Empathy is the Enemy

Author: Denise Mina
Artist: Leonardo Manco
Titan Books
RRP: 8.99, US $14.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 8457 6382 4
ISBN-10: 1 84576 382 3
Available 22 December 2006

Following a chance meeting in a London pub, Constantine finds himself swept along on the road to Glasgow, Scotland, where the murder rate is soaring and the most popular diet consists of cigarettes, whisky and sugar - in other words, a city where Constantine feels right at home. But things are different this time. Constantine has been cursed with the worst thing he can feel: empathy for his fellow human beings...

Empathy is the Enemy is an interesting addition to the Hellblazer series. After an odd meeting in a pub, our hero is whisked off on an unexpected journey to help a man to forget the past, and when he does help him to forget he wishes he hadn't, as all sorts of unspeakable evils are being raised and someone is constantly one step ahead of Constantine - leading him a merry dance that will change his life for good.

It looks as though Constantine has finally met his match as we discover that someone, or thing, has carefully planned for every contingency. And even when Constantine is aware that he's heading into a trap he's still not prepared for just how much trouble someone has gone to to snare him.

Not only does this collection have an impressive narrative, but the art is first rate too. It's dark and moody - perfectly complimenting the author's twisted vision. I also loved the fact that this graphic novel isn't your typical tale. The lines of good and evil are blurred here as Constantine unearths what is going on and there are more than a few twists to keep you on your toes.

To be perfectly honest this is one of the best Hellblazer collections I've read so far. Well constructed, beautifully illustrated, what more could fans ask for?

Pete Boomer

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