Saturday, July 17, 2010

Blogathon 29: Hellblazer: Black Flowers (Part One)

[Discussed in this post: the first part of Hellblazer: Black Flowers, "The Game of Cat and Mouse" (#181) and "Black Flowers" (#182-183).]

Joining the artistic showcase that is Hellblazer: Jock and Lee Bermejo. At some point, this title turned into an ongoing version of Global Frequency.

Jock's story is a one-issue affair where John Constantine's soul is chased throughout London by three lukhavim, monsters made out of souls. He's warned by Gary Lester, his old bandmate from Hell. So, John prepares and those preparations are meaningless. So he's forced to run through London, using his knowledge of the city to stay one step ahead of the lukhavim. It's a fast-paced story that plays well to Jock's art style. He works well with a lot of quick-paced action like a chase through London. In the end, John outsmarts two of them by leading them to a place in the subway that was once a mental hospital with a chapel in it, so they're destroyed. That leave just the one, but it has a message for John: "The dog is pressing against the first door." Hmm... Again, an issue that stands on its own with a beginning and end, but feeds the larger story.

Lee Bermejo's story is two issues of Celtic souls breaking through the door of death in Stone Cross, Bedfordshire. They're possessing people and that also happens to be where Angie's brother Jason is, in a mental hospital. So, both she and John head that way independent of one another, working together once they get there. They also have to contend with gironnved, shepherds of the dead. They're prowling the town, stabbing people with their staffs, figuring its easier to collect the escaped souls by killing the hosts. John solves the problem with magic, of course. It ends with him worried about what's going on. Fredericks wanted to do something with three doors and, now, the first one has been opened.

Both of these stories are fine. When you look at them as part of the whole, they show up clearly as puzzle pieces that lose some of their lustre once you can see them completely. In the actual execution, though, they are interesting. They're told well, it's just that not much actually... happens, I guess, in the grand scheme of things.

Jock and Lee Bermejo both do good work. I don't find Bermejo as suited to this title as Jock, but Bermejo's death shepherds are great with their cloaks and masks. Very spooky. I do like how his John Constantine has a face full of lines and scars. Not distractingly so, but enough that he looks like a man who's lived.

In 30 minutes, we'll conclude Black Flowers with the three-part "Third Worlds"...

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