John Constantine, Hellblazer 1: Original Sins

8.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Art: 7/10

Dark and for adults

Dated story might be out of touch for some,

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Hellblazer

Publisher:  DC Comics/Vertigo

Writer: Jamie Delano

Artist:  John Ridgway/Alfredo Alcala

# of Issues:  9

Release Date:  1993


Hellblazer #1

Reprints Hellblazer #1-9 (January 1988-September 1988). John Constantine is a bit of a rogue with a affinity toward the occult. As he explores the dark side of the world, Constantine finds himself facing demons of all kind that have invaded Earth. Be it African spirits, yuppie demons, or the ghosts of Constantine’s past, John Constantine will fight evil and enjoy a nice smoke.

Written by Jamie Delano and illustrated by John Ridgway and Alfredo Alcala, John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 1: Original Sins collects the first series of stories in the long running DC series. The book was originally an early collection without numbering, but now the series is being collected in a more traditional way and newer versions also include Swamp Thing (2) #76-77 (September 1988-October 1988) which continues the story.

John Constantine is a very different “superhero” that was revolutionary at the time. Having first appeared in The Saga of the Swamp Thing #37 (June 1985), Hellblazer is a very ’80s series at this point and prime example of DC’s early Vertigo (though it wasn’t called Vertigo at the time). Hellblazer demonstrated a change in comic writing which began with Constantine’s creator Alan Moore in DC’s Swamp Thing and other more adult takes on comics.


Hellblazer #7

Unlike modern comics, the issues in Hellblazer: Original Sin don’t tell much of a story. There is a bit of the story of John Constantine’s past and his allies (many of which you meet here), but for the most part the comics are stand alone or a few issue arcs. It is a bit jarring for modern readers, but the stories still have a darkness and sense of satire that also isn’t present in many of today’s comics.

I have always found Constantine’s manner rather amusing and very English. He is like a rather foul-mouthed version of the Doctor from Doctor Who. He just stumbles into strange occurances and knows his stuff, but really just seems to luck his way through events. Like the Doctor, Constantine seems to have a strange infatuation with the occult and likes to test the danger despite it getting into trouble.

Hellblazer: Original Sins is for adults and probably won’t truly be understood by people who aren’t familiar with the period from which it springs. If you are a fan of the current version of John Constantine, it might be strange to go back to his roots and see how he started. The collection also features a cameo appearance of his longtime ally Swamp Thing.  John Constantine, Hellblazer 1: Original Sins is followed by John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 2: The Devil You Know.

Related Links:

John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 2:  The Devil You Know

Constantine Volume 1:  The Spark and the Flame

Constantine Volume 2:  Blight

Constantine Volume 3:  The Voice in the Fire

Constantine Volume 4:  The Apocalypse Road

Constantine (2005)

Constantine—The Complete Series Review and Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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