Rake at the Gates of Hell

Author: Garth Ennis
Artist: Steve Dillon
Titan Books
RRP: £16.99
ISBN 1 84023 673 6
Available now

After twice outwitting and humiliating the Prince of Darkness, Constantine isn't anxious to make a third attempt - but he hasn't got much of a choice. Freed from his stand-off in Hell, the Devil is coming to collect, and nothing on God's Earth can stand in his way. Unfortunately, when the Devil comes to town, "peace" is never what follows...

Rake at the Gates of Hell is split into two separate story arcs. The first concerns Satan and his quest to hunt down Constantine for tricking him in the past. The second takes a look at family life and how no matter how old we are, we are still capable of acting like children when it comes to our family.

This is by far the best Hellblazer collection produced so far. The pairing up of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon is central to this. This was the pair that brought us the fantastic Preacher series. And Ennis' obsession with God being a bit of a clot is as large as life as ever.

Elements of this reminded me of an old Not the Nine O'Clock News sketch about Christianity: "Satan! Is he all bad?" Not according to Hellblazer. He's just a misunderstood bi-product of God.

And Steve Dillon's artwork beautifully complements Ennis' mad vision - whether he be illustrating a couple making love, or a kid having his face shot off.

While there are elements of racism creeping in to this collection, their inclusion merely illustrates how pathetic society is and how this archaic practice is still alive in supposedly enlightened times.

Storytelling doesn't get much better than this.

Pete Boomer

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