Hellblazer 22 (2018)
I was pleasantly surprised to see a Swamp Thing appearance in Hellblazer earlier this month. Although it was a flashback panel, Swamp Thing is seen in all his glory fighting against the Brujería. It’s quite an Indiana Jones moment for all involved.
See ST 48 cover for similar imagery.
This flashback comes by way of Negral the demon, who is-yet again-seeking revenge on John Constantine. He explains John’s past influence on demon related encounters.
John works in the dirtiest and most divisive scenarios he can find and a clean, cartoonish Hellblazer book doesn’t quite feel at home, or right by the characters involved. It’s like the aesthetic downplays the dire situation of John and the cast of hellish characters. It’s only one of the various reasons why I’ve stopped reading the current Hellblazer series. It’s had its lumps and plot twists, but not for the better. I hope the title will once again hold the weight it used to. I’ve been pondering the current Hellblazer series in relation to Swamp Thing not having an on-going series. I’m entertained in thinking that Swamp Thing is more relevant and gaining more momentum in not having his own series. When we see Swamp Thing pop-up in books he’s the saving grace to such characters as Batman, Superman, Wonder Woman and Aquaman (ref. New 52–current day). Swamp Thing is acting as a guiding force and go-to for catastrophic as well as internal/personal struggles. You can’t beat that. And I understand that Hellblazer/Constantine was never intended to be that kind of a book/character but he would perhaps have a more poignant existence if not in an on-going series.
The plot threads that seemed exciting within this series have fallen away, unresolved and the plot that remains leaves Constantine sidestepping antagonists (like demonic mob-families), one after another. It’s as if Constantine is in a fight simulator, and rather than the character being developed, he’s just rolling with the punches. I really hope for more for the character. He’s extremely fun, versatile and a strength to the DCU.