Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blogathon 09: Hellblazer: Fear and Loathing (Part One)

[Discussed in this post: the first part of Hellblazer: Fear and Loathing, "End of the Line" (#62) and "Forty" (#63).]

Not quite an equal split for this trade, but it's how it makes sense. The two stories here are one-off character pieces. The first, "End of the Line" has John and Kit visiting his sister in Liverpool and, of course, they all like Kit more (isn't that just the way it goes?). Part of the reason for that is Gemma getting involved in magic a little bit after a local boy caught on to who her uncle is. Cheryl caught Gemma doing something and freaked out, leaving John to deal with the boy and Kit to spend a little bit of time with Gemma, acting as a positive influence. John fucking with the local kid is funny, because it's all a load of shit. John also visits the grave of Harry Constantine, an immortal ancestor who he uses for advice and a little bit of extraordinary knowledge, digging him up and then burying him again as it suits him. But, here, he finally kills him in an act of mercy. It's a quiet issue that shows how great Kit is in her talking with Gemma, while John is revealed to not be the complete bastard he once was. Kit's influence is a good one.

"Forty" has John alone on his fortieth birthday with Kit out of town, Chas working, and, just as John feels about as low as he can, he returns home to find a gathering of friends there waiting for him, including Ellie, the Lord of the Dance, Nigel, and some others. That means it's just Ennis and Dillon having a bunch of people drinking and having a good time. There are some fantastic moments like John going out to the alley to have a piss, hearing his name, turning around, pissing on the Phantom Stranger's shoes, and have the Stranger take that as a sign that he's not wanted. Swamp-Thing shows up and grows him a giant marijuana plant. We also meet Header and Rick the Vic, two guys who show up later in the run. Really, it's just a feel good issue that ends with the classic 'Kit comes home and is pissed off at the mess' ending.

Steve Dillon is on board for two quiet issues that rely on him doing his stellar character work... and he nails them. Every facial expression and piece of body language is dead-on. He and Ennis are both just so at home with characters just hanging out that it's scary. And it makes me wish City Lights would happen.

In 30 minutes, a longer post (hopefully) on the three-part "Fear and Loathing" and the aftermath issue "Dear John"...

[Don't forget to donate what you can to the Comic Book Legal Defense Fund! After you do, let me know via comment or e-mail (found at the righthand side) so I can keep track of donations -- and who to thank.]