Tuesday, May 27, 2008

John Constantine V. Batman (A Quick Snippet that Amuses Me)

Since I'm on a bit of a Hellblazer kick, I finally sat down and reread Brian Azzarello's run last night and this afternoon. It's a decent enough run from issues 146-174 (or, in four collections: Hard Time, Good Intentions, Freezes Over and Highwater) and deals with John in America, feeling guilty over the suicide of a fellow con artist, Lucky. It's a sprawling story that makes sense as a whole and is pretty typical of Azzarello: features a lot of fucked up shit including S&M internet sites, beastiality, incest, neo-Nazis... and Batman as the mastermind behind it all.

This caused a very minor stir when it happened, but the man responsible for Lucky killing himself in front of John is SW Manor, a billionaire industrialist whose parents where murdered in front of him when he was a kid. Now, SW Manor is an allusion to "Stately Wayne Manor," which is how Bruce Wayne's house is often described. Manor's manservant is named Fredo (Alfred). In his mansion, there is a trophy room full of artifacts much like the Batcave. Manor donates money to an orphanage in exchange for a priest sharing what he hears in confession: through his orphanage, we see/hear about Manor's encounters with two young boy: Jason who died with a smile on his face, referencing Jason Todd's death at the hands of the Joker; and Tim, who Manor is going to feed to his vampire bats. There's also a scene where it's revealed that Manor tells his secrets to a little bird, held in a cage by Fredo... perhaps a robin?

Probably a few more references I missed, but it's a bit of childish humour thrown into the run. It doesn't really add anything to the story and isn't important to the plot, but fun to pick up on. I am strangely intrigued by one scene where John uses his abilities so Manor can speak to his dead parents--who then tell him how disappointed and ashamed they are of the man he's become. Would Wayne's parents say the same?

Regular post later today.