This week bring us the finale of Mark Millar and Sean Murphy’s Chrononauts, and John Constantine gets another DC do-over with Constantine: The Hellblazer!
Chrononauts #4 (of 4) (Image Comics)
Mark Millar and Sean Murphy’s time-travelling tale reaches its climax this week, and it’s a doozy. If you’ve been following the adventures of Danny and Corbin then you already know about all of the insane time stream hijinks they’ve been pulling, and just how bad off they are right now. At the start of this issue, I was worried that Millar and Murphy wouldn’t be able to pull off a satisfying confusing. Amazingly though, the two pull off a thrilling and heartfelt conclusion that surprises you at every turn.
Corbin and Danny are trapped in time, in more ways than one. Their time travel suits are busted, and a crazy dictator who wants to use their suits to take over the world has them trapped. With Danny held captive; Corbin comes up with an insane plan to rescue his friend, which I won’t spoil here. But what I will say is that it’s fantastic, and when I got to that page in the book, I was stunned. After rescuing his friend, Corbin and Danny decide that they have to set things back to the way they were, but Corbin, who has never made time for the people he cares about, isn’t so keen on the idea. He wants to go back and make time for his dad, his girlfriend, and the other people in his life that he put work in front of. Danny convinces Corbin to fix those aspects of his life, and the two set out to correct the time stream.
It’s in this unexpected emotional moment that Chrononauts #4 shines. The action scenes and chemistry between Corbin and Danny are fantastic, but like he did with Starlight, Mark Millar hits you with a huge emotional beat that you didn’t realize was there throughout the series. The panels depicting the moments that Corbin “shows up” for are spectacular, and his reaction when he and Danny return to “their” timeline is priceless.
Also priceless is the art from Sean Murphy, who’s created some of the best work of his career with this series. Murphy pulls out all the stops for this issue, giving us dinosaurs, Roman soldiers, tanks, samurais, and more. But like Millar, Murphy’s art shines brightest in the emotional beats as well. The moment I mentioned earlier, where Corbin sees his “new life”, is incredible, and Murphy’s artwork in this panel is perfect.
Of all of the recent Mark Millar Image titles, I honestly feel like Chrononauts is my favorite. Millar and Murphy crafted a fun story that’s filled with hilarious and heartfelt moments. I’d say it would make an awesome movie, but I don’t have to since a film is already in the works with an actor attached (no, no one knows who). If you want to get a jumpstart on what could be the next Kingsman, do so now. You won’t regret it.
Constantine: The Hellblazer #1
Poor John Constantine. First his original Hellblazer Vertigo series is cancelled and replaced by a “New 52” relaunch book called Constantine. Then he was given a new TV series on NBC that lasted just 13 episodes, only to be cancelled this week after trying to go to other channels. Well, John’s got some light on the horizon this week, with a new series called Constantine: The Hellblazer as part of the “DCYou” mini-relaunch from Joshua Hale Fialkov, Ming Doyle, and Riley Rossmo, John might be getting a new lease on life, but he’ll need a bit more if he’ll last any longer on the comic racks.
Constantine: Hellblazer finds John Constantine recovering from a recent demon attack, and covered head to toe in blood. He ‘s also naked. Haunted by ghosts (including some that were his friends), John’s constantly talking to himself, or self-medicating to get them away from him. When he’s confronted by an old demon lover, John reluctantly agrees to help her deal with her “imp problem”, even though he knows there’s probably more to her story than she’s letting on.
Joshua Hale Fialkov and Ming Doyle certainly have the characterization of John Constantine down. Many times throughout Hellblazer I felt like I could hear Constantine actor Matt Ryan’s voice in my head. Where the team stumbles is in the plot department. Simply put, there isn’t much to this opening issue. While we get some interesting tidbits on John’s life and his addictions, the main plot of the issue isn’t something that we haven’t seen before in previous Constantine stories.
At the very least, Riley Rossmo’s art helps this book stand out from previous Constantine stories. The Bedlam and Debris artist’s style really fits the tone of the series well, and the layout depicting the “Seven Layers” of John’s demon lover’s nightclub is fantastic. Rossmo’s an artist that has been making waves within the indie world for a while, and hopefully Constantine; The Hellblazer gives him a push into the mainstream.
While the plot Constantine: The Hellblazer’s first issue isn’t all that memorable, I like Fialkov and Doyle’s take on the character enough to give it another issue. While it’s still strange to see the character working within the DC Universe, Hellblazer actually falls a little more in line with the original Vertigo series than the previous “New 52” relaunch. The materials are all here for Constantine: The Hellblazer to work; it just needs a little more thought put into it.