In Review: Constantine #5

The cover: The image tells you all you need to know: Constantine now has the power of Captain Marvel. Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira & Brad Anderson have wrought a cover that captures the power and color of this magical theft. Where we’re going has me concerned, but through no fault of the gentlemen involved with this cover. Overall grade: B+

The story: This is a tie-in/interlude to Trinity War. Lloyd is locking up his bar, the Joint, for the evening when Constantine and Captain Marvel enter. Our anti-hero tells Cap that the Shazam spell is eating him up, possibly set up by Black Adam, and that if Cap can turn the spell off, he might be able to neutralize it. Cap says the word, becomes Billy Batson, and, using a “little ritual artifact” invokes a spell where he and Billy switch voices. “Stealing Thunder” by Ray Fawkes is a good premise for a story. Billy can’t change because his new voice can’t invoke the spell; only John can because he has Billy’s voice. This way the power of Shazam isn’t exploited as Superman’s power was in the opening chapter of The Trinity War storyline. Got it? This is fine with me, but you can predict what John is going to have to do at some point, and he does. That’s when I checked out. Those six pages were just too much for me. I can buy into John containing someone’s power, but using it, like this, was so beyond his character. I painfully read on, hoping for a quick ending. Thankfully the conclusion is better than its middle, and we’ve got John paying the piper for actions in issue one. Overall grade: C

The art: Very good art on this book by the talented Renato Guedes, though those darned six pages, because of their subject matter, stuck in my craw so much it lowered my grade. Those first nine pages are terrific–the power coming off of Cap is stellar, and John has never looked so devious as he does in the second panel on Page 4. But that outfit on Page 9 and the first panel on Page 14 is laughable. I don’t know how Guedes could have salvaged it without going into parody, so I’ll give him props for doing his absolute best, serious try. Page 19, rightly, returns the correct tone to this book, and Page 20 a great teaser for next issue. Overall grade: B-

The colors: The highpoint of the book is Marcelo Maiolo. On Page 2 he establishes the awesome blue-white energy leaking out of Captain Marvel. And as awesome as that is, the shading on Constantine in the final panel of Page 3 shows how crooked our title character is. In fact, Maiolo creates wonderful “light” effects throughout this issue: Pages 4, 6, 8, 10, 14, 15, and 19 and 20 use blue to perfection, even on dialogue balloons! Outstanding! Overall grade: A+

The letters: Scene setting, dialogue, sound effects, and screams issue from Taylor Esposito. I loved the demon’s font but hated all the screams and yells that were larger than their balloons. This makes the sounds look small. C’mon, Editor Brian Cunningham and Assistant Editor Kate Stewart, big sounds require big balloons! Can’t you see how small this book sounds because of the mini-balloons? Overall grade: C+

The final line: This issue justifies my dislike for the Trinity War storyline. Good visuals, but an unnecessary interlude in a great storyline. Overall grade: C+


Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s 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. He’s now at a high school where he taught 9th graders but currently teaches English to 10th graders. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars or Indiana Jones items online.


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