Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blogathon 14: Hellblazer: Heartland

[Discussed in this post: "Heartland" (Hellblazer #70) and Heartland #1.]

After Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon left Hellblazer, they did Heartland #1, a one-shot focusing on Kit, a sequel of sorts to Hellblazer #70, which was also titled "Heartland." Both comics focus on Kit in Belfast, first returning home after her time in England, reuniting with her brother and two of her sisters, hanging out with them at the pub, and just getting reacquainted. Heartland has a bit more of a plot with their youngest sister visiting and we learn about their childhood.

Kit was an interesting character. Throughout the entire run of Hellblazer, John has had a lot of girlfriends, but Kit is easily my favourite (and the favourite of many others, too, I believe). She's able to stand toe-to-toe with John and not fall for his bullshit. She stands by her word, leaving him when his 'work' affects her. She's level-headed and funny, but he's right when he says she's a bit cold. It's easy to see why when you look at her childhood with an abusive drunk of a father. She's not perfect, but you always get the sense that she's perfect for John. She's what he needs and the tragedy of Ennis's run is that John can't see that himself and do what's necessary to keep her.

Kit is cruel, though. That much is made apparent in Heartland where she winds up kissing her youngest sister's boyfriend. Bernadette was always the favourite of their father and the only one who couldn't see him for what he was -- mostly because he just showered affection on her. We get some stuff from Kit's childhood where we see how awful her father was, but also why Bernadette loved him. She always blamed Kit and her mom for her dad's death, assuming everyone was just jealous because he loved her best. I'm sure that's part of their resentment (why did he love her so much and not them?), but it's obviously more than that. Kit ends their argument with one of the cruellest things I've ever seen in a comic: "D'you not wonder why you're so much younger'n the rest've us, Bernadette? Do ye not? Because he raped her, he came in one night pissed out've his fuckin' skull an' he raped her -- an' you're the fuckin' result, ye wee hooer. His special wee girl." That's not what happened. I sometimes wonder if it would have been worse if it had been true... is the lie at least better because it can be taken away in part?

Ennis does a good job of setting the two up as opposites: two forces that will always come into conflict. Dillon draws a fantastic Bernadette. This curly-haired bitch who makes faces that I've seen in real life on screeching women who want everything their way and are really just angry at the world because it's just not fair.

There's other stuff in these issues like the guy who's in love with Kit despite her making it clear to fuck off. Or the ponce of a brother-in-law they have. Or walking through Belfast and noticing the soldiers and tanks. They're issues that shine a light on Ennis's home but in a natural way. They're suitable goodbyes to he and Dillon.

In 30 minutes, we have me taking the lazy way out somewhat and also discussing the only issue of Paul Jenkins's run that I own: the first.

[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.]