CONSTANTINE: THE HELLBLAZER #7
Written by Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV
Art by Riley Rossmo, Brian Level, and Ivan Plascencia
Published by DC Comics
Release Date: December 9, 2015
After a night with your man, what you really want to find in your shower is another man… thing, of sorts. Yep, Swamp Thing pays a visit to the Hellblazer, but it’s no social call. Lovers are being eaten by trees in Central Park, and Swampy needs help figuring it all out. Seems like every one else was busy…
OK, so this is the one about love.
Or lust. Maybe sex. Making babies. Not making babies. A lot of not making babies. But I digress. This is the issue where we get to see John trip all over himself over Oliver, and I gotta say, I have emoji hearts in my eyes too. Mostly for Tynion and Doyle for writing us a Constantine who has a vulnerability we haven’t seen in the series yet — a puppy dog wanting, even.
We’ve all been there. We want someone even though we know it’s not a good idea. It makes us nervous. It makes us ramble. It’s cute when it’s one of your friends. It’s annoying when it’s you and one of your friends points it out. And while it seems like it should be wholly unnatural to John’s caustic, weathered personality, this kind of youthful energy has been running through the series in drips and drabs, exploding out of the faucet with the start of issue #7.
This Constantine is definitely the jester, the pan figure in all his randy bits, and it’s easy to forget that he brings with him a terribleness — unintentional and not — to every relationship he undergoes. But like every friend who we’ve watched tumble down the road to love facefirst dragging his or her lovers in chains, we still want to see the story have a happy ending. We are still touched (or titillated) by the energy of love.
This is the good part. The cuddly, give me that hot bear of a man in his towel, thinking about him all day even when we’re apart, part. And it’s adorable.
Rossmo leans into that feeling with this issue, balancing this cocky, but slightly googly-eyed look for John with some really terribly vicious scenes in the park as the trees come to life to rip young lovers apart. His Constantine is youthful, bright, kind of young bastard by contrast to almost any other version we ever get, and it brings a contrast with what’s going on around him that I quite like. We’ve seen the Constantine grizzled like that which tries to attack him, but to see this porcelain trickster with a butt hanging between his lips dance between dangers is energizing to read.
Both Swamp Thing and the tree creatures we encounter feel threatening, but deeply florid and full of life, adding to the overall dynamism of the page. It’s a joy, in fact, to see how Rossmo divides his panels to give a more anarchistic feeling to how John moves through the story. There are no perfect right angles. Nothing ever quite feels even. It fits Constantine so perfectly, and it’s why this issue ends the way it does. I worry for Oliver, because I can’t imagine, no matter how much John radiates with lust in this story, that he will end up rushing to the rescue like a hero. John’s no hero.
A pointedly funny, light-hearted take on John’s love life, even amid slaughter and environmental magic, Constantine: the Hellblazer #7 may be my favorite issue yet from the team of Doyle, Tynion, Rossmo, and company. We get a great same sex lust story. We get to see John at his glowing best. Even though we know in our hearts it can never last. But in the meantime, I’m crushing on Hellblazer like I’m 15 and in love all over again.
The Verdict: 9.5/10