Tag Archives: Hellblazer

Ranking DC’s Rebirth: 15 – 11

15
Hellblazer

Simon Oliver & Moritat
Okay, I like the building blocks of this a lot. These creations starting a war is a cool idea and John seems very much in-character. He’s not necessarily the good guy, but basically a selfish asshole who gets by. The Mercury speech was well done and a good point for new readers. I do still wish this was a Vertigo book with this creative team, but I will continue. Those goddamn skull emojis to cover up the cursing is driving me mad though. – MeanOldPig

A lot to like even in the first issue, not the least of which is the table-setting with Swamp Thing and Abby (maybe). I was a little worried that the new Constantine series was either going to be too Justice League Dark-y, or, even worse, one demonic possession story after another. (Or, worst of all, a continuation of the American road trip from the NBC series.) Oliver seems to get it, but I’m still curious as to why the character is here… when Doom Patrol and Shade get the Young Animal treatment. – MMDG

First collection: The Hellblazer Volume 1: The Poison Truth (March)

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14
Batman Beyond

Dan Jurgens, Bernard Chang, & Ryan Sook
This is my kind of Bat-book. Totally unrelated to the main thread, with some altered takes on familiar faces, and a vibrant world to boot. The art is excellent; the action moves freely. This reminded me of the beloved cartoon show in all the right ways. – IP

Ryan Sook’s art is killing it. His Jokerz design is great, and he’s doing a great job with expressive faces and body language. I like the consolidation of Joker gas and Bane’s Venom, too. The origin story was paneled really well and Jurgens spent just the right amount of time bringing everyone up to speed. It’s cool seeing Max and Dana from the show, and it’s always a great idea to pick up a Batman story where he’s fighting the Joker. How this fits in with the Watchmen stuff is BEYOND me (since it’s like decades after, right?), but still has some great ideas worth exploring. Without Bruce Wayne, McGinnis is free to be his own character, and I’m down to see where that goes. – tyrannoflores

First collection: Batman Beyond Volume 1: The Return (June)

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Continue reading Ranking DC’s Rebirth: 15 – 11

New Comics: Hellblazer

The Hellblazer prologue issue that came out a few weeks ago was a passable effort at introducing the character, re-establishing him in London, and incorporating him, once again, into the capes n’ tights universe of DC superheroes. Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman felt squeezed in solely to reassure the masses that this was, indeed, a DC book. But in Rebirth Week 14, we get the formal first issue of Oliver and Moritat’s Hellblazer series and, thankfully, assurances that John Constantine will be doing a lot more than matching wits with a demon or road-tripping with his amazing magical pals.

The issue opens in Sarajevo on that very fateful day in the summer of 1914. Two brothers, clearly aware that a Serbian Nationalist is about to murder Archduke Franz Ferdinand, thus setting off “a hundred years of human brutality,” struggle with whether or not they should prevent the assassination.

A century later we catch up with the brothers in present-day Paris, and the mystery deepens. Who or what they are, and which divine pair of eyes they’re trying to hide from, remains to be seen. The stage is set for an intriguing opening storyline that weaves together history, celestial incarnations, and good old-fashioned Biblical-style fratricide. Should be fun.

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New Comics: Black Hammer

Jeff Lemire must be the hardest working person in comics right now. He captained four books in Marvel’s All-New All-Different relaunch; continues to publish the excellent Descender with Dustin Nguyen, has a full graphic novel scheduled for release early next year, and will be writing Marvel’s new Thanos series for this fall’s Marvel NOW! initiative. For starters. But his new Dark Horse series Black Hammer, debuting this week, may end up being my favorite Lemire book this year.

Together with artist Dean Ormston (Sandman, Lucifer), he tells the story of a Golden Age super-team now mysteriously trapped in an alternate reality and relegated to life on a small farm, just outside city limits of an equally small town. In fact, the main adversarial conflict in this first issue seems to be from the local sheriff, jealous of the attention his ex-wife is giving to “Abraham Slam.” The mystery deepens as we discover that, in the process of protecting Spiral City from an unnamed threat, the titular hero sacrificed himself to not only save the city, but his teammates as well.

File_000 (9)There’s a special reverence in the creation of Lemire’s Golden Age-inspired heroes, the kind that we’ve seen from so many other writers and artists over the years, from veteran auteurs like Grant Morrison and Alan Moore, to more recent homages by folks like Jeff Parker and Paul Jenkins. All of the characters in Black Hammer are classic Golden Age archetypes, lovingly brought to life by this creative team, and imbued with that sense of wonder and space-age fantasy that first captivated society more than three-quarters of a century ago. Some of them, like Martian warlord Barbalien, are obvious nods to what must be some of Lemire’s favorite classic heroes (“Mark Markz..? Uh… it’s Swedish.”)

Like it or not, we live in an era of scrutiny and suspicion, where every opportunity to disgrace and denigrate is embraced with the speed of a Tweet or soundbite. Knocking people down a peg has become a full-time job for anonymous Internet trolls and publicly recognized spokespeople alike. Human heroes have always had flaws; but it seems like rather than celebrate the ability to overcome those flaws, we’d rather bury people in them. Not even our superheroes are safe. Shields are tarnished, capes are torn, and  they’re at war with one another.

So when you get to the last page of this first issue of Black Hammer, and you discover that an intrepid reporter (the Golden Age worship is nonstop!) from their home reality is still searching for those heroes, even ten years later… her words “no matter what, I’m going to find them” resonate with serious profundity. She’s looking for heroes, for all of us.

Continue reading New Comics: Black Hammer