The Hellblazer #23 // Review
John Constantine, otherwise known as the Hellblazer, has gotten himself into another heap of trouble, no surprise there, but with the help from the Huntress perhaps he can stop the coming demonic forces. The Hellblazer issue #23 is written by Tim Seeley, penciled by Davide Fabbri, colored by Carrie Strachan, and lettered by Sal Cipriano. Until this point, a demon named Nergal has been conspiring with the Day family, three brothers who used to be the biggest mobsters in London about twenty years ago before the death of two of them. Now, after all this time, Nergal has reunited the Day brothers, and, by means of human vessels, brings more demons from Perdition to London.
Nergal has brought together different demons from Perdition, and now has to manage a way to keep the portal open through Burke Day, a man that died two decades ago who’s now possessing Detective Ames. The only solution to Nergal’s problem is virgin blood. Helena Bertinelli starts a brawl against the demons wearing mobster meat suits, as she made a promise to prevent this apocalypse from coming about. While in a desperate attempt to prevent this anti-baptism, Constantine forges a plan with an old fling of his, the demon Blythe, in hopes to send all of the unwelcome visitors back to their purgatory.
Seeley tells a story that drudges up some of London’s murky past and merges with it nemeses of Constantine. It’s no surprise he has so many, and that’s a point that is made through the story, as seemingly almost every demon has been screwed over by John and most of them want him for themselves. Seeley also weaves in touches to John’s love life, as he reconnects with a couple former lovers. Through and through, it’s a rather classic Constantine tale, one that just seems redundant at this point. Seeley keeps the tale humorous as John is forced to work with one of the “capes and tights crew” as he likes to call them. The relationship between Helena and John is more relaxed, which is in Helena’s favor, as John doesn’t share Batman’s no killing rule.
The art in this issue was provided by David Fabbri, and, for the most part, it was rather bland and lacked almost any sort of finite detail in the background or characters themselves. A solace came in the moments when demons were shown possessing the humans. They seemed horrific and creative as demonic features protruded from the human bodies, designs showing a uniqueness in each demon. The colors were accurate as to what they were portraying, but also rather rudimentary, and, being a story about demons and mobs, perhaps it could have been a little more grotesque and unforgiving.
Overall, the issue ushers the story forward into its final chapter, leaving a nice cliffhanger to keep you thinking about what will happen next. However, it’s something readers have seen before with Constantine and, by know, everyone knows his soul isn’t worth two bits. “The Good Old Days” will be the end of the Hellblazer series for DC Rebirth. Surely he’ll most likely keep an appearance in Justice League Dark and Batman Damned, but this may be the end of his solo series for a while.