In Review: Constantine #1

The covers: Three is the magic number for the number of people involved on the Regular cover. Ivan Reis, Joe Prado, and Rod Reis have John holding a small pentagram pendant in his left hand and casting a spell similarly shaped from his right. Nice, but I’m still getting used to this character not looking like Sting. Good use of blues. The Variant cover is by interior artist Renato Guedes showing John on a grave with some locals arriving. Nice, but nowhere in this issue. Overall grades: Regular A and Variant A-

The story: The first part of The Spark and the Flame, “The Price We Pay”, by Ray Fawkes & Jeff Lemire opens in New York with John meeting a colleague named Chris who’s having painful visions, again. Quickly taking him to his apartment under a pet shop (Which has a great justification!), Chris states and shows the location of his vision, taking them to an exotic locale in another country, which leads to an uber-villain’s appearance. Moments in the book felt like the best of Hellblazer (Pages 7 – 9), but it was too safe, too mainstream. John’s quick ability to go overseas and the book’s baddie is a step backwards for this character. The first rule of any story or character is “If it aint’ broke, don’t fix it.” I found myself muttering “Why?” often as I read. Overall grade: C+

The art: Renato Guedes was a good choice for the artist on this book. The first image on the second page proves he can draw John. I wasn’t thrilled with Chris’s look, though; too Harry Pott–er, Tim Hunter. I absolutely fell in love with the splash on Page 5, but, sadly, the story doesn’t stay there. Pages 7 – 9 are terrific! And Guedes’s interpretation of the villain was excellent! Overall grade: A+

The colors: Constantine’s world is dark, yet Mancelo Maiolo knows how to brighten things up enough and where to put the reader’s focus. I was most impressed with his handling of the final setting, which is not exactly the most colorful, nor the most expected for Constantine. Well done! Overall grade: A+

The letters: Great lettering and sound effects from Sal Cipriano. He has to do a lot of dialogue, but his “FUMF” stole the show. Overall grade: A

The final line: This book looks good, but didn’t do anything for me story-wise. I’m not going to buy any further issues and will just keep myself content by reading my old Hellblazers. Overall grade: B

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