Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Hellblazer #4

This looks like a cover for The Watchtower. "Top Ten Tips For Asking Jesus To Keep Your Tie From Getting Caught In Your Bicycle Chain."

• This issue begins with John Constantine tied up next to Chas. Well fuck that. My favorite part of kidnapping stories is when they tie the person to the chair! I can't get enough of amateurs tying ridiculous knots that you know will never hold! One time, I saw a kidnapper tie someone with a few slipped round turns! Ridiculous! Or, like in this comic book, when they tie two people together back to back and think that's going to hold! People are squishy! You can generate a lot of slack just by puffing out your belly when you're being tied! Then, once everything seems taut and in place, you suck in your belly, deflate your lungs, collapse your ribcage, and voila! You're free! Idiots.

• Constantine knows the bookie thugs from school. Apparently they're racist assholes. Come on, Oliver! Not all bookies are racist violent assholes! Some are just violent assholes! Although I probably shouldn't assume that Simon Oliver is commenting on all bookie thugs just by his characterization of this one. Although a large number of citizens did vote for Brexit due to their fear of foreigners coming into the country, so maybe this guy's racist tendencies are less because he's a bookie and more just because he's a working class Brit.

• I'm not slagging off Brits! I'm an American! We have even more racist working class and president elects than they do! Also more racist everything elses, like whatever you call the other classes in America that aren't working class. First and business?

• The racist bookie wants John to teach him how to pick horses before he blows John's head off with his shotgun. That seems dangerous. If I knew somebody who could do real magic, I don't think I'd try to force them to teach me a spell. They might teach me a spell that causes me to not feel when I have to take a shit anymore! And I'd have the added embarrassment that I cast it on myself!

• Constantine sends the bookie, White Boy, out to get some magical supplies. He's just stalling until the genies show up. This is like a movie by that guy who married Madonna! You know the guy! He made that heist movie called Vagina, and that other one, Two Smoking Barrels and a Microphone!

• So that was the first quarter of the comic, spent in Chas's kitchen arguing with a racist jerko. The next quarter will be about Swamp Thing as he waits for Mercury to return from her wormhole adventures. He's probably going to fight a bunch of Rotlings during this part. It's probably a good time to go to the bathroom. All you'll miss out on is a poorly choreographed fight between a plant and a decaying pile of ooze.

Hurry back! It's almost over!

• Constantine had better hurry up and get out of the chair he's tied to because Swamp Thing isn't doing well battling The Rot inside The Rot. But right now, John's too busy trying to convince Chas that Chas isn't going to die even though every person who ever winds up in a comic book with Constantine winds up dead. Well, maybe not every person. But a lot of them! Although most of those that die, John didn't rely upon for transportation.

• By chanting a bunch of Latin words, Constantine stalls long enough for the genies to arrive. At least I think the words are Latin. They look like the kind of words I've seen inscribed on pretentious marble structures.

• The Djinn arrive and kill all of the racist assholes because racist assholes aren't allowed to live happily ever after in stories. It would be irresponsible of a writer to portray a world where being racist and an asshole (I mean, a major asshole and not just a minor asshole!) brings you success and good fortune! I suppose there are stories where the racist pretty much wins in the end, like Othello. But right up front, the author makes sure the audience knows that the story is a tragedy and that everybody should be sad when Othello loves so well that he murders Ophelia. Unless it was Desdemona who he murdered. Or Cleopatra.

• Constantine shows up at Mercury's farm just as she and Swamp Thing return from The Rot. Mercury didn't find Abby but she found traces of Djinn, just like Constantine. So now, after four long issues, Mercury is going to be a main character! My boner is celebrating.

The Review!
The majority of this story takes place with the main character tied to a chair in a dirty London kitchen. When the violent action does take place, it happens off-panel and in the dark. Sure, there's a scene or two where Swamp Thing battles some Rot Monsters but I think that was thrown in to compensate for the lack of action elsewhere. The thing is, Swamp Thing's bit was the worst part of the story. I wouldn't have minded if it was left out and replaced by a few more pages of Chas and Constantine discussing how dolphins are total bastards. I'm now a fan of Simon Oliver's writing. And I'm lucky enough that one of my favorite artists, Moritat, is providing the scenery. Four stars! Or whatever.

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