Just be quiet for a minute, would you?
"And the noise — the shrieking, screaming, clattering cacophany of a breaking world goes on forever, beyond the double-glazing of my mind slapped numb evolving slowly into a blackly pregnant beast of stillness, which, one by one, gives low-moaning birth to the ticklings and groanings of tortured steel."
The above quote demonstrates Hellblazer
's single biggest problem. The comic does not know when to shut up. That quote comes from a scene in which the narrator, Constantine, is nearly killed in a train collision. You'd think that such a tremendous crash might interrupt the gratuitous mixed metaphors, run on sentences and hardboiled monologuing for a moment. But no, Constantine doesn't miss a beat.
is a supernatural horror series about a magician who fights demons in a noir-ish version of 1980s England. "Noir-ish"
is the key word here, as the comic indulges the hardboiled tropes with glee. The protagonist is a solitary, down on his luck, smart talking anti-hero who smokes too much, and can only communicate via extravagant
similies. That last characteristic stands out the most. The comic goes on and on with its dystopian, psychedelic, convoluted rhetoric and it isn't long before my patience wanes. There is barely a single panel that doesn't have narration or dialogue. The comic fails to understand that in a largely visual medium, mood and atmosphere are best conveyed through visuals, not writing
. In hardboiled novels, it is necessary to have the narrator blather on so as to set the scene. But in a comic it is largely redundant.
That's sad, because the premise of a demon fighting magician works pretty well. Each arc usually begins with somebody dying in a horrific, ironic death, usually at the hands of equally horrific and ironic devils. There is a lot of imagination and style going into these mysteries, and it is a delight to see such a broad range of mythical elements referenced in each and every issue. The story, characters and magic are both clever and compelling.
Despite my complaining, there is enough to Hellblazer
to warrant a recommendation, but expect the comic to be a bit of a slog. It would be an excellent comic, if only it could get over itself.
I have to ask; which writer wrote the comics you read? See, some use little to no narration, others use a whole lot.
1st Jul 12
This guy obviously hasn't read the whole series. And you described is as "Noir-ish", or hardboiled, even though the Hellblazer series has always been a horror comic than a thriller. Go read the Hard Times paperback, that arc contains little to no narration for you to worry about. I give this review a 4/10.
22nd Oct 13
23rd Oct 13
@maninahat Lol dude Hellblazer IS a horror comic. It says so in Wikipedia and Comic Vine. This is what happens when idiots who don't know comics make themselves look experts. BAD REVIEW
23rd Sep 14
I never said I was an expert. I'll be sure to read more wikipedia though, next time I decide to have an opinion.
24th Sep 14
@Godzilladude Hellblazer IS first and foremost a horror comic.....that's also heavily inspired by Noir. That's why the narration is like an old noir story, and why Constantine himself looks like he was ripped out of one. Don't be a dick because someone doesn't like it.
24th Sep 14
26th Sep 14
If he thought it was the wrong genre, that still doesn't give you a reason to be an ass towards him.
27th Sep 14
Let it be a lesson for him then. If I was ever an ass, well sorry. Criticism does involves negativity and and being a jerk. Maybe next time he should do more research than pissing in the dark.
28th Sep 14
In the original review I say "Hellblazer is a supernatural horror series about a magician who fights demons in a noir-ish version of 1980s England." The fact that I think the noir elements are more prominent than the horror elements doesn't mean I missed the fact that this is a horror series as well, otherwise I wouldn't have wrote that sentence.
28th Sep 14
30th Sep 14
2nd Oct 14
I don't think you know what Noir means, Godzilladude123. Noir is a genre characterized (usually) by cynic investigating protagonists, a heavy, somewhat nihilistic atmosphere, often over-descriptive first-person