John Constantine gets married, but will marriage change him?
Credits & Solicit Info:
John Constantine: Hellblazer #275
'Bloody Carnations' Part Five: 'Confetti and Brimstone'
Written by Peter Milligan
Artwork by Giuseppe Camuncoli, Stefano Landini and Shawn Martinbrough
Unique among the select group of characters who have managed to last over 20 years, John Constantine has been allowed to change, evolve and age in many ways, but essentially, he's still the same shabby scouse magician we met all those years ago in the pages of Swamp Thing, ambling around, fucking women and moving on to the next demon.
Until now, because with this extra special bumper issue of Hellblazer, John Constantine is now a married man. And somehow, this apparent sea-change seems to have left John changed, yet unchanged once again, John may be married to Epiphany Greaves, alchemist daughter of an East-End Crimelord, but he's still the Constantine we know and tolerate. Much of this issue is an attempt to explain how unlike certain other famous characters (Spider-Man and Superman for example), marriage won't serve to warp the Constantine we know beyond all recognition. Milligan has set John up with almost the perfect woman, someone who will accept a wedding ring forged by Aleister Crowley, someone who doesn't mind finding the heart of a Succubus in the fridge. She's not going to be a nagging thorn in John's freedom, she'll be right alongside him. Epiphany is a really strong character, and I look forward to seeing what is next for her and John.
What with this being an anniversary issue, we get the return of some classic Hellblazer characters, chief among them being Kit Ryan from Garth Ennis' run, among others it was weird to see these characters come back, as most writers don't really look back when they take over the book, the only character to stick around has been Chas, but this was a Wedding, so it was nice as well, and it was refreshing to see Milligan not dwell too much on the past, we're moving to the future here, although it looks like the return of Gemma Constantine will be a factor in the book going forward.
The art for this issue came from Giuseppe Camuncoli, who is probably not everybody's idea of a Hellblazer artist, he has a cartoony style that at first glance doesn't really mesh with the dark world of Constantine, but I really like his work, it's different, and really, with Hellblazer, it's better to expect the unexpected.
Throughout his run, Peter Milligan has been getting away with some really interesting stuff that nobody really noticed, he took John Constantine to some truly dark, almost villainous places, his attempts to resurrect his ex-Girlfriend Phoebe really stretched how far you can like John. And then you had the arc where he implied the Conservative Party were an evil Cult, that's controversy for you that nobody noticed. That freedom is the brilliant thing about Hellblazer. In Captain America, a single panel got the Tea-Party sending Ed Brubaker death threats, Hellblazer is free to be truly subversive and different, and to really change stuff, Milligan has really put his stamp on Constantine, he's now married, and he's now missing a thumb, but he still remains our John. And this remains a highly recommended read.
Review by: Niam Suggitt