Sunday, January 1, 2017

Comic Book Review: The Hellblazer #5- Swamp Thing

By: Jerry Montgomery
December 29, 2016

The Hellblazer #5
“The PoisonTruth, Pt.  5”

Written by: Simon Oliver
Art by: Pia Guerra

The Poison Truth story arc continues in The Hellblazer #5. The issue opens with dialogue courtesy of Marid, one of the few Djinn, pre-race to man, who escaped eternal banishment from the Creator. Hiding in plain sight amongst the human race, he bided his time to rule once more. That time is now. He explains this all to Clarice Sackville, whom Marid blames for the escape of John Constantine. He is none too happy with that fact, so, she is given a choice. Stand by his side while he “rescues” humanity, or be banished to the dimension the Djinn were sent.

Swamp Thing is down for the count for the moment, after his near-assimilation into the Rot while searching for Abby Arcane, it’s avatar, with the help of Mercury. Constantine, Chas and Mercury are faced with continuing the quest without the power of Swamp Thing as he must regenerate to full strength. After saying their farewells, Constantine, Mercury and Chas set out on a road trip for the nearest train station but the journey turns out to be more. Constantine and Mercury use the time to get to know one another better and air out the past between them, especially what transpired way back in pt. 1 of the story arc, when Mercury aided Constantine in defeating the Demon Nybbas. Particularly angry that he gambled with millions of souls in doing so. Along the way, Mercury directs them towards a surprise detour to Cane Hiil Asylum that dredges up thoughts of Constantine’s own horrible experience while committed in Ravenscar Asylum. The reason? To see Mercury’s mother and John’s one time lover. After this, both are able to overcome any last misgivings about one another and work together.

In the meantime, a rejuvenated Swamp Thing meets with the Parliament of Trees to update them on the missing Avatar of the Rot. It is clear that the Parliament question Swamp Thing’s opinion of the situation due to his past with Abby Arcane and clearly do not agree with his trust of John Constantine to handle the situation. In spite of this, Swamp Thing can see the humor in it and cracks a rare joke. Will John Constantine ever shake his bad reputation?

The Verdict: A must read if you’ve been following the The Poison storyline from the start. There’s really no action in this issue, just a chance for Mercury and John to come together in preparation of what’s to come. Its pretty much all intimate dialogue between the two which I’m sure,  will be relevant in issues to come. The artist has changed from Moritat last issue to new artist, Pia Guerra. I cant say I like the change, but as I said, if you’ve been following the story arc, you cant miss this issue. The artwork just doesn’t seem to catch the mystery and darkness of what Hellblazer has been. Could I go as far to say it looks too cheerful? Anyhow, the writing is still right on by Simon Oliver, so keep reading!

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