The story takes a turning point in this volume, and Herr Starr suffers further disfigurement.
Sometimes the sense of doom I get from this series makesThe story takes a turning point in this volume, and Herr Starr suffers further disfigurement.
Sometimes the sense of doom I get from this series makes it hard reading. Oh Jesse... Oh Tulip… Oh Cassidy… Still, it's great to revisit it ten years after my first read-through. Dillon is absolutely on top of his game as an artist, and I found myself laughing out loud at some points, just reveling in the humor he imbeds in the work. Good stuff.
I have to admit, on this read-through I'm finding some of Jesse's anti-PC rants to be a bit hard going; it takes me a bit out of the story to find myself wondering why Ennis made the choice to have his hero express such sentiments. Since Jesse is the hero, are we supposed to take them at face value, a mouthpiece for Ennis's views? Or is it just part of who Jesse is, one of his (many) possible flaws? One of Jesse's downfalls appears to be his strict adherence to a kind of John Wayne moral code, which comes back and bites him in the butt repeatedly, even as it also makes him incredibly appealing. He's absolutely an antihero, and absolutely a hero, at the same time. Fascinating....more
Found myself surprisingly a bit more sympathetic to John this go-round than I was the last time I read the series. I'd always rather felt that Kit wasFound myself surprisingly a bit more sympathetic to John this go-round than I was the last time I read the series. I'd always rather felt that Kit was the best thing John ever had, so of COURSE he cocked it up. Which is absolutely true -- but in re-reading, it also becomes clear that the cock-up wasn't one-sided. Kit loved John, but she never loved ALL of John, never wanted to know about the dark stuff. And ultimately, when she gets dragged in, and it's the last straw, and she leaves (which is probably a wise move, given what tends to happen to his associates)… well, it's not really John's fault. Except that he has a wonderful knack for being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
At any rate, bless Ennis for giving us a complex couple of characters who love each other and discover that is not enough and probably never will be. It's better than a Tom Waits song.
John really takes the Tom Waits dive, then; he's forty, he's just lost the woman he actually almost managed to say "I love you" to, and he's been a complete ass to his friends. So then what does one do, except go on a complete bender and try to drink oneself to death? Of course, it's never that simple. What's brilliant is that when Ennis is writing Hellblazer, NOTHING is ever that simple. Love this guy's stuff....more
In spite of having been published more than ten years ago, Feed's prescience still feels startlingly true. Anderson takes things to their logical extrIn spite of having been published more than ten years ago, Feed's prescience still feels startlingly true. Anderson takes things to their logical extreme, and in some ways it mirrors the world we're already living in. Only the equipment is different.
Titus is a teenager in a time in the future where everyone has access to the internet at all times, through a feed installed in their limbic system. Imagine having access to Facebook 24/7, with all its chat features and its targeted advertising, and you can't turn it off. That's kind of like the feed. The news people receive, the ads, all the information they receive is based on their consumer profile and shaped by what they've bought and liked and enjoyed in the past. When Titus and his friends (including a new friend, Violet) are attacked by a hacker in a dance club, their feeds are damaged and temporarily turned off. Everyone else goes back to normal, but for Titus and (more so) for Violet, this sets off a series of events and their world will never be the same.
Anderson does a masterful job of showing rather than telling the effects that the feed has had on the world, as well as the larger situation in a world that's been ravaged by environmental catastrophe. I particularly enjoyed the ways that he demonstrated the shallowness of everyone's thinking (even that of adults) through limited vocabulary and through their actions. This is a masterfully written book, if a bleak one, and I'm so glad I finally got around to reading it....more
Good stuff from Garth Ennis. "The Pub Where I Was Born" is a solid story with a really great beginning that shows Ennis understands what makes a goodGood stuff from Garth Ennis. "The Pub Where I Was Born" is a solid story with a really great beginning that shows Ennis understands what makes a good pub a crucial part of life, but it's horribly marred by Mike Hoffman's art for the second installment -- seriously flat, awful stuff, and the coloring's bad, too. It just looks rushed and weird. The art's otherwise good; classic stuff from Will Simpson and Steve Dillon, although the coloring will be jarring for folks accustomed to today's shiny paper and brilliant colors. Of particular note is Simpson's art for Hellblazer #50, "Remarkable Lives" -- it's just beautiful. "Royal Blood" is a delightful four-parter that involves demon possession, the Royal Family, and one solution to the mystery of Jack the Ripper. And "Guys & Dolls" is definitely worth noting, not only because it's a great story and important to the Constantine storyline, but also because it's clear Ennis already had some of the seeds of Preacher percolating around happily in his brain here.
This was a re-read for me; this is one of the chunks of stories that'd already been collected in whole last time I was reading Hellblazer....more
It was great to finally read the end of Delano's run, which I quite enjoyed. I was only two pages into Ennis's Dangerous Habits storyline, though, wheIt was great to finally read the end of Delano's run, which I quite enjoyed. I was only two pages into Ennis's Dangerous Habits storyline, though, when I remembered that Ennis is pretty much the reason I fell in love with John Constantine. It's very nearly the perfect story, and still capable of making me tear up at the end. I prefer Ennis's humanity over Delano's mysticism, every time....more
Oh, this was just so much fun. My husband tells me it makes reference to about thirty years of Marvel story lines, but as a relative Marvel n00b I wasOh, this was just so much fun. My husband tells me it makes reference to about thirty years of Marvel story lines, but as a relative Marvel n00b I was still able to follow it and had an absolute blast doing so....more
The main storyline here, about Constantine's face-off with a serial killer, is fascinating and kind of great -- it's really interesting to see him facThe main storyline here, about Constantine's face-off with a serial killer, is fascinating and kind of great -- it's really interesting to see him faced with an entirely different, human kind of fear. We've seen him deadly afraid many times, before and after, but rarely rattled the way he is here.
