Staring at the Wall

Author: Mike Carey
Artists: Doug Alexander Gregory and Marcelo Frusin
Titan Books
RRP 9.99
ISBN 1 84576 233 9
Available 24 February 2006

The signs have been appearing too frequently, and with too much violence, to be mistaken any longer. Something dark and fearsome beyond measure is chewing its way through the membranes that separate this world from the howling chaos that surrounds it, and John Constantine is determined to crush the threat any way he can. With the grudging help of several "colleagues" in the magic game, as well as his niece Gemma, his new girlfriend Angie, and the being known as the Swamp Thing, Constantine is fashioning an inescapable snare for humanity's would-be destroyer. But who is going to be the bait for this waking nightmare - and who will really be caught when the trap is sprung...?

Staring at the Wall is the third volume collecting Mike Carey's take on the Hellblazer universe. This collection reprints the apocalyptic story arcs Bred in the Bone and Staring at the Wall from issues 187-193 of Hellblazer.

Has Constantine finally met his match? When he is tricked into allowing an unspeakable evil lose on earth, our hero has to race against the clock to put everything back the way it should be. However, with mankind slowly sinking deeper into the abyss, what good will it do us if Constantine prevails? Already millions of humans have succumbed to the madness that has sent them off on a killing spree.

This collection is one of the most gripping Constantine yarns I've read to date. It's creepy, intelligently written and beautifully illustrated. There's also an amusing nod given to Dr No - while raising from the sea and onto a beach, Gemma asks herself whether Ursula Andress got hypothermia and sand in her knickers.

Hellblazer fans will not be disappointed.

Nick Smithson

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