Review: Hellblazer: Pandemonium

It’s the 25th anniversary of my favorite character in comics, John Constantine.  In honor of this accomplishment Vertigo has released Pandemonium, and original graphic novel reunited the character with the first writer of his title, Jamie Delano (yes he’s an Alan Moore character, but Moore never wrote him outside of Swamp Thing).

Now Delano was pretty much responsible for making the character the basterd we all know and love today.  Moore’s Constantine was pretty much just a cryptic guy with an unfortunate  habit of getting his friends killed.  Delano gave him the his origins and made him political.  Course he also hasn’t written the character since he was raging against Margaret Thatcher.

Fortunately he’s able to write this as if he never left.  The story, pretty much Constantine goes to Iraq, gives him plenty to work with.  Delano covers the treatment of prisoners, British involvement in the war, the heightened security culture, and life in post invasion Iraq.  He also uses the setting as a means to bring back the demon Nergal, the primary villain of his run on Hellblazer.

Sadly the story stumbles a bit towards the end.  Delano pretty much throws out all of his criticisms of the war, and then when he’s done quickly wraps it up with a cliche gambling with the devil bit.  But then again, this is partly supposed to be an anniversary tale, and that does make a pretty good summation of the character.

Combine all that with career best art from Jock and you’ve got a fantastic work, showing just why this character has lasted so long (not to mention being the only original Vertigo book to last).

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