Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Hellblazer #257

Last time, John got his hands on a love potion after telling Phoebe - the doctor who just dumped him - that he can use magic to make her love him again. The suggestion was that John was using the potion on a bottle of wine he gifted to Phoebe AND on the liquor of a magus named Julian who is blackmailing John.

It was my hope that Milligan wasn't taking this step and effectively making John into a date-rapist; a line which even the dodgy Constantine has never crossed and which even other characters in the book noted was horribly out of character for John Constantine.

Well, Milligan apparently did take the final step and elect to turn John Constantine into an attempted love-potion date-rapist for no readily apparent reason. The only thing that kept it from coming to that was his new love interest Phoebe figuring out something was up and pretending that she was madly in love with John, despite only knowing that the wine he gave her was laced with "some kind of date rape drug" and not love potion.

So John wound up getting some of the best sex of his life while feeling horribly guilty about the whole thing... not knowing that Phoebe knew and wasn't really influenced. What's really screwed up is that she knows what John was up to and yet doesn't seem to care, nursing him back to health after his latest scam explodes in his face. This whole thread interests and disturbs me more than the actual "plot" with John trying to get his back against another sorcerer who is blackmailing him by using the love potion on her, which is one strike against the writing.

The art is another matter, with Julian - the eternal sorceress in the body of a 15 year old school girl - being depicted in an exaggerated style that jars with all the other characters in the book. As a stylistic choice, it stinks... though the rest of the art by Guiseppe Camuncoli is decent enough.

The Final Verdict: Not a good time to be coming onto this book. In fact, I may be leaving it after one more issue. We'll see. I'm giving Milligan a chance to turn this around with the final part of this storyline. But I doubt he can.

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