not so subtle reference to just about every prominent British politician of the last four years. He’s mainly Nigel Farage, but since Clem has a seat in Parliament he’s also Michael Gove, Matt Hancock, Priti Patel. Clem Thurso is everything to dislike about current British politics.
Well, he kind of is. As it happens Clem Thurso died and was replaced by a being that feeds on fear. Naturally between 2016 and 2020 there was a lot of fear for Clem to feed on. Spurrier’s character utilising the right wing’s fear campaign of Brexit hits painfully close to home. At times it feels like the current Government are demons that feed on fear. (Especially giving this week’s news surrounding free school meals.)
What makes the issue so great is how Spurrier personifies the hatred that surrounded the Brexit Britain of 2016-2019, but also how he recognises the shift the Tories have taken. Thurso’s power drains as the Government stops inciting fear in favour of pride. We’ve seen Boris Johnson and co. change tact since their win late 2019. As a country we’re less told to be scared of foreigners and more told to be proud of Britain. Rarely are we told what to take pride in of course.
This review won’t spoil the ending, but it is fantastic and perfectly captures Spurrier’s critique of the Government while keeping the Hellblazer tone. Of course Aaron Campbell’s artwork is spectacular. The horrific imagery matches Spurrier’s script in every way and with Bellaire’s colours this is a Constantine comic well worthy of the Hellblazer title. This really is the best Constantine series there has been in years.
Last month this review said that the series being cancelled was a negative. In the same vein as that protest, the only negative here is that it ends next month. #SaveHellblazer
This isn’t hyperbole and it isn’t hype. Simon Spurrier’s Constantine run deserves all the praise possible and this issue is just another example of why. As part one of a two-part story this is a practically perfect comic book. Spurrier has hit the vein of contemporary British life with this run. This issue is everything comics should be and arguably is what the shelves need the most right now.