Review: ‘Hellblazer’ #300 – The Final Issue

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A can’t miss event, Hellblazer #300 weaves together a fitting end to John Constantine’s journey. Never meant to fade away, the “Hellblazer” series heads to some interesting new places before its final pages. Readers are in for one last batch of revenge, black magic, and crooked deals.

WRITTEN BY: Peter Milligan
ART BY: Giuseppe Camuncoli and Stefano Landini
PUBLISHER: Vertigo Comics
PRICE: $4.99
RELEASE: February 20th, 2013

After cheating death so many times before, is John Constantine really dead? Constantine’s wife, Epiphany, is certainly wondering that same as she mourns for her husband. Constantine, always the chain-smoking con man and magician, might actually be buried six feet under. But then, who is the person standing in front of Epiphany’s doorstep? Epiphany wants to believe Constantine found some way to come back from the dead. As one last trick is played, angels and demons battle for Constantine’s soul.

Peter Milligan keeps the heavily-driven plot running at full speed, adding so many plot twists, sudden re-appearances, and last-minute surprises. Just when you think you know where the story is going, Milligan pulls the rug out. This is the type of storytelling that has made the previous “Hellblazer” stories such fantastic reads.

Even though this is the final issue, Milligan isn’t steering for a tear-jerking finale. Yes, Milligan does bring back fan-favorites, but he doesn’t overstay their good-byes. This is about giving Constantine the proper bloody sendoff, the type this anti-hero deserves. Milligan closes up loose threads, while providing an ending that is questionable and fitting at the same time. I had to reread the ending twice, not because it was bad, but it was a surprising direction Milligan took.

Artists Giuseppe Camuncoli and Stefano Landini make this an emotional roller-coaster for Epiphany. The theme about Epiphany’s growth is whether she can live a life without Constantine. Camuncoli and Landini focus on her emotional facial reactions, as she is always on the verge of tearing up. I found the scene between Epiphany and Constantine’s ghost very touching. Given a second chance to say good-bye, they are trying to share one last cigarette.

Camuncoli and Landini also pay special attention to the backgrounds, focusing on the rainy and cloudy atmosphere of the British locations. There is a lot of detail to the London Eye, the less-crowded streets at nighttime, and to some seedy nightclubs. In one of the backgrounds, Constantine arrives at a cemetery where a gravestone is shaped like a grand piano.

Readers will not be disappointed as “Hellblazer” #300 reaches its conclusion. I started reading “Hellblazer” when I picked up, “Dangerous Habits.” My personal favorites of “Hellblazer” are Warren Ellis’ “Haunted,” and Brian Azzarello’s “Hard Time,” which is an unforgettable tale of Constantine’s stint in prison. I am interested in seeing what writers Jeff Lemire, Ray Fawkes, and artist Renato Guedes will do with “Constantine” #1.

4/5 Skulls

Reviewed by Jorge Solis