Now for those of you who don't recognize the name, Simon Bisley is an artist who is best known for his work on Heavy Metal Magazine. He has a distinctive style, some might call it epic, which is wonderful for certain genres but is not really appropriate for others.
Sword and Sorcery? He's great.
Dystopian Futures? One of the best.
Modern Day London? Not too bad.
My point in showing all this is that while Bisley is a skilled artist, he is not a particularly realistic one. And yet, his style is still more realistic and better suited to depicting normal humans than that of the previous artist - Giuseppe Camuncoli.
Just let that sink in for a moment.
At any rate, I was glad to see the new issue because it drove home to me just how bad the last issue and the current plotline - centering upon John's efforts to bring his most recent lover back from the dead - are. Not only is John being written horribly out of character but the storyline violates past continuity and the rules of the world of Hellblazer.
What's wrong with this scene? Three things...
1. Last I checked, Chas wasn't on speaking terms with John - A lot of writers have fumbled on this since the end of the Mike Carey run - and Denise Mina at least acknowledged the differences during her run - but I don't recall there ever having been any reconciliation between the two fast friends where Chas forgave John for being indirectly responsible for his wife leaving him. For that matter, I don't recall Chas ever reconciling with her.
This was further aggravated in the most recent issue, which had a scene with Chas' wife nagging him about hanging around with that John Constantine. I suppose I could forgive it if were made clear this was a flashback story... but references to John's being "an old vampire" were made.
2. Phoebe is better than Kit? I don't think so...
For those of you who haven't read any of Garth Ennis' Hellblazer (and you haven't, why the heck not?), a bit of explanation. Kit is one of John's old girlfriends and pretty much the love of his life. She dumped him about halfway through Ennis's run and came back for one "last night goodbye" in Rake At The Gates Of Hell. Until now, no Hellblazer writer since then has seen fit to even mention Kit save in passing and even then only to refer to her being the strongest love John had ever felt in his life.
It's a cliche in bad fan-fiction that oftentimes the original characters the author creates will be presented as being much better than previously established characters in everything. It is also said to be the hallmark of a poor writer that they will tell you things about the characters rather than making them apparent through the story.
For Milligan to have Chas talk about how much better than Phoebe is than Kit... it tastes badly of both of these cliches.
3. You Cannot Raise The Dead Using Magic in The World Of Hellblazer
This isn't an obscure point by any means. Indeed, it is the very centerpiece at the plot of Garth Ennis' last John Constantine story - Son of Man - which you'd think Milligan would be at least passingly familiar with since he's making reference to Kit.
Let me think... what was it John said there? Oh yes...
Not to mention, if there was some way of bringing people back from the dead... why didn't John try it before on any of the other friends and lovers he was responsible for killing? Apart from - you know - Phoebe being "special".
So yeah... I'm done with Hellblazer until further notice.