Published by DC Comics/Vertigo
If John Constantine had a nickel for every time he’s been called a bastard, he’d be drinking a better quality booze on the regular. Now John has one last trick to pull off before that long walk into the sunset… cheating death. Surely, that statement is a bit confusing, but Constantine’s life is never just black and white. We ARE talking about a man whose jacket is so much a part of him that if you tried to wear it yourself, it would probably twist your head off and dance on your corpse until its proper owner arrived.
In Hellblazer #300, we bid farewell to John Constantine, but only in the Vertigo Universe. Regular comic readers know full well John has been skulking around the DC Universe for years, most recently haunting the pages of Justice League Dark and Animal Man, but the powers-that-be want to give John his own series, and so one Universe must come to an end – sort of like what happened when the New52-niverse was born! This transfer won’t be quite so drastic at the story level, but the change will be just as jarring for the reader, to be sure… and fans have made their outrage clear. Though top people at DC insist the core spirit of Hellblazer will live on in the New52, how can they possibly allow such antics alongside the heroics of Batman and Superman?
In the pages of Hellblazer #300, John is already dead so really, if you want to read the ENTIRE ending, you need to start at #298, which begins the storyline “Death and Cigarettes”. Skipping right to #300 will only leave you scratching your head as you watch those closest to Constantine try to fill their empty lives – mostly with each other. Some mourn… some scream into the night… some fuck each other. Lots of fucking actually. Some fuck demons by accident. It’s all a very Hellblazery, and some would say bittersweet, ending. I found it anticlimactic. Here’s my thinking: If they were REALLY ending Hellblazer, you’d be reading a send-off worthy of 300 issues of madness, fuckery, angel molestation, snogging minor deities, alcohol abuse, time jumping, demon evisceration and untold numbers of bloody, bloody deaths. #300 would be a celebration of the delightfully psychotic nature of this book, leaving fans with the largest shit-eating grin possible. Since this is just a sort of temporary goodbye for our buggering hero, we get no great send-off.
There’s lots of screwing, lots of crying and an attempt to bring John back from the dead, only to have him realize coming back will only bring further pain to those he loves. Without spoiling what small details there are in this quick read, I’ll say the end is hysterically fitting for a character known for swearing and defiling all manor of mystical creature. There stands John Constantine at his final resting place with a look on his face (worthy of the cover price alone) that screams, “Is this really how it fucking ends for me??!!” After all that noise and carnage, it’s as if John is acknowledging his soul will live on in a Universe that will never allow him to truly be John Constantine. And that, my friends, is a sad fate to accept. One might say… a fate worse than death.
Hellblazer #300 is in stores now.
3 out of 5