Saturday, March 21, 2009

Fast Thoughts - The Week of 3/18/09

A very light week this week, particularly since my FLCS got shorted on Kull #5...

HELLBLAZER #253 - Scab comes to a conclusion and with it comes an explanation of how all the randomness of the last two issues fits together. Seems that at some point in the past, John was paid by a factory owner to hex a union head into taking a bribe and now the curse has backfired on them both

I can't say I'm all that excited with what Milligan is doing with this book so far. It isn't bad by any means but it isn't as great as I expect a John Constantine story to be. As far as threats go, a mysterious rash seems an unworthy challenge for someone who has fought The Devil himself and gone toe-to-toe with Merlin and won.

I'm also not too crazy about the idea of John actually doing spells for hire, ala Harry Dresden. Yes, I know he's done similar things in the past but most of those jobs involved recovering magic artifacts or John tricking a person into thinking he had done something. John actually having enough magic power to give the evil eye just seems wrong somehow.

There's a lot to like here though. Milligan refers back to the Paul Jenkins run on the book and we get to see John's uncle who raised him after his father was sent to prison again. And Milligan's story - though it does seem to have been written entirely as an excuse to make a play on both meanings of the word 'scab' - does a fairly good job of evoking the feel of Modern Britain and the political issues of the last decade as Jaime Delano did during the late 80s. But this only serves to reveal another problem - this story feels somewhat unstuck in time.

Apart from the reference to Dani and Rich, this story could be set at almost anytime in John's career. Indeed, John's younger appearance as drawn in this issue and the fact that his Uncle is still alive and appears to be in early middle-age (about where John should be, actually) suggest this to be taking place sometime far before the mid-life crisis John seemed to be suffering during the Diggle and Carey runs.

This isn't necessarily a bad thing but it does make me wonder if Vertigo has completely abandoned this book's attempt to have one year of comic pass for one year in real life and if we are really going to work to John's foretold death, which should be coming in a few years if I recall correctly.

RED SONJA #42 - A lot of action this issue, with not much else happening. Oh, I could tell you of the on-going story with Lady Sonja - apparently a reincarnation of Red Sonja - and her quest for the magical Blood Legacy gem. I could tell you about the wonderful action scene in which she fights a horde of various martial artists. But all of this would just be window-dressing for the end of the book and the part where Red Sonja summons Cthulhu so she can fight him.

Yes, that's right. Red Sonja summons Cthulhu so she can fight him!

Okay, it's not actually Cthulhu... but it is close enough for government work. And she needs to do it as part of some ritual to help her track the Blood Legacy, so it's not like she's summoning it JUST to fight it. But it's still pretty awesome as far as sword and sorcery goes.

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