The Hellblazer: Rebirth #1 (DC)



Rating: 3.5/5 – Moving Farther Away, but Still Part of the DCU.
By ComicSpectrum senior reviewer Shawn Hoklas.

After DC’s Brightest Day event, John Constantine was thrown back into the main DC Universe after being part of Vertigo for so long. Although it was an exciting premise to see him standing alongside of the iconic DC heroes as he did when he first appeared, I don’t feel as though it ever really caught on. Seeing him alongside Swamp Thing of course felt natural and him leading the Justice League Dark team had its moments, but seeing him star in something like Trinity War felt like a miss. Now in this Rebirth issue, Constantine’s settings are changing which will again lead him away from the DCU, while still allowing for the potential of him to mingle with DC’s super-heroes and villains.

After a flashback scene shows Constantine dealing with a demon who he’ll face off with again as the main part of the story, we see Constantine leaving New York City. The reason…Constantine explains that it was starting to feel like home “but when a racist, short fingered failed meat salesman began circling the White House…things started take a turn for the strange, even for me”. Writer Simon Oliver’s choice to have Constantine leave New York because of Trump and the strangeness surrounding him didn’t make a whole lot of sense, and took me out of the story for a bit (I don’t need Trump invading my comics!), but getting him away from DC’s heroes, even if it’s for just a bit is a smart choice.

After the strange opening though, Oliver does a nice job of explaining just who Constantine is and what makes him so special. The same demon who we see in the flashback scene at the beginning battles John in London, casting a spell that has potential to wipe out eight million lives. During this time Oliver gives the reader a peek into Constantine’s past and family as John attempts to turn the tables. Artist Moritat is a nice choice for this type of story and character. Where his art doesn’t match is when we see a cameo scene starring Shazam and Wonder Woman. They look off and some of their expressions don’t match the scene taking place around them, showing again that it’s the right move to have Constantine further away from the heroes if this is the artistic choice.

This Rebirth issue is similar to DC’s other Rebirth premieres. It’s a primer for new readers and allows the creative teams to establish the tone for the series. Oliver and Moritat are able to do this. The ending seems a little too convenient, but also leaves the reader with questions as to just what type of person Constantine is, which I feel is a smart move. Yes he’s a hero, but he’s also kind of an untrustworthy jerk. Although I didn’t love this issue, I like the direction it’s headed and am confident that it’ll get better now that Constantine is still part of, but farther away from the main DCU.

Reviewed by: Shawn Hoklas
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3 Responses to The Hellblazer: Rebirth #1 (DC)

  1. Out of all the Rebirth titles so far, this was one of the few I did not care for.

  2. Moritat’s art seemed inconsistent across this issue.
    I also did not care for the inclusion of Wonder Woman, Shazam & Swamp Thing. They seemed shoe-horned into the story. They served no purpose other than to provide a cameo that might get a Super-Hero completist to buy the issue.
    Finally, the funny little symbols that substitute for swearing got on my nerves. Either swear or do not swear. Don’t do this silly middle ground. – Bob

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