Review: Hellblazer: City of Demons

Published on May 31st, 2011

If you’ve been listening to the Pick of the Week Podcasts lately, you’ve probably noticed that Simon and I have really been enjoying the Hell out of Hellblazer (pun intended). John Constantine is one of those characters that I’ve always liked, but I never read the comics. Despite its many flaws, I even liked the movie Constantine, I’d be willing to see a sequel. But for the past couple of weeks I’ve been picking up a lot of the Trades. The latest, being the most recent trade from Si Spencer and Sean Murphy entitled: City of Demons. Well, I got a kick out of it and thought it would be a good book for this week’s Trade Tuesday.

cityofdemonsSo, one night John Constantine is out at a local pub, just trying to enjoy a nice quiet beer. He goes out for a cigarette (or as the British say, a fag (How funny is that?)) where he starts getting harassed by a couple of jerks who pull knives on John. Well, Constantine uses some of his magic to turn the guys’ knives on each other. Satisfied with the events, Constantine turns around and then gets hit by a bus. After some emergency surgery, John wakes up in a hospital, and he’s pretty banged up. He finds out that he’ll be spending the next three months in there to heal. On the bright side, he’s got a pretty attractive young nurse to keep him company.

While Constantine is recuperating, some crazy things start happening throughout the city. Mostly, people going crazy and killing others in some pretty brutal ways. Turns out, the surgeons that performed Constantine’s surgery thought it would be pretty interesting if they took John’s well known to be demon contaminated blood and used it for blood transfusions for people in the hospital. So now, there’s a whole army of people with demon blood running around and causing all sorts of havoc and it’s up to John Constantine to clean up the mess.

So, I’m fairly new to Hellblazer, I’ve only been reading the current issues for a few months now. I’m slowly going through the trades, but as someone who’s new to the book, I think this trade is a pretty good place to start with. The character has been around for almost thirty years now, but all you need to know for this trade is that Constantine knows all about the supernatural and he’s had a blood transfusion from a demon. If you know that, you can read this book without being confused.

I think Spencer did a really good job on this book. First off, I think it’s a pretty original storyline. It would have been easy to do something that’s been done a million times before, like vampires or zombies, but I think Constantine having to deal with his blood being used to make people go insane was pretty out there. And he did a few things in this book that I did not see coming, especially the ending. It’s also really creepy and kind of disturbing. There’s some stuff that the demon infected people do, that was worse than any nightmare I’ve ever had. Murphy’s art fit perfectly with this book, I really liked what he did with the character’s eyes when they went crazy.  He’s got that gritty style of art that you usually expect to see in a Batman book, that really compliments this story.

If you’re a new fan or an old fan of Constantine, I think you’d like this book. I will say that it got a little confusing in a few parts, but it’s nothing that makes the book unreadable. So, why don’t you go on over to Amazon and pick up a copy for yourself. It’s only about 10 bucks, and it’s darn good. Plus it’s even got a bonus Hellblazer Christmas story that was written by Dave Gibbons of Watchmen fame.

Ken Zeider
Ken@ComicImpact.com