I am slowly working through all of the Hellblazer books via these huge collections and they are all very dense reads. There’s just always a lot of stuff happening in them and it has that world building that never quite stops.
The theme of this one might have been family and dealt with the Family Man, but that’s not the only story in the book. It’s told a bit more like life. Stuff happens, one thing leads to another, he doesn’t do anything else about it and something happens in the mean time before he gets back to the main plot. Three months pass and he does something else in the mean time.
Despite it being the fourth volume in the series, you can pick it up with very little understanding of anything that happened before. All you really know is that Constantine is an asshole that gets involved in the occult. Very little in here involves you needing to know what happened before.
Instead of relying heavily on the occult, this volume is about a regular old serial killer that just happens to use a contact to get his victims that is involved in the supernatural and knows Constantine. The magic involved in the story is relegated to the epilogue, after the Family Man arc proper is over, which is really nice. Instead, we get to spend the story watching Constantine, a man who’s dealt with demons and unholy abominations of all sorts, lose his shit over a man coming after him. He’s scared and it’s great to see.
It does read like a bit of a jumble, though. There’s side stories and what I assume are specials that are spliced into the main story, giving it the sense that all of these things are happening one after another. Personally, I like it because it feels a lot more like how the events actually would unfold for him, but I can understand where it would lose people.
In short, I’m really enjoying Hellblazer and can’t wait for the next volume in this re-release.1
- This re-release which is numbered because my god, I could not figure out the order of the old system [↩]