Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blogathon 39: Hellblazer: The Gift (Part Two)

[Discussed in this post: the second part of Hellblazer: The Gift, "The Gift" (#213).]

John shuts down a little bit after the death of Cheryl. We find him just standing in his old neighbourhood, watching and thinking. As does Angie and she tries to get him to go be with Gemma, to help her get through the deaths of her parents. John isn't having it and tells a story from his childhood...

Kenny was the neighbourhood bully and was threatening John if he wouldn't give him a couple of bob every day. John had no way to get the money, so he came up with a scheme involving a fake seance since Kenny's mom was dead. He pulls this whole routine and freaks Kenny out when he (as Kenny's mom) accuses Kenny of killing her. Kenny is so freaked out, he runs out into the street, is hit by a truck and loses his legs. John pulled it off with the help of Kenny's sister (whose eye was put out by Kenny). John speaks of this as his first time. He had fooled around with magic and such before, but that was the first. It was when he realised that his real talent was for lying, for fucking someone over, and walking away fine. That's what he does: everyone else around him gets fucked, but never him. And this time it was his sister. He goes off to wallow in self-pity.

Frazer Irving does the art and it's the right sort of creepy. He does kids really well. There's a British sensibility to their look that I can't describe any other way. I absolutely love the seance scene with John's body language and face, and the earnest pleading in Kenny's face that turns to horror when his killing his mom is brought up. He uses some good repeated images as well. This issue stands out between the Manco-drawn stories before and after it. I'm not sure if that's good or not. I do know I dig the art.

I know this issue is meant to be meaningful and emotional, but John's story doesn't quite work for me. Yes, Kenny got fucked... but that was the goal. John is feeling guilty because those around him get it and he doesn't despite him deserving it. In this case, Kenny was a monster and brought it on himself (as much as anyone can do so). it doesn't work for me. I don't even buy John feeling guilty for what happened to Kenny at all. So this issue is lacking there.

Also, Angie's warning at the end to not make any big decisions is a little too obvious that a big decision is coming soon.

In 30 minutes, Mike Carey's run ends with the speech to end all speeches....

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