This trade was basically three separate storylines.In the first, there s a bit of a convulated tale where Constantine meets his girlfriend s parents and finds out about some scheme the devil has to hypnotize people using their tv sets Or something like that I didn t care as much for this one It was set in the states which was a change, but not enough to save it.Then we get the end of Paul Jenkins run, which brings back a lot of Constantine s past sins and provides a nice set up for the Ennis storyline which followed.The next storyline was SON OF MAN written by Garth Ennis, and I found this one much better Years ago a gangster had his son killed in a hit and run accident, and demanded Constantine bring the boy back to life It wasn t possible, so John did the only thing he could conjure a demon to possess the kid s body and make it look like he d came back to life So now it s twelve years later and the boy hasn t aged physically but he s a demon, literally So John has that to deal withOverall the Son of Man storyline saved the book The art wasn t the best, but still another good volume overall. Goodbye to Paul Jenkins Hellblazer run, it was fun Other than all the crushing depression and all that is.Volume 12 starts with Up the Down Staircase which is sorta meh other than my warm feelings towards Dani and my growing desire to start a blog that just features John in front of No Smoking signs.Next up is How to Play With Fire in which Ellie sort of gets revenge I d prefer revenge to be honest I liked Ellie and she got screwed over, no pun intended by writers and John If you want me to root against him a little well deserved revenge for being a back stabbing asshole goes a long ways This is Hellblazer though, and there are no winners, only losers Son of Man is an Ennis stand alone run, and although it s a fine little piece of disgusting sadism it is badly placed in this collection choreographically The ending of How to Play With Fire butts up very badly in tone and life placement with the start of Son of Man, so much so that I think reading Son of Man first might be the better choice Fortunately for me I ve already read all this stuff so it s just nice to own it.Random Note When I was attempting to explain Hellblazer to my husband I chose 4 stories to sum up the experience for him each in two sentence or shorter One of them was Son of Man The others were Hunger, Feast of Friends, Good Intentions and Counting to 10 I believe I summed up Counting to 10 by saying And then there s this one, it s my favorite, where he goes to a Laundromat. This was an awesome contrast between the ending of Paul Jenkins run and the beginning of Garth Ennis run on Hellblazer Paul s UP THE DOWN STAIRCASE HOW TO PLAY WITH FIRE were mostly haunting, somber, a little labyrinthian even They continued with JC s downward spiral as he alienates everyone around him and culminates in him dealing with the devil Whereas Garth picks up from where Paul stops, his portrayal of JC versus the demon he raised and supplanted into the body of a five year old, who becomes a London Crime boss, is rather entertaining Lewd, vulgar, and full of that raw edginess you d expect from the creator of PREACHER.All in all it was an amazing collection. This volume features the last eight issues of Paul Jenkins excellent run, and a 5 parter by former Hellblazer writer Garth Ennis Sean Phillips, Jenkins penciller for the bulk of his time on the title, is replaced by Warren Pleece, who had previously done a fill in issue, and Ennis story is illustrated by newcomer John Higgins Spoilers below In Up the Down Staircase Constantine joins Dani on a trip to the States to spend Thanksgiving holiday with her family, and there are some comically uncomfortable moments as he tries in vain to adjust to the culture shock But the real story begins subtly, as there are indications even before they get off the plane that things are off people are behaving strangely and aggressively to be perfectly honest, this weirdness isn t addressed adequately, so it s difficult to summarize But the point is, Dani s family has also been affected negatively by this strange malaise, and tensions are running high in the house While Dani goes off skiing instead of facing the problem, Constantine is left to deal with it, and once again crosses paths with the First of the Fallen But this time, the Devil doesn t really have much to do with it it s the media, the television, the coarsening of the culture Over exposure But he s certainly having loads of fun watching it all happen.Constantine figures out that the problem, at least for Dani s family, is originating with Dani s grandfather, and with the help of a spirit channeling friend, delves into