What I thought of The Hellblazer: Rebirth #1

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What did I think of The Hellblazer: Rebirth?

It’s shite, really, really, fucking awful shite.

Where do I start? The beginning I suppose. Hellblazer was a comic featuring the character John Constantine, who was created by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette and John  Totleben during their run on Swamp Thing in the 1980’s.Over the decades writers as diverse as Jamie Delano, Eddie Campbell, Grant Morrison, Warren Ellis and Pete Milligan took their own take on the slightly grubby British magician before DC Comics decided to take the character away from their Vertigo Comics imprint and stick him right slap in the middle of their regular DC Universe.

Now over the years Hellblazer suffered peaks and troughs, but this new superheroic Constantine was a mess of Brexit-like proportions and it came to pass that we’ve now got another revamp as part of DC’s Rebirth thanks to writer Simon Oliver and artist Moritat who created panels like this.

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I know a few Scousers. They’d not speak like that because they’re real people, not to mention they don’t want to sound like bad caricatures from people who’s experience of Liverpool and their people is through things like Bread.

But it gets worse, for example.

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So Constantine, fed up with the thought of the racist Donald Trump possibly being voted in as American president decides to return home to the UK where the Conservatives are in power and the racist UKIP hold enough influence to force the Prime Minister to hold a referendum on the UK’s membership of the EU. Now, I am guilty of framing everything at the minute via a filer of Brexit, but this is sixth form message board politics here not to mention it’s just shite.

yes, Constantine does magical things and smokes, while being a bit of a bastard while his hapless mate Chas runs around after him, but this feels like a bad cover version of a Hellblazer comic, and as said, there were troughs back then but they were at least interesting troughs. This is so routine in its blandness that it becomes offensive, plus with the Dick Van Dyke ‘cockerneee’ accents it becomes endlessly tiring. Writer Simon Oliver was born in the UK, but he seems not ever to have had a conversation with anyone here that isn’t a stereotype.

Though I did like the Fat Slags cameo.

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And then the superheroes and Swamp Thing turn up.

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This scene serves no real purpose but to firmly place Constantine in the super hero universe of DC Comics, and to make it that the superheroes will come into save the day. It also raises the possibility of a Constantine-Watchmen crossover which is too sad to consider.

Then there’s the censoring of swearing.

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What is the fucking point? Either fucking swear because fucking swearing is cunting well big and proper, or don’t even try.

The problem with this comic isn’t that it’s badly made. Oilver can tell a story and the art by Moritat is passable, somewhat dull, and too reliant upon obvious sources of photo reference but the reason why The Hellblazer:Rebirth is shite is the same that a frozen pizza is shite, or a Subway meal is shite, or Justin Beiber is shite. It’s mass produced garbage designed to be swallowed up. Sure you might enjoy it for a few wee minutes but afterwards you won’t remember much, if anything, about it at all. There’s nothing of any substance going on here at all, and there’s the pity. Constantine is a great character who can be used to do a lot as say, Garth Ennis did in his classic run. That though was a thoughtful, intelligent and meaningful run that had something to say. This is a Tesco’s frozen meal for one compared to that banquet Ennis served up.

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