John Constantine, Hellblazer 2: The Devil You Know

john constantine hellblazer volume 2 the devil you know cover review
6.0 Overall Score
Story: 5/10
Art: 7/10

Decent Art

Confusingly written stories

Comic Info

Comic Name: Comic name

Publisher: Comic Public

Writer: Writer

Artist: Artist

# of Issues: Movie Rating

Release Date: Release Date

hellblazer #12 cover dc vertigo john constantine

Hellblazer #12

Reprints Hellblazer #10-13, Annual #1 and The Horrorist #1-2 (October 1988-January 1996). John Constantine’s past is coming back to haunt him. His early foray into the occult led to the damnation of a child and destroy his circle of friends…now Constantine must face the darkness again. Plus, Constantine’s ancestors are explored, and Constantine travels to America to face a growing horror.

Written by James Delano, John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 2: The Devil You Know is a collection of the long-running DC Comics series. Following John Constantine, Hellblazer Volume 1: Original Sins, the collection has been reprinted multiple times and features art by David Lloyd, Richard Piers Rayner, Mark Buckingham, Bryan Talbot, Mike Hoffman, and Dean Motter. The collection also contains the two issue prestige format series The Horrorist (December 1995-January 1996).

Constantine and Hellblazer are hard for me. I really want to like the character. When the series was released, Hellblazer was edgy and different. Reading Hellblazer now however feels like reading every DC-Vertigo comic since Hellblazer’s release. It feels desperately edgy, and Constantine often comes off as more annoying than charming.

hellblazer #13 cover john constantine

Hellblazer #13

Constantine is supposed to be almost too cool. He doesn’t care about anybody or anything (outwardly), but he’s supposed to have sensitivity underneath. This collection tries to show part of the reason behind Constantine’s distant behavior by explaining his past. While this is essentially “the secret origin of Constantine”, it feels like it should have come a bit earlier in the series.

The annual which dives into Constantine’s past also feels like a throwaway in that it is written in such a confusing manor that it loses a lot of its impact. Basically, the Constantine family has a history (by following Kon-Sten-Tyn), but a tighter, more interwoven story could have told this better. It is long and plodding.

The Horrorist features great art, but it too is difficult to follow the plot. The opening scene involving a man finding “Angel” in the snow has children blowing up from landmines due to the man’s past…but it is virtually impossible to understand this from minimal storytelling. While The Horrorist was released later, it still feels like the series needs a bit more refining and direction to get the weight of the stories.

I will always give Constantine a chance simply because it was an important comic book when it was released. With a lot of the collection rather forgettable and often confusing storylines, most people (except fans of the series) could probably skip this collection. John Constantine, Hellblazer 2: The Devil You Know was followed by John Constantine, Hellblazer 3: The Fear Machine.

Related Links:

John Constantine, Hellblazer 1:  Original Sin

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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