The Hellblazer Collection

Authors: Various
Artists: Various
Titan Books
RRP 9.99
ISBN 1 84023 979 4
Available 25 February 2005

In the City of Angels, Hell has always simmered just below the surface. At the shadowy border between this world and the next, John Constantine works to keep the demonic forces at bay. In the course of investigating a woman's apparent suicide, however, he discovers that something new is coming up from the inferno - something that will destroy the delicate balance between Heaven and Hell and plunge the Earth into catastrophic, otherworldly war. But can Constantine save a world which terminal cancer is about to take away from him - especially when he knows his own soul is already condemned to eternal damnation?...

Do you remember years ago when movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Wars and the Star Trek movies were released? A graphic novel (in the form of an annual) was released in the UK which retold the story. In America they were generally released as 4-part comics. Seems those days no longer exist, as the comics industry churn out movies in as small a page count as possible.

Constantine: The Hellblazer Collection is just the latest release that also needs to add other stories to bulk it out in order to make it more attractive. The last graphic novel that also did this was Catwoman: The Movie and Other Cat Tales.

Constantine kicks off with the movie plot. Oh dear! What has Hollywood done? This is more Angel than Hellblazer - seriously. Why did they bother to take the Hellblazer story at all? First they change the title of the movie so that those who decide they like it and then want to buy the graphic novels won't know where to start. And then they change everything that John Constantine was.

He does not have a pretty cop as a sidekick. Nor would he have hooked up with one in order to solve what seems like a pretty clear suicide (although - shock! horror! - it's not). And there is no plot - not a whiff of anything that would make you sit in a darkened cinema for more than 20 minutes anyway.

And then, to add insult to injury, they trot out three additional mediocre Hellblazer tales that leave you hanging in mid air. Yup! There's a "Continued in..." panel to make you go out and buy the comics. How cheap is that?

Steer clear - well clear - of this absolute waste of paper and ink. I'm off for a shower. I feel unclean.

Nick Smithson

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