Constantine continues his search for the final piece of a compass an artifact that has the potential to find any magical resource in the world, such is its danger in the wrong hands it has been split into three and hidden around the world. John has found and lost the needle but is now in possession of the dial and closing in on the lens which he discovered has been hidden in London. Hot on his heels also chasing the compass are Sargon the sorceress and the blind Mage Mr.E an name to strike terror in anyone heart if ever I heard one, Constantine managed to escape from Mr E in issue 2 mainly because Mr.E couldn’t see what he was up to a chink in Mr. E’s armour I suspect that needs addressing.
Once back in London Constantine begins to suffer from a blood curse (origin unknown) that seemingly slowly drains the life out of him when he visits the capital, I have to admit London has that effect on me but it’s usually down to seeing my football team getting beaten or the prices pubs down there charge for flat beer but I digress.
John has a cunning plan (cue Baldrick) to deal with his curse which involves a ride in an enchantment protected car a cunning plan indeed, unfortunately John and his driver take an unexpected trip to an alternate dimension where he strikes a bargain for his and his drivers life with the demon who is trapped there, the Riddling Butcher (now there's a name take notes Mr.E)
Back in the real world the final confrontation between Constantine, Sargon and Mr. E takes place in an antiques lens shop, where Constantine seemingly trapped in a magical circle is forced to explain that the hidden lens for the compass is in fact the eyes of the shop owner. A man who is been tortured by the two Mage's to reveal where the lens is, it transpires that the shop owner is the son of the man who built the compass. As with all things Constantine you know he is one step ahead of everyone else and just when all looks bleak he unleashes the Riddling Butcher on Sargon and Mr.E, we find out it was Sargon’s farther was the one who trapped the demon in the alternate dimension and he wants revenge if not on him then on his daughter. Everything goes to hell the lenses are lost in the grizzly way you would expect, Sargon and Mr E are left fighting for their life’s against a very upset demon while Constantine escapes their trap and teleports out of London leaving them to their fate, although later back in New York during self reflection he admits they would probably survive and would be out for revenge.
So that’s the first story arc over and for this long time Hellblazer fan it has been a pleasant surprise as I found the book more to my likeing than I thought I would, its a good introduction story for anyone who wasn’t aware of Constantine and for long time fans it had enough of the Hellblazer elements to keep us interested. Ray Fawkes and Jeff Lemire have made a good start in establishing Constantine into the DC Universe while still keeping some of the elements of the character established in the Vertigo one.
My one complaint about the book (I always have one) is that its just too bright and colourful, I prefer my Constantine stories drawn dark and gritty but this is a new universe so I will have to live with it. I would like to add that the last statement is not a knock on Renato Guedes’ art which is excellent, but the first 3 books have had just a little too much colour for me.