Welcome back to Graphic Content. It’s been a while, hasn’t it? 2020 has been an odd, challenging year threatening to kill us all and I haven’t written a comic review since September. How nuts is that?
John Constantine: Hellblazer #8
We conclude John Constantine’s tragic mermaid case with “Britannia, Rule the Waves, Part Two.” This issue stands out as a strong conclusion to a bitter, dirty little parable about the dangers of love with the wrong kind of person. Ultimately, nobody wins. John’s scheme to track down his interloper doesn’t reveal much, yet, and the mermaid suffers a traumatic fate. I will not spoil what happens, but the story borrows heavily from the almost supernatural exploits of the salmon.
Most of the issue is comprised of heavy narration by Constantine where he fills in the facts around the situation involving the fishmonger and the mermaid. Simon Spurrier has a strong command of Constantine’s voice, here tackling the relaying of information with John’s signature wit and dickishness, but not neglecting the sadness and frustrations he experiences as a situation he could have intervened in earlier. It’s a complicated and messy story, emphasized by Aaron Campbell’s gritty illustration style. The coloring also has a profound effect here, mostly using shades of greens and blues until the necessary splashes of red come into play. The color choices here playing well into the theme and setting of the story.
The whole package just works so well as a modern continuation of the Vertigo era and it is a shame the series never really found its audience. The comic ended with issue #12. I’ll enjoy the remaining four issues, however, as this run has been one of my favorite Hellblazer runs I’ve experienced.(4.5 / 5)
John Constantine: Hellblazer #8, written by Simon Spurrier and illustrated by Aaron Campbell, is available from DC Comics.
With “White Dog” we return for more Sinkhill weirdness, only this time out inciting incident is a missing dog, one of several in a rash of dognappings in the community. It turns out, sadly, that Sinkhill’s ultra-violent streak doesn’t limit itself to the human residents only. This is definitely a triggering issue for dog lovers. I will put it at that. The art is particularly sharp in this issue and while not as “gory” as previous issues in terms of volume, there is something about animals being the target that is particularly affecting.
We also seem more of the larger community intersect. Florence, from issue #3 returns at a club in the area called Black Hole. Beyond that, in the final pages, we glimpse the leads from the previous four issues, including our fox-masked friend from issue #1. But more sinisterly we see the return of the blue van and the sinister clowns that have haunted the series thus far. Though these stories are connected by location, the framing here indicates something more. We’re on a collision course with something, and it is going to be messy.(4 / 5)
Sink #5, written by John Lees and illustrated by Alex Cormack, is available on Comixology.
James Sangster Jr. is something of an authority on the very real presence of vampires in Philadelphia, and he now finds himself at the forefront of starting new developments of the vampiric population. Led by Abigail Adams, the vampires are putting something in motion, taking advantage of terrorism to stir up fear in the city. The newest vampire on the current scene, Jupiter, makes a particularly big splash as well at a concert. The way vampires are becoming very public entities and making themselves known is very entertaining and gives the book a feeling of constant escalation.
Some very fascinating stuff comes into play in this issue. Particularly involving James Sr. and a journey to the afterlife. We learn a bit more about the metaphysical and mystical of the world, which is an interesting contrast to the reality by which the vampiric strain is presented in Jr.’s reality. Father and son cross paths as well, in a hilarious punchline. All told, Killadelphia continues to build a fascinating world and again I need to remark on the pace by which it is doing so.
Visually, the comic continues to be quality work. Jason Shawn Alexander’s linework matches the tone of the book well, but can still offer a number of surprises. Especially in one of the visions of the afterlife. We are presented with something, visually, that we’ve not really seen in Killadelphia yet… serenity.
The backup feature, “Elysium Gardens” continues. Vampires and werewolves… it makes one wonder if the vampires of Killadelphia aren’t the only creatures of the night around. Given the way the world is expanding, it might not be out of the question for a werewolf to arrive in Philly. Won’t that complicate things?(4 / 5)
Killadelphia #8, written by Rodney Barnes and illustrated by Jason Shawn Alexander, is available from Image Comics.
I am hoping to move this column into a bi-monthly sort of thing, so now more than ever I ask for any reading suggestions you may have. What horror comics do you think I should read and review? Let us know in the comments or hit me up on Twitter.