In Review: Constantine #6

The cover: The dead come to collect their debts already? Seems a little soon to be going to this story, but the dead have waited long enough and they want their revenge on the man who gave them up for his own ends. I like the layout, John’s pose and all the details in the throng reaching for him, but John’s expression looks faked. Now, John could be faking his terror, since he always has some trick hidden up his sleeve, but judged on it’s own, John doesn’t look frightened enough. I do like the coloring of the dead–ghastly green. Image by Eddy Barrows, Eber Ferreira & Wil Quintana. Overall grade: B+

The story: A nice three pronged story from Ray Fawkes that neatly comes together in the end, leading into John’s next problem. Picking up from last issue, Lloyd, owner of the Joint, is desperately calling Zatanna for help as John lies dying on the floor. In the afterlife world “in between”, John is confronted by the spirit of Chris, whom he let die in Issue #1. Chris, not happy at being dead or allowed to move on to the great beyond has made friends with a gigantic eight legged creature who will “punish” John for him. Meanwhile, in the Temple of the Cold Flame, in Switzerland, a group learns of John’s plight and wants to assist in his passing. I found these pages the most interesting. The Cold Flame has been a slowly building force against John since the beginning and I’m impressed that Fawkes, rather than having one mage or previous villain, appear and fight, different aspects of the Flame go after John. I’d rather have this progression than a villain of the month routine. The character that first appears on Page 5 is very interesting, and I’m looking forward to seeing more of him. It was neat to see Lloyd in action as well, showing that even if he’s a human, he’s got grit! The reveal on 16 was terrific–this individual is becoming my favorite reoccurring character in this book. His justifications for helping on 19 are completely within his character. The final page is a good tease for next issue, as it answers “How can things possibly get worse?” Overall grade: A

The art: I don’t see how Renato Guedes can do any wrong. I really don’t. His work perfectly captures the real world and also visualizes the otherness of the world of magic well. Page 1 is a nice cinematic introduction to the Joint, the chaos, Lloyd, and John’s state. When we go to the inbetween state John’s in, the background is still the Joint, but it’s become warped and distorted. And when some”thing” is necessary, Guedes can make a humanoid shape otherworldly with a few minor distortions; case in point, the Eliminators–they’re humanoids, but with a few design changes they are spooky and dangerous. I need to also mention Guedes’ solid use of energy. Aside from the Green Lantern books, light as energy is used tremendously in this book, and it’s used well. I love how it’s a search device in this issue. Guedes is outstanding. Overall grade: A+

The colors: Also turning in exemplary work is colorist Marcelo Maiolo. Colors sell the magic as much as the art does. First, I’m so pleased that the goings on in the Joint are brightly lit; it’s nice to see the horror of a situation occasionally, and John’s eminent death and the events that later transpire should be clearly shown. The between place’s coloring is dynamic. Before your brain can begin to process the shift in settings, the colors tell you instantly this is someplace different. A great job! Overall grade: A+

The letters: Dialogue, narration, scene setting, and sound effects all nicely done by Steve Wands. I was concerned there wouldn’t be a lot of big sounds, as I had thought most of this issue would be in the “other” place, but Page 8 and 9 gave a tremendous sound with a pair of howls. Overall grade: A

The final line: After last issue’s forced entry into Trinity War, this is a welcome return to the ground war on magic. Overall grade: A

 

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 since moved to a high school where he taught 9th grade, and currently teaches 10th graders English. 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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