Brandon Borzelli's Geek Goggle Reviews
Lemire, Fawkes & Guedes
The controversial launch of the DC Universe version of the beloved character John Constantine hits this week with a very ordinary story. For the most part, this comic is equal parts character driven and plot driven as the reader gets a good enough glimpse into Constantine as a character while the book is decidedly headed down the path of a thick plot. The book is okay but nothing great. There isn't a major reinvention of the character and there isn't anything particularly unique about him either. It's an average read but looks like an easy launching point for the curious reader.
Basically, the comic provides a good base for the character that probably holds true in any incarnation of the character: he smokes, he's involved in magic and he's not very trustworthy. This book gives the reader a concise story that highlights how the character operates, especially around others. Constantine sets out on a quest of sorts, he finds something that others want and away we go. It's all fairly standard but at least the creators introduce some supporting cast to draw on later.
The part of the book that doesn't really work is the villain aspect of the comic. It feels very forced and seems to be too super hero-like. It made the back half of the book move quickly but it just killed off the slow dramatic build aspect of the beginning. Yet, it brought the book to the decent close that helped to punctuate what the character is all about. It felt this book couldn't quite decide if it wanted to define Constantine through dialogue or action and it tried a hybrid approach that I wasn't a fan of.
The artwork is nice. It certainly is brighter than the Vertigo incarnation of the title. However, the female villain really had way too much cleavage, making the comic feel too much like a Catwoman book instead of an edgier DCU fringe title. Much like the story it seems like the book couldn't decide if it wanted to a standard super hero book or a Vertigo-like book (such as Animal Man). It went with hybrid and it didn't connect with me.
Obviously, the fans that hated the idea of a DCU Constantine aren't going to like this anyway, much like the Before Watchmen (creator rights issue aside) debacle. However, unlike Before Watchmen, this comic is looked to set a direction into the future of the character and not connect the dots to something that already exists that people love. If you are new to Constantine or indifferent to the idea of a DCU version of the character then you probably will find just enough to come back for more, especially if you like jagged lead characters or elements of magic. This was an average comic book with some glimpses of future promise.
3 out of 5 Geek Goggles