Saturday, January 28, 2017

Comic Book Review: The Hellblazer #6

By: Jerry Montgomery
January 28, 2017

The Hellblazer #6
“The Poison Truth, Pt. 6”

Written by: Simon Oliver
Art by: Pia Guerra

The story thus far – John Constantine once again outsmarted one of Hell’s denizens,  the Demon Nybbas. He  did so riskily, gambling with millions of souls who inhabit London and gambling on the fact that a young psychic by the name of Mercury,  didn’t hate him enough to help him out one last time. Throw in the Swamp Thing to call in a favor to Constantine to help find the new Avatar of the Rot,  Abby Arcane, and you can say it’s all in a days work for the con man/mystic.

Since John agreed to honor the favor to Swamp Thing, his supernatural troubles didn’t end with the defeat of Nybbas. As Swamp Thing and Mercury go to investigate the Rot, Constantine visits his old acquaintance,  Clarice Sackville at the Tate Club, an underground gathering place for witches and warlocks and such for information.  Unbeknownst to John however, the danger just lies under the surface,  for a fallen Djinn by the name of Marid has recruited Clarice to aid him in reclaiming the Earth for he and his kind. You see, when the creator made us humans, he cast aside the Djinn to another dimension so that we could call the world our own. Now, Marid, once balanced by his peaceful brother, Adnan (Marid killed him…or did he?), is out to rule once again to save humanity from ourselves.

 Refusing to meet with Clarice ’ s mysterious ally or join with her, Constantine leaves with demonic beings on his tail as well as an angry skinhead bookie who’s sore over a big payout he owes to John from a bet at the horsetrack. In a last ditch effort,  John travels underground to the subway tunnels in search of another one of his mystic pals, who turns out to be burned out and speaking in riddles and nonsense but is able to warn John about the coming Djinn. Meanwhile,  Swamp Thing and Mercury go to the Rot to find Abby. While Mercury explores a doorway in the Rot, Swamp Thing remains there, fighting to avoid being consumed by the beings there to keep the doorway open, so that they can get back to Earth. A narrow escape for all leads them back to one another although Swamp Thing is incapacitated due to his battle within the Rot.  Constantine and a less than enthusiastic Mercury must travel on alone to find Abby and save the world, without knowing if the two are connected or not. Thus begins the John and Mercury roadtrip.

Call “The Poison Truth, Pt.6” , “Roadtrip, Pt.2” since their journey continues on. Along the way, the two hash out each other’s misunderstandings about one another and especially so after Mercury’s mother and John’s one time lover is still alive but committed to Ravenscar Asylum. Now, they travel from the British Isles beneath the English Channel towards Paris, giving Mercury a chance to tell John what she found while in the other dimension while searching for Abby and what horrors lay there in wait. As it turns out,  Adnan, brother of Marid resides there now (He’s not dead!) and reveals the fate of Abby to Mercury. He also tells her that she’s much more that she knows and will only reveal it if she helps him get out of his banishment. Plus, Marid advances his plans of world domination by gathering London’s magicians in an effort to recruit them to his cause.  Before you know it, the train pulls into Paris. It seems Mercury is hiding something.  I guess you’ll have to read and find out what.

The Verdict: Well, the roadtrip continues, so don’t expect much action. This story arc is probably one of the longest I’ve read and it doesn’t seem like it’ll be over any time soon. The issue is a must read for those who have been reading this title from the get-go but probably not so much if you’re jumping on now. The storyteller has maintained an even story though another issue of bantering dialogue could leave a comic book fan asking for something more staggered in there somewhere.  The pencils are ok by Pia Guerra but for a horror/thriller type book, it seems a little too bright with little mystery. I hope the length of the story arc is worth it in the end. For a slow burner of a story, Djinn don’t seem to be that threatening or scary to me. Then again, I never watched any of the Wishmaster movies.

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