the mind and history of the old man This was a nice bit we get to see the man s full and rich life, all the key experiences that shaped him as a black man in America and the world, all the life he lived before ultimately winding up a tired, unthinking old man in front of a television This solves the problem somehow Okay As Constantine says to us, the readers, A remarkably stupid concept, mind But good enough for this friggin story To be fair, I was a bit drunk when I read this so there is a possibility I missed some important details More important than the actual story, though, is the subplot that sets up the next and last Jenkins story While Constantine is busy in the States, back in England an acquaintance of his named Gavin is tormented by the death of his girlfriend Pam many years previous Through the very clever use of various false memories, Pam s ghost plants seeds of despair in Gavin s mind, until he ultimately decides Constantine must payAt the end of Up the Down Staircase, the Devil having the time of his life watching Constantine squirm meets our man at the airport, and happily gives him his business card, saying, in effect, Call me Trust me, you re gonna want to very soon And this leads us directly into How to Play with Fire, Jenkins grand finale Gavin continues to have changing memories of the events leading up to Pam s death as Pam s ghost continues to mess with his head Turns out the ghost isn t Pam after all It s the demoness Ellie Cool, right Since she can t kill Constantine see my review of In the Line of Fire she s decided to take a less direct route to her revenge Ellie begins to work on the hearts and minds of Constantine s friends and family, turning them against him, and Constantine becomes and isolated from anyone who can help Ellie s coup de grace happens when she arranges for Dani to catch Constantine sleeping with someone else He isn t, but hey, what else is Dani going to think when she walks in and finds her boyfriend naked in bed with another woman The woman is Ellie, of course, and Constantine is innocent, but good luck explaining that The demoness reveals to Gavin that he alone is responsible for Pam s death, leaving him wallowing in despair that eventually ends with suicide She continues to chip away at Constantine s friends hearts, until Constantine finally does the unthinkable instead of wheeling and dealing, instead of putting his own self preservation front and center as usual, he sacrifices everything for the safety of his friends He sells his soul to the First of the Fallen, free and clear, no scams, no tricks It s a huge moment, and a turning point for Constantine as a human being Because of his deal with Constantine, the Devil can now find Ellie, who has been hiding from him for years in the farthest reaches of Hell In a cruel move, the Devil poses as her lost angel lover long enough to capture her and consign her to endless torment Remember that old man in the woods with the tarot cards from the beginning of In the Line of Fire Turns out it WAS God after all, or at least a manifestation of Him Constantine visits him again, pressures him to remove the evil darkness lingering over his friends God does so, knowing that once Constantine dies, he could eventually wind up being a serious enemy in Hell The last few pages of How to Play with Fire are devastating Constantine meets with Dani, deliberately breaks her heart and drives her away He meets Rich in the park, long enough for Rich to inform him they can no longer be friends, because Rich as the reincarnation of King Arthur, remember has to protect himself and his family Constantine doesn t argue The last thing we see is a full page shot of John Constantine, sitting alone in the park, emotionally destroyed Nobody died Except me I found this to be a tremendously moving wrap up to Jenkins run Constantine shows real humanity, accepting his enormous loss for the good of his friends hell, the supporting cast in Jenkins stories are than friends, really In Garth Ennis run, we had a cast of friends and mates and pub pals, but what Jenkins gives us is like a family You really feel Constantine s loss at the end, even though everyone survives or less intact except poor old Gavin Ennis Constantine tried to be normal , but failed Jenkins Constantine tried to be good , and actually succeeded, but the price he paid was equally devastating Warren Pleece s art grew on me over the course of these eight issues, by the way I missed Sean Phillips at first, but Pleece was a good replacement, using much the same color scheme and layout design, and he draws a helluva First of the Fallen.If you re reading this volume for the first time, I would strongly recommend waiting a day or