Monday, December 1, 2014

Constantine #19

Remember when Alan Dean Foster wasn't writing novels based on movies and was writing those Spellsinger books? No? Nobody?

I hate my stupid self from last month, writing about my feline friend Judas! Because Constantine #18 was the last commentary I wrote while Judas was still alive and next on my stack is Batman which is the first commentary I wrote after he died. I need to find a box of tissues before I reread my Batman commentary after this! Maybe I'll just leave that one unedited! I think it's too soon for me to reread what I wrote! Writing is stupid! Our feelings weren't meant to be remembered! They're meant to get past and then bottled up and then repressed and then never thought about again while we play golf or video games or gamble or drink or have sex with dangerously strange strangers! I'm using lots of exclamation points because I'm nervous about revisiting the experience! Help!

Constantine is currently on Earth-2 where cats live forever and only people die. Lots and lots of people die! All the time! Currently, Constantine is trying not to die at all. Not even a little bit even! He's just trying to find himself. Ha ha! That's a good joke. Probably the only joke on Earth-2 since the laughter died years ago. Unless the laughter was just locked in a stasis chamber and only died recently when Replacement Batman shot it in the face.

I'm not even on an alternate Earth dealing with alternate people and I still think like this.

Constantine says something about being "wood friendly" but I refuse to scan that panel because I'm not an immature asshole that giggles at erection innuendos. I'm starting to think that I only ever enjoyed John Constantine when he was swearing because this book has been a huge let down for quite awhile. And the television show is a bit of a snoozefest. It reminds me of the first season of The X-files in that the stories are fairly one dimensional and a bit unimpressive. The huge difference though is that The X-files had two characters with great chemistry and an obvious connection right from the outset. Mulder was a believer in conspiracies and aliens while Scully was the rational half. Scully was a believer in God and the afterlife while Mulder was the spiritual skeptic. Mulder had a huge phone while Scully had huge shoulder pads. Mulder had a penis; Scully had a vagina. They just completed each other! Constantine has a hallucinating street urchin and an immortal cab driver. That sounds more entertaining than it's been so far!

As John tries to get to Liverpool to find John-2, his car is hit by a meteor and he loses consciousness. But before he succumbs to a succumbubus, Doctor Fate speaks to him from the great somewhere else and says, "John! John! I can see your house from here!"

Well, you see, Doctor Fate is flying so high that he can look through the dimensional bar...oh, never mind!

Continuing to Liverpool, John finds a car that passed him earlier with a child and her parents. The parents are still in the car but their brains are not still in them. But the girl is missing. And even though she's not real, he gets out to look for her anyway. Because he doesn't want to succumb to the succumbubus! He wants to care! He wants to feeeeeeel!

That was a cheery side trip!

John eventually makes it to Liverpool where he finds his old house (not burned down years ago!) and he finds his old self (I mean his duplicate John-2 self!) and he finds his old friend Chaz (I think!) and he finds his old father, Dad (alive!)

And, well, that's it. It was a story about a journey! A journey home! That's the most important kind of journey because it's always so disappointing. I haven't been back to my home town in about four years because it's just so depressing to go back. I always think of that song by Poe, "Spanish Doll," and the lines, "This place feels so unfamiliar yet I know it well. I think I used to belong here...". And so on! It wrecks me every time.

Actually, I really don't know what that story was about. Not giving up? Not being taken by the succumbubus? Running out of cigarettes?

Constantine #19 Rating: This comic doesn't fascinate or intrigue me like it should. It should intrigue me like the following bit of prose by Alan Moore (from the September 1984 "Meanwhile...") intrigues me:

This is the place.

This is the place where even the brave men with pig-iron in their hearts ran out of steam, and nerve, and concrete, saying "this far we go. No further." The last outpost of the Jurassic, where the anemic rocks still ring with the death-shrieks of the mastodons. This is the edge of the twentieth century.

It was here that the Emperor Napoleon faltered and lost faith with the New World. He sold it to Thomas Jefferson, 909,130 square miles of it, for fifteen million dollars, and the United States doubled in size overnight. But there are certain territories which, though they may be sold, can never truly be owned. There are certain territories that are the property of something older than ourselves.

Berries the color of iodine glisten amongst the viscous shadows. Insects of poisonous beauty couple in the damp, rot-scented air. Louisiana swelters beneath an icebound moon.

This is the place.

The elements blur together dangerously here: solid land dissolves away to water; water thickens to mud and then to firm earth. The inviting meadow of hyacinths will part if stepped upon, allowing access to the deep and stagnant darknesses beneath. The waters rise, establishing a slime-line on the bolls of the closest trees. The waters drop. Divorced from the ocean and its implacable schedule, the tides here are alien and glacially slow. Fresh mudbanks erupt from nowhere, brown and glistening. They remain for a week and then melt, sliding away to blossom elsewhere. The waters rise. The waters drop. The Swamp is breathing, in great, humid lungfuls.

Lovers came here once, in white clothes that became streaked with green. After an hour they went away again to lead largely happy lives, leaving crushed fern, crumpled tissues, and one third of a bottle of Sangria. The Swamp devoured it, without haste.

Two men with eyes as dull and flat as nail-heads came, leaving behind them five cases of whiskey and one dead man. The whiskey they returned for after a fortnight. This was long ago. Nobody ever found out.

And there was a teenage girl who also came, her despair so fierce and black that the midges would not gather to her. The shopping bag in her hand contained something small and cold and still and a stone to weight it down with. Her heart contained the same things, but after a different fashion. The first she let slip beneath the iridescent scum. The second she took away and carried with her always.

The Swamp devoured them, devoured them all, without haste, without discrimination.

This is the place.

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