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Constantine #4

Written by: Laura Hong-Tuason, CC2K Comics Editor

John Constantine is a very busy man. It’s difficult for him not to be when everyone wants him dead all the time. That’s why in issue #4, he’s decided to take the day off… and see some friends.

Writers: Ray Fawkes and Jeff Lemire
Illustrator: Fabiano Neves

John has a way of getting himself into the worst situations possible. I feel every time I open up the first page of “Constantine”, he’s being held down by lackeys and waiting to be killed by the big man. Of course that’s an overstatement as we’re only 4 issues in, but it’s a good thing. Getting into situations like these says a lot about his character and I’m enjoying every minute of it.

With that said, a villain named Papa Midnite has taken John captive. To understand how John got where he has, the narrative takes us three hours prior to his capture. If you’ve read #1-3, he’s just returned from traveling around the world finding the pieces of Croydon’s Compass, and keeping it away from The Cult of the Cold Flame. This issue is a filler, with John following his landlord Dotty’s suggestion to slow down, get some drinks, and visit his friends. So that’s what he does, but in the “John Constantine” kind of way.

Like all fillers nothing actually happens. Still, the issue is a fun read as Fawkes defines for us readers what “visiting friends” really means to John. While John tries to avoid or resist trouble, trouble still manages to find him everywhere he goes and in every way possible. However being who he is, he takes down each problem strategically and nonchalantly, qualities I personally like in this new incarnation of John Constantine. He’s a cunning character, always staying 10 steps ahead.

Without spoiling too much, it appears he’s building alliances to go up against The Cult of the Cold Flame. There is nothing more on what The Cult is up to, but let’s hope Fawkes and Lemire get to it soon. Zatanna makes a guest appearance in the issue, providing us some insight on how John deals with his relationships, and hinting at the upcoming Trinity War.

Renato Guedes takes a break from art duties, with Fabiano Neves stepping in. Both artists have similar styles, therefore this issue’s art didn’t take away from the story. I like consistency, as well as Neves’ and Guedes’ gritty and sly, but tired-eye take on John Constantine. It suits him.

Overall, I’m enjoying what Fawkes and Lemire are giving us in “Constantine”. I’ve never read Hellblazer (although I will soon), so I don’t have a means for comparison. Though I think it’s for the best as I can appreciate the current title for what it is, and not for what it isn’t. Don’t you agree?