John Constantine was a mainstay over at Vertigo with HELLBLAZER, and while the New 52 CONSTANTINE had both great and not-so-great moments, it seemed to miss capturing some of the elements of the character. From the first issue alone, of CONSTANTINE: THE HELLBLAZER, there's more of an adult element here, which is a nice touch since it doesn't feel like the character is being held back and it feels a bit more like the Constantine fans know from the Vertigo run.
Constantine isn't the easiest character to just dive right into, for readers, but what Ming Doyle and James Tynion IV do insanely well is make this first issue more of a Constantine 101 than anything else. We're getting a great feel for who this character is and what he's all about. We're dealt a whole-heaping pile of John's personality here. The reader is also introduced to the world and what John can see as well, and it just gets weirder and weirder from there. Doyle and Tynion do a stellar job at reintroducing this character to the DCU.
Great to see Riley Rossmo and Ivan Plascensia working on this book together. They just came off a great run with the first volume of RASPUTIN and while their art doesn't feel "adult," it's a nice contrast for situations when you see someone covered in blood. And maybe it's because there's this familiarity with their art and ghosts, but Rossmo and Plascensia just feel write for this book. The weirder things get within the pages of the book, the more it feels right.
Readers are also treated to a cool two-page layout featuring ten, long, horizontal panels that have the reader holding the book sideways to read. Aside from the look of it being really cool, it creates an interaction between the reader and the comic that few books do, aside from the most recent time we've seen something like this with TRILLIUM. Doing something like this keeps the reader invested and on their toes.
The book is a bit too sexual for my personal tastes. John is overly flirtatious with anyone around him. It's not too far off from moments we've seen in the Vertigo series, and it's nice to see this book embrace John as a bi-sexual (for all intents and purposes), but the intense flirtation John has with everyone put me off a tad. I'm sure I'll get over my prudeness with issue #2.
The first issue of CONSTANTINE: THE HELLBLAZER is a promising one. It is extremely new reader friendly and brings the adult element back to the character and book. The first issue sets up an interesting story and the art here is pretty fantastic and fitting for the tone Doyle and Tynion are setting here. I cannot wait to see what's next for the character and find out why it's his fault all the ghosts that follow him are dying. I highly recommend checking this first issue out. It's extremely promising and a very solid issue.