Sunday, June 16, 2013

Constantine #4 - A Review

Shagged out and burned out from his recent trials and tribulations in London, John Constantine decides to take a day off from the business of balancing the cosmic scales.  Alas, things are rarely that simple for John and what is meant to be a day of smoking, drinking, seeking out old friends and slouching around is quickly complicated by shadowy stalkers and portents of conflict.  And then there's the matter of the crime-boss/voodoo priest who is out for John's blood and/or soul...

The script for Constantine #4 does a grand job giving us a day-in-the-life story while still expanding upon John's world without seeming overly expository.  Obviously there's some set-up for the upcoming Trinity War storyline but the plotting fits naturally into the narrative.  Zatanna's rather complicated relationship with John is also explained for those of us who are coming into this title without having seen the two working together in Justice League Dark.

The artwork by Fabiano Neves is competent enough though one aspect of it does disturb me somewhat - John's lack of expression.  With a few exceptions (chiefly when he's having the crap kicked out of him) John has the same stoic neutral expression throughout the book.  While I can understand him trying to keep a poker-face up while starring down Papa Midnite or putting the fear of god into a rube, I would expect him to smile somewhat when dealing with Zatanna as he tries to pour on the charm or when he's over-tipping his tobacconist.

Apart from that, the story is well-depicted and the flow of action from panel to panel is good - John just looks far too dour in most of the pages of this book.  It isn't enough to make me not recommend the title - this is a damn good series!  But there's a reason John is called The Laughing Magician and the art should reflect that. 

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