Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blogathon 21: Hellblazer: Good Intentions

[Discussed in this post: Hellblazer: Good Intentions (#151-156).]

Good Intentions is a little odd since the first part of the story doesn't tie into the rest explicitly. It does somewhat, but it simply features John on his way to Doglick, while the rest focuses on what happens in Doglick. (And isn't Doglick such a wonderful name for a small shitty town? Though it ties into something from the story quite literally...) The first issue demonstrates one of Marcelo Frusin's greatest artistic abilities: he can establish a creepy, skeevy mood like no one else. His John Constantine looks like a crazed serial killer that's liable to rape you after he's done you in... well, some of the time. The scene where he's talking to a guy who's picked him up when he was hitchhiking is fantastic as both Azzarello and Frusin play into the idea of John doing everything he can to make this guy shit himself with fear.

The rest of the issue has John getting a ride from two guys who he discovered by the side of the road. One sitting on the hood of a car that isn't his and the other coming out of the woods, wiping up his hands. They killed a man and threw his wife/girlfriend in the trunk of their car. The three have a good chat in the car and it becomes apparent, though, that they're going to kill John. Except he makes the driver take his eyes off the road at the right time, mentioning that he too knew how it was going to play out from the beginning. Is it magic or just a guy who know what's what and has a gift for timing? You never know with Azzarello's Constantine.

The storyarc proper has John going to Doglick looking for Lucky's widow, but he finds Lucky's brothers, Dickie and Richie (though, why his name is Richie when Lucky's real first name was Richard is beyond me...). Dickie is the smart one, Richie is the special one, and Dickie is also married to Rose, a girl that John knew back in the late '70s while still part of Mucous Membrane. She was an American student who was a semi-finalist in a spelling bee and they kind of hooked up but not really despite doing so... if that makes sense.

John figures there's something wrong with the town when he sees a woman naked and chained to a tree by a collar around her neck. He also twigs to something when Dickie and Richie drug him and get their dog to perform oral sex on him (Doglick!). John thinks them sick bastards, always not liking them exactly. At the same time, there's some wild boar near the town that's eaten a kid and they're going to go hunt it. In the process, John makes sure Dickie and the dog die... simply by snapping his fingers (something he threatens could bring Dickie a world of hurt).

In the end, he learns that the whole town was in on the sex videos. After the local mine closed, Dickie had the idea -- no one liked it, Dickie included, but it's helped them survive: making sex videos for the internet, including ones involving the dog performing sex acts on people. John jumped to conclusions and screwed a town in many ways.

There's a real creepy vibe throughout this arc. It's got a creepy redneck vibe, purposefully so. We're meant to jump to the same conclusions as John, so, when the truth is revealed, we're left feeling like pricks with him.

Rose tells John that Dickie always knew where Lucky's widow was, he just didn't mention it, because he liked having John around. That's always bothered me for some reason. More in the sad way that Dickie couldn't really come out and say he liked having John around, because guys don't do that shit.

There's a big artist mistake, though, in the third part where, for a series of pages, Dickie and Richie's hair/beard colours are reversed. Sloppy.

In 30 minutes, we do the first part of Freezes Over...

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