The Devil You Know

Author: Jamie Delano
Artists: David Lloyd, Richard Piers Rayner, Mark Buckingham, Bryan Talbot and others
Titan Books
RRP: 11.99, US $19.99
ISBN-13: 978 1 84576 470 6
ISBN-10: 1 84576 490 0
Available 27 July 2007

It's been a long and difficult road for John Constantine - one that's left him with demon's blood in his veins and dead friends' voices in his head. Still, with his sharp tongue and unequalled shrewdness, the sorcerer from Liverpool has managed to raise himself to the position of the magician of last resort for a world under constant siege from the forces of chaos and evil. That same rough path has also sharpened his mind, and taught him a thing or two about ruthlessness. Now, with the outcome of an ancient prophecy hanging on his actions, it's time for Constantine to being the scales of justice back into balance - at Hell's expense...

The Devil You Know collects together issues 10-13 and the first Annual of the Hellblazer comic series, as well as the 2-issue miniseries The Horrorist.

If nothing else, this collection is an interesting look at how Hellblazer has evolved over the past 20 years. The first few stories are from the late '80s and, to be honest are a little pretentious, but still enjoyable.

The best tale in this collection is the title story The Devil You Know. Yet again this sees Constantine attempting to outsmart a resident of Hell. Constantine employs the services of Ritchie Simpson, who he thought was long since dead after his last encounter, but it turns out that his soul has been living in cyberspace. Will he help Constantine? Or is he still angry that he left him to spend eternity in limbo?

The rest of the stories in this collection are interesting, and add much to the Hellblazer universe - although I wasn't overly impressed by the rather long and drawn out The Bloody Saints. It was too long and dull and didn't really seem to go anywhere.

On the whole though, this is an enjoyable collection that will find a welcome home in all Hellblazer fans' collections.

Nick Smithson

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