I told myself I would not end this year’s Cannonball read with a review of a textbook. And so, here is the second volume of Hellblazer, which I finally managed to find over a year after I read the first volume. Though I normally can pick up a series and remember most parts of what had happened previously once I get back into it, I had trouble this time, to be honest, and needed a refresher to really start enjoying the story again. Overall, my feelings towards the Hellblazer series so far are similar to my feelings regarding the Constantine tv show that the books have now spawned: it’s a pretty good read and interesting, though there isn’t really anything that makes me feel as though I need to keep going or need to know what happens next. The best thing this series has going for it is the main character, John Constantine, who is curmudgeonly and full of personal demons that all seem to want to spill out while he fights… literal demons (and I might add that the character is what I find to be the best part of the tv series so far too, and Matt Ryan is just stellar playing him, while the story is kind of hit and miss for me).
The Devil You Know picks up after the previous volume, and features some flashbacks to John’s early days when he was in a band with some fellow magic enthusiasts. It tells the tale of one of John’s first major losses against a demon which has affected him ever since, which then leads us to a new fight with that same demon in a more present time. The volume also includes some serious dream sequences and a lot of gross body horror. The artwork itself featured in the book is not of a style that I typically like all that much, though there is still a clear talent in drawing there. I was more drawn to the artwork of the final story within the book, which was painted by David Lloyd (co-creator of V for Vendetta). This tale centers on a mysterious young woman adopted from another country, who seems to leave nothing but sadness and peril behind whenever she meets someone. In all honesty, this was the most interesting story in itself within this collection of issues, in my opinion.
Overall, I’m not sure I’ll really keep going with this series. Not that it’s bad or anything (I mean, I do love all the supernatural elements to it as always), but there are just so many other series that spark my interest more. I do love this character though, and find him to be super intriguing.
[Be sure to visit the Cannonball Read main site, and think about signing up for Cannonball Read 7!]