Sunday, July 18, 2010

Blogathon 42: Hellblazer: The Red Right Hand

[Discussed in this post: Hellblazer: The Red Right Hand, "The Season of the Zealot" (#223) and "The Red Right Hand" (#224-228).]

This trade begins with the one-off story "The Season of the Zealot" and it's awful. First of all, it interrupts the flow of the two story arcs since "The Red Right Hand" picks up right were "Empathy is the Enemy" left off. Having a story where John is in London just looks stupid. Next, it's told horribly. I still can't figure out what the point is. Something about London falling to zealots somehow with a suicide bomber maybe? Map is sick because his power is being drained by someone maybe? John stops it somehow? I have no idea. It's a baffling, confusing comic that has me struggling to figure it out. One of the worst constructed comics I've ever read.

"The Red Right Hand" is also a bit of a let down, but that's more because it's mostly just a lot of talking and standing around. Edinburgh is cut off from the rest of the world because the empathy engine has caused people to kill themselves, making it seem like a weird plague. The problem is, if people get out eventually, they'll spread the empathy 'virus' to others, eventually infecting the whole world. So, before that happens, they need to somehow stop the lord of the Third Place and shit the empathy engine down. Their solution is just to make everyone really happy and have a magic painter guy take the lord's place. It doesn't quite fit together, but it does revolve around the result of a World Cup soccer match and that's handled well. If England wins or loses, it would determine the whole thing because all of the guards surrounding the city are listening. Thankfully, they're all Scottish, so England losing makes them happy.

John's role isn't well defined and what happened in Carey's run is sort of pushed aside, even the rift between John and Chas. I don't like that as much. Not much mileage is gotten out that rift. The sacrifice of Cole at the end doesn't work entirely either since he's such a douchebag the rest of the time that it doesn't mean anything.

My other big complaint is that Manco and the colourist never get the whole 'red right hand' thing right since it referes to Cole's hand and him becoming the master of the Third Place. It begins with his right hand, but they do the hands as interchangeable. Always bugged me.

Using Angie and Gemma works for me, though. Then again, the way that Gemma is infatuated immediately with Cole doesn't work. She's so focused on being a big magician that I don't buy her being distracted so easily.

Denise Mina's run isn't awful, it's just serviceable. Easy to forget. Her John runs betwen too nice and too blase for my tastes. He has no edge. The payoff here is also weak because of five issues of people doing dickall.

And just when you thought we were done with him, in 30 minutes we have yet another Mike Carey Hellblazer comic...

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