An exciting new chapter, Constantine #1 begins a new supernatural adventure for the occult con artist. Not too hard to follow, this new series doesn’t start off where the “Hellblazer” run ended. The chain-smoking British anti-hero has set his sights on New York City, where he can continue playing his particular brand of black magic and crooked deals.
WRITTEN BY: Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes
ART BY: Renato Guedes
PUBLISHER: DC Comics
RELEASE: March 20, 2013
John Constantine kicks off just where you’d expect to find him, drinking way too much at a seedy bar. Just when he is about to leave, Constantine is warned that an old friend is looking for him. Covered in sweat and wrecked with fear, Chris believes he is being pursued by demonic forces. With the information locked away in his head, Chris thinks he may know the hidden location of Croydon’s Compass. Unfortunately for Constantine, he has heard of the mysterious Croydon’s Compass before. The supernatural instrument was assembled to bring about murder and cannibalism. The only way Constantine will be able to protect Chris and find the compass is to cheat the system.
Writers Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes understand who Constantine really is, which helps their characterization. They know Constantine is not a caped crusader, nor a superhero. At his central core, Constantine is a scheming con artist. For his own benefit, Constantine tricks and manipulates people into doing what he wants. The first issue delivers a lot of interesting story arcs that will come up as the series goes along. Constantine might have to battle evil magicians, who are even more corrupt with power than he is. Though Constantine isn’t as foul-mouthed as he was in “Hellblazer,” that’s doesn’t mean he has lost his edge. This is proof that it takes more than shouting curse words to show everyone just how tough you are.
Starting from scratch, Constantine has moved from the UK to New York City. What I liked about this move is that he is living in a cramped apartment above a pet store. Constantine pays rent to an old lady, who needs his protection from gangs and thieves. Though this storyline has him hopping across the globe, I hope to see more of Constantine’s adventures take place in his personal life.
Readers will feel the creepy vibe and the gritty atmosphere with artist Renato Guedes’ opening splash page. In his eye-catching illustration, we get a peek inside Constantine’s apartment, which is a mess of books, monsters, and artifacts. As if it were a pet fish, Constantine keeps a Lovecraftian creature in a fish tank. In his bookshelves, you can find a two-headed monkey, voodoo dolls, and boxes of cigarettes.
In one of my favorite scenes, Constantine discovers his cup of whiskey has been poisoned. After faking being sick, Constantine throws the female stewardess into the lavatory. Never hesitating, Constantine looks at her and burns her to death with his black magic. The stewardess spontaneously combusts as her bloody skeleton drops to the floor.
This is one helluva way to start “Constantine” #1 and I only hope it gets better. By the end of the issue, readers will learn that you cannot completely trust Constantine. The rest of the New 52 will have trouble getting along with him, which pleases me the most.
Reviewed by – Jorge Solis