This is a sad, watered down version of the edgy and iconic Vertigo character. Reading this was like watching a Saturday morning cartoon version of Apocalypse Now. After following Hellblazer for years, I mourned its demise... but not as much as i revile this pallid resurrection. John Constantine fighting evil in his new title (and in JL Dark) is about as compelling as a Scooby Doo character (a slightly edgier Shaggy perhaps?). Gone are his punk roots, disdain for authority, deep psychological flaws, real and figurative demons from his past, his tendency toward self-destruction and terminal abuse of his friendships. In a word: Boring.
The hardboiled magician who likes to think his way out of a jam gets a solo title in the New 52 universe and finds himself hip deep in trouble straight off the bat. It's an interesting enough character, with a lot of metaphysical stuff going on. Having had not read any of the Vertigo run with the character, I can't say how he contrasts with the previous version.
Not bad but I miss my Vertigo Constantine. There's references to this terrible past and a tendency to be a less than great guy but aside from some very basic things it's all just smoke and mirrors. I'm also not a huge fan of the crossover with the DC universe proper, even if it's just Shazam. Not that it was a bad read, mind, but he just feels like a different character and this is a totally different sort of comic. Mission succeeded on that front at least.
It very much looks and feels like a standard DC hero comic. There's a problem, namely a cult, amassing power and it looks like John is going to have a time combatting them. His friends end up either dead or wanting to be far away from him. His allies could also easily become enemies or maybe even are enemies without John knowing. John's a con artist of the highest order though and is able to dance a fine line of allegiances and motives.
Fans of the original Vertigo series are going to be a little put off - this is not a horror comic - but it's worth a look if you want to see what a less dense Constantine reads like. Or maybe not. This is only volume one after all.
This reboot shoves the Laughing Magician firmly into the DC Universe, with cameos by various mystical costumed heroes and villains in each early issue. Our favorite Sting lookalike is also given a more sharply defined role as a self-appointed policeman-slash-referee of magic. The authors do a passable job voicing Constantine's hardboiled narration. The distorted art with its effervescent colors can be difficult to decipher in spots. Bonus points for working in an appearance by the Big Red Cheese!
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