As with so many of these early Hellblazer collections, the art is lackluster if not plain awful at times. The exception in this collection is Sean Phillips's art for the story "Mourning the Magician," which is also a wonderful little foray into Constantine's family life, and a great reminder that Gemma has always been pretty awesome. The coloring's still hasty and not so great, but otherwise this is a good issue for art and story. Another exception, not previously collected, is a one-off by Neil Gaiman, illustrated by Dave McKean. The story is a bit sentimental, but the art is utterly spectacular....more
This was a pretty good story, but felt even more dated than the yuppie demons in earlier issues. Thing is, I suspect it felt dated the day it was publThis was a pretty good story, but felt even more dated than the yuppie demons in earlier issues. Thing is, I suspect it felt dated the day it was published. Delano gets a lot of great elements going, but the ultimate execution isn't so great, in spite of some good moments....more
With the exception of the Newcastle story, I hadn't read most of the stories in this collection, since they weren't collected in trade paperback formWith the exception of the Newcastle story, I hadn't read most of the stories in this collection, since they weren't collected in trade paperback form the last time I was reading all the Hellblazer I could get my hands on. With the exception of the Newcastle story, I would be inclined to label this one as mainly for completists -- I can kind of see why a lot of it wasn't collected before. The collection consists mostly of shorter stories. I did really enjoy the story of how Constantine finally learned Nergal's name and double-crossed him again, though, and the artwork for the Horrorist story was gorgeous....more
This is a solid YA novel about one teenage girl's brush with religious fanaticism.
Dorry is a lonely highschooler who's just moved to the IndianapolisThis is a solid YA novel about one teenage girl's brush with religious fanaticism.
Dorry is a lonely highschooler who's just moved to the Indianapolis suburbs. She's left all her friends behind, and she feels completely out of her depth at her new school. After a couple of miserable weeks, she's finally invited to join a group of students at lunch, who make it clear that they're eager to welcome her. Soon, they begin to invite her to parties and gatherings with their church group, the Fishers of Men. Dorry, a casual Methodist, has never really thought about God or salvation before, but soon she is bombarded with talk of salvation, and is drawn into the church. As she gets more involved, the love and excitement takes a darker turn: it now seems that every move she makes, every thought she has, is controlled by the Fishers. But if the alternative is to be cast out of God's grace, it's worth it, isn't it?
As I was reading this, I kept thinking back to an excellent documentary I watched a while back on Jonestown. One of the things that was most chilling about that documentary is that, learning about the church's beginnings and how people were drawn in, it didn't seem that crazy that people would end up so deeply involved. I could almost imagine myself getting sucked in, too. Haddix manages to hit the same notes with this book -- the reader can understand completely why Dorry wants to be part of the Fishers, and why she stays as long as she does. I also appreciated that in spite of everything, the book is very strongly anti-fanaticism, without being anti-God or anti-religion. ...more
This is a good one -- very comprehensive. It covers pregnancy, labor, and newborn care, with an emphasis on natural birth. There are good sidebars andThis is a good one -- very comprehensive. It covers pregnancy, labor, and newborn care, with an emphasis on natural birth. There are good sidebars and sections directed at the birth partner. I particularly appreciated the descriptions of the stages of labor and the level of detail. Some of the photos seemed a bit dated, and there's a general assumption of heterosexuality, but I liked that not everyone pictured was white. Good stuff on exercise during and after pregnancy, as well....more
It was great to revisit John Constantine's early years. It's really quite a magnificent collection! The first story in the book, wherein John ConstantIt was great to revisit John Constantine's early years. It's really quite a magnificent collection! The first story in the book, wherein John Constantine and his junkie friend Gary Lester encounter a hunger demon, completely sets the tone for the series. It's sort of impressive how well-realized Constantine was from the first issue -- although of course that was helped by his development as a character in Swamp Thing. A few stories show their origins in the 1980s pretty strongly, particularly one involving yuppie-impersonating demons and Thatcher's re-election, but they're clever and enjoyable and reflect the times very well.
This collection also included several of Constantine's appearances in Swamp Thing that I had not encountered before. These are a little harder to grok if you haven't read the Swamp Thing issues, particularly the story involving Swamp Thing taking over Constantine's body. I loved, however, the storyline in which John and Abbey end up getting riotously drunk together. It helps demonstrate one of the things the TV show and later Constantine story arcs sometimes forget: John can be devastatingly charming and a hell of a lot of fun when it suits him and the moment is right.
I usually think of Garth Ennis's run on Hellblazer as being where it really hit its stride, but all the beats are already there in these early stories. This is a real treat....more
This is a surreal and beautiful book that takes a 17th century folk poem and illustrates, through cut paper windows, how it can be broken up into meanThis is a surreal and beautiful book that takes a 17th century folk poem and illustrates, through cut paper windows, how it can be broken up into meanings both prosaic and fantastical. So cool!...more