DC Comics 2016
Written by Simon Oliver
Illustrated by Moritat
Coloured by Andre Szymanowicz & Moritat
Lettered by Sal Cipriano
Yes i’m a little bit behind because DC doesn’t really work with reviewers and with everything I’ve had going on this is the first chance I’ve had to pick this up. From Vertigo to the short lived television series John Constantine has become a staple in the comic book world and his edgy, sarcastic and seemingly selfish nature is what we’ve come to expect from him. Only that and the fact that underneath all the bluster is a man who cares he’s just loathe to admit, seem weak or think he can be taken advantage of. Simon has captured him perfectly in these few issues that I’ve read so far.
The opening is superb as the Swamp Thing says people change and not everything is John’s fault no matter how hard you wish it were otherwise. This is a great bit of characterisation as these two characters get to know one another and discuss their complicated relationship with John. I actually like that while Swamp Thing knows him for who he is he’s still got a soft spot and trust for what John says he’ll do. I’m not sure you’ll find a stronger endorsement than he backing him up, even while admitting he’s a “total wanker.”
There’s a part of me that adores the fact we see John on the loo, though really a tank top sigh alas. There’s this look on his face that Moritat gives him where you see he’s tired and the dialogue between him and Chas well it’s strong in that he knows he’s on borrowed time and needs to shite or get off the pot. Again the characterisation that Simon brings us is exceptional and while you want to feel for John and his subtle attempts at showing friendship and kindness is masked by that outward demeanor he uses to protect himself really shines.
John’s waited long enough for the other shoe to drop and wearing out his welcome with Chas means it’s time to face the music. So we get to see more of his, well let’s call it his supporting cast, underworld contacts. Clarice Sackville is an intriguing character and after hearing his assessment of her and everything that goes down during their chat well I will say that I do hope she’s a recurring figure in these pages. This does lead to something along the lines of what he was expecting only it’s coming in a totally different path. While he has no idea the true nature or intent it’s fun to see him try to employ all those tricks he’s known for in trying to elude those in pursuit. I can’t wait to see where this is leading him cause I know it’s going to be incredibly good.
Moritat is an extremely talented individual. I loved his run on Jonah Hex and his take on John and company is equally as impressive. His depiction of John has all the right notes from when he’s being humble to cocky & arrogant or just that sly dog he brings this mix of sex, charm and trouble to his looks that makes him seem irresistible. Plus there’s no denying his eye for storytelling through page layouts, angles, perspective and his of backgrounds. They really flesh out the story extraordinarily well.
There’s a fresh sense of excitement, adventure and intrigue in this newest series that has been missing. It’s great to see when the right combination of creators unite on a series and infuse it with that blend that makes you eager for more, especially when the series is so new.