This is a really, really late review. Part of the problem is that this hardback is $24.99. The other is the premise of the story: Everyone’s favorite aging bad-boy magician from England heads to war-torn Iraq to deal with… Yeah, that is when I got turned off too. A topical John Constatine story in Iraq? No thanks.
But then I actually read Pandemonium by Jamie Delano and Jock. Should have read it sooner.
The book came out in February, and I initially passed it buy due to the cost, coupled with the fact that I could not imagine for the life of me why John Constantine would end up in Iraq. I imagined that it would require some really weird twist of story-telling. It turns out that it is a twist that Mr. Delano pulls off with ease.
It was with Hellblazer that Mr. Delano first made his name in America. He was the inital writer of DC/Vertigo’s longest running series. It was his writing, along with Neil Gaiman’s Sandman, that pulled me away from the super-hero comics of my youth. I should have known that any story that brought him back to Hellblazer would have been worth reading.
Of course, the artwork works well with the story. Jock (the pen name (ink-name?) of Mark Simpson), another Brit like Mr. Delano, is known for his strong lines. Here, working alone, he has created great art to go with the great story. His aging Constantine, cigarette in his mouth, is a perfect match for Mr. Delano’s writing. Is it Jock’s art that delayed the publication of this book from 2008, the 20th anniversary of Hellblazer? If so, it was well worth the wait.
I thought I would delay this review until the comic came out in trade paperback next February–unfortunately, I could not wait. I really enjoyed it, and kicked myself for waiting to read it. If the 10% off at your local comic book story that you are a loyal customer at is not good enough of a discount for you, track it down on Amazon.
Bottom Line: $22.49/$24.99 (use your 10% at your local comic book store on this expensive book!)