two before moving on to the Garth Ennis 5 parter that wraps it up It s kinda like you re sitting there, contemplating the intense emotional roller coaster Jenkins put you through, you re having a smoke and thinking it over, feeling somewhat melancholy, and then Garth Ennis comes busting in the door naked and wielding a chainsaw and screaming dick jokes at you Don t get me wrong, Son of Man is an excellent story, but jesus, the tone change is jarring as hell So way back in 82, Constantine was pulled against his will out of Ravenscar by the Cooper crime family of London, to bring back to life Cooper s dead son, which even in magick circles is considered impossible Under threat of harm to his sister and niece, Constantine instead called forth a demon to inhabit the boy s dead body, no one the wiser but it was an arrangement that would eventually come home to roost Now, many years later, Chas inadvertently pulls Constantine back into it, and our man has to face up to what he s done the demon, 21 years old but still with the body of a child, is sparking a gang war in a bid to take over London and eventually give rise to a new evil religion The end of the story is a bloodbath, with the demon assuming it s true form think HR Geiger Alien, but with a six foot dick and slaughtering or less everyone Constantine and Chas are cornered, but Constantine pulls out an ace card by threatening to squash the skull of the demon baby the elder Cooper has just shat out The demon relents and vanishes, and Constantine and Chas are saved Ennis breaks the fourth wall frequently in this one, having Constantine talk to us, the readers, explaining this plot point or that, going on minor rants about children or hippies or what have you It was fun, but I d hate it if Hellblazer was that nod and wink all the time Son of Man is an outrageously over the top story, very funny in Ennis teenage humor way and worth reading I ve said before Ennis wasn t as mature a writer as Jenkins or Delano, but that s fine Not everything Hellblazer story has to be devastating or deep I m giving this one 5 stars, because the Ennis story was fun enough but mostly because Jenkins wrap up was tremendously moving. This trade begins with several great issues and a finale from Paul Jenkins run on the title, but the real star here is the five issue arc by Garth Ennis, Son of Man.Son of Man is a horror and occult riddled mob story set in London that tells of John s connection to the Cooper family a story he hoped would never rear its demonic head again Unfortunately for Constantine, his best buddy Chas landed in some hot water with the mob family by association that opens up the old can of worms, once again threatening mankind and therefore requiring John s help Not only is the reader treated to several fantastic examples of Glenn Fabry s patented too realistic covers and remarkable illustration from John Higgins, but the story is perfectly paced, disgustingly occult, full of great characters good and bad alike , and absolutely loaded to the brim with hilarious and witty dialogue la Garth Ennis. The continuing adventures of everyone s favourite utter bastard take place in this next volume of Hellblazer.We open with the weakest story, Up The Down Staircase, which spins its wheels for three issues before sort of concluding for a story starring one of John s few recurring foes, the First of the Fallen, it s pretty lacklustre.But Paul Jenkins pulls out all the stops in his final arc, the titular How To Play With Fire which sees all of John s misfortunes catch up with him and all of his friends desert him, just when he needs them the most as Buer and Ellie return to plague him It draws on all of Jenkins s past stories, and is a fitting conclusion for Jenkins and artist Warren Pleece to bow out on.Finally, Garth Ennis returns for a five issue semi fill in as John and Chas find themselves to embroiled in an East End gangster war, with a deadly demonic under current Even without Ennis s name on this, you d know it was him writing the level of depravity is evident, but it s all in the usual Constantine flare Despite one dud of a story, Constantine s misadventures continue to be compelling reading, and DC are showing no sign of stopping when it comes to these collections, with at least another two and hopefully on the way Bring em on Good stuff Happy to see Ennis back I really dislike the main illustrator in this set, though He draws the worst eyes I ve ever seen If they aren t ridiculously large, they re disproportionate and crossed Really ruined some scenes. Just skip this volume Seriously, just forget about all the characters Jenkins has created for now because it doesn t matter Also, the new artist Warren Pleece has a cartoonish style and likes to draw big eyes I don t think this mixes well with gritty, occult stories, but, whatever, we re skipping it anyway 121 124 Up the Down Staircase 3 5 4 5 for main story, 2 5 for intrusive next story setup Okay, the volume isn t all bad Constantine takes a trip to America to meet Dani s family and gets involved with another of the schemes of the First of the Fallen Each issue begins with this guy who accidentally killed his wife, but they don t matter in this story, only the next one, which makes their appearance jarring The stuff really worth reading is about Dani s family and the escalation of conflicts and the fallout caused by miscommunication I really would have preferred a three parter, followed by a one shot of guy with dead wife, but I suppose I wouldn t feel that way if I enjoyed the next story 125 128 How to Play with Fire 2 5What Wait, why John Constantine gives up Chantielle from Ennis run returns to drive all the characters close to Constantine away, so John takes the easy way out and gives in Yeah, all the character setup for a typical, end of run character housecleaning, but without any Constantine cleverness So, yeah, skip this volume, none of the characters end up really mattering The only thing that I can think of is that Ennis wanted a down on his luck Constantine, and the prospect of getting a series defining writer back made DC execs salivate If that s the case, IT WAS NOT WORTH IT 129 133 Son of Man 1 5Garth Ennis thinks children are horrible things doomed to repeat the mistakes of their parents Isn t that funny Ugh, Ennis and I do not share a sense of humor This story beings with Constantine explaining his dislike of children to us, the reader, like all great Constantine stories While this sins of the father idea could lead to an interesting story, Ennis decides to make it full of puerile puns and gross out gags The story also doesn t really have anything to do with people raising kids Well, rasing them from the dead, but that s not what the phrase really refers to Oh, and I think the big bad of this arc either escapes, is killed due to the failure of his plan somehow, or gets eaten by the panels Ennis doesn t care, so I really shouldn t There is some okay Constantine Chas stuff, hence the one star and not zero or half, but it does not make the arc worth reading Ugh, I m glad I don t ahve to read another of Ennis Hellblazer arcs If you have agreed with me at all, in any of my prior reviews, at least skip this story.Constanine, now with less cleverness and charm The series is seriously running on fumes this volume, and I m gland the famous Warren Ellis who made Tony Stark relevant again in the 2000s is put in a place to do so. Amazing E Book, Hellblazer, Volume 12 How To Play With Fire Author Paul Jenkins This Is Very Good And Becomes The Main Topic To Read, The Readers Are Very Takjup And Always Take Inspiration From The Contents Of The Book Hellblazer, Volume 12 How To Play With Fire, Essay By Paul Jenkins Is Now On Our Website And You Can Download It By Register What Are You Waiting For Please Read And Make A Refission For You The first arc is a good opportunity for the author to show his views on how America perceives war in contrast to its true atrocities, how certain people take advantage of other people s anger to take their money in a frenzy of consumerism and how racism has affected humanity The second arc will leave John a lonely, depressed mess, but he will somehow be content that it s for the best Ennis writes the last arc and the black humor is splendid from beginning to end, in stark contrast with Jenkins run The breaking of the fourth wall adds even fun to the story The characters are, as always, extremes of human personalities, from the sex freaks and the violent madmen, to the deadly demons and the preagnant men.John and his girlfriend Dani travel to her family in New York for Thanksgiving The First of the Fallen is also aroud inflaming the spirits of everyone in New York, including Dani s family view spoiler It turns out he isn t really to blame for people s tendency to take the easy way which ultimately leads them to their destruction Limiting television time and consumerism in favor of a fishing trip or a walk through the mall is the solution here, but sadly it s not a trend for the majority, so the end is still coming hide spoiler
Paul Jenkins is a British comic book writer He has had much success crossing over into the American comic book market Primarily working for Marvel Comics, he has had a big part shaping the characters of the company over the past decade.
- 304 pages
- Hellblazer, Volume 12: How to Play with Fire
- Paul Jenkins
- 06 December 2018 Paul Jenkins