In Review: Constantine #4
The cover: A gleeful Papa Midnite has got John on the ground in a chokehold, blood is coming out of his mouth. If Midnite wasn’t enough of a problem, a freshly risen corpse is reaching out to our anti-hero. A great cover by Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira & Rod Reis. Overall grade: A
The story: The first two pages are a teaser of what’s to come. John is being held down by three men in a tiled room as a Haitian voodoo sorcerer, sensualist, and slaver Papa Midnite threatens him with a machete for stealing. John realizes he knew this would happen at some point. We flashback to three hours earlier as John is helping out his upstairs neighbor Dotty, who suggest he take a break from his work and visit some friends to relax. John remembers Zatana yelling at him and his killing of his friend Chris is Issue #1, but he decides Dotty is right and goes visiting. “All My Friends” by Ray Fawkes & Jeff Lemire is a nice break from the current storyline and gives readers a day in the life of John Constantine. Things don’t stay calm long as the first two pages have shown us where we are heading. Though the scene is only four pages long, the Papa Midnite parts are gold! On Pages 16 – 18 we briefly return to the ongoing plot, but this seemed week in comparison to the rest of the book. I just didn’t believe that this individual would be employed for this job–not buying it. The rest of the story is aces, however, and this serves as a good entry point for anyone who’s missed the first three issues. Overall grade: A
The art: There was too much empty space and the art was too clean for my liking in this issue from Fabiano Neves. Case in point, the first page. The figures are great, as is the hand and the machete. The problem is the background and the floor. Yes, the setting is supposed to be a tiled room, but this background lessens the horror. My eye is drawn to all the empty space. Maybe darker coloring would have helped or bringing the figures close to the blade. See also Page 5. The top third of the panel has too much empty space, which is only emphasized by the third panel. Page 7′s final panel is too clean for a bar top, plus the glass and the bottle are so centered it looks like an art project, and not reality. When a setting is not so dominate Neves is great: Pages 2, 10, 11, 12 (notice how Neves doesn’t complete the background in panels three and four, putting the focus on the characters), and 18. His rendering of John is good, but it’s a mixed bag too often. Overall grade: C+
The colors: I liked that Constantine had a daytime story. It’s nice to have the horror in the light, rather than in the shadows or at night. Marcelo Maiolo does a good job, though the orange sunlight could have been lessened at times (Page 5, panel four; all of Page 6; and the bottom of Page 8). Overall grade: A-
The letters: Carlos M. Mangual pulls off a good sampling of sound effects with dialogue and narration. The letter S at the top of Page 11 was sickeningly good! Overall grade: A
The final line: Great story with okay art. Everyone should read Pages 6 – 12, those are the highlights of this book. Overall grade: B+
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comics Buyers Guide for a few years with “It’s Bound to Happen!” He had to give that up to teach 8th graders English for 19 years, and only recently has been teaching 9th graders English. He reads everything as often as possible, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.