MrComicBook Reviews Constantine #1
DC seems to have thrown away the “wave” method of releasing new books. Instead, they are just releasing them whenever they feel like it. Constantine is one of those books, and #1 is a decent enough book.
Jeff Lemire and Ray Fawkes dive right into the history of John Constantine and why his character is so interesting. They throw him into a morally ambiguous situation, and the end result won’t please every reader. Constantine #1 acts as a great #1. By the end, Lemire and Fawkes have established exactly who Constantine is as a person. The magic aspect is in full throttle, establishing all the different rules that John has to protect. They come naturally from the story, and are not shoved down the readers throats. The few Hellblazer issues that I have read had a nice blend of humor, emotion, and crazy magic moments. So far, Lemire and Fawkes have nailed that on the head. Seeing as Constantine is British, it would have been nice to see Lemire and Fawkes base him in London, or a surrounding suburb. There are plenty of heroes in New York. Spread the wealth a little bit.
The main problem with Constantine #1 is the massive amount of exposition. It keeps popping up to explain every little aspect of Constantine’s world. Some of the information is brought up well enough, like Sargon the Sorceress and how she got that mantle. But when Constantine goes into monologue mode, describing the Cold Flame cult and who each member is, feels unnecessary. If the character is mentioned or makes a cameo, THEN describe who they are. At the same time, John Constantine has a rich history, and trying to boil that down to a few sentences can be rather hard. It ends up being a double edged sword, and something that writers have a hard time avoiding. Kudos to Lemire and Fawkes not pulling any punches though. They establish a character and then do a gut wrenching thing just as quickly to him.
Renato Guedes’ art never impressed me when he was over at Marvel. Maybe it was that his pencils weren’t on the right book, but they never clicked. But his pencils on Constantine are much better. They fit the creepy, magic filled world of John Constantine. Constantine could use more expression, as he has the same glib look on his face throughout the issue. When Guedes was penciling Marvel books, characters often had weird looking facial expressions, but that seems to have been fixed. The big, magic filled scene looks great. The little ripples that Guedes added to Chris were a nice touch. Marcelo Maiolo uses a great color pallet. He hits the drab world that surrounds Constantine. He’s morally ambiguous, so the colors need to be at both ends of the spectrum. Characters have a weird shine to them though, something that should be fixed soon. Constantine looked rather sweaty on the airplane.
Constantine is off to a good start, even with a few bumps in the road. Lemire, Fawkes, and Guedes have crafted a fun book though, and I’ll be along for the ride (for now)
Constantine #1 gets 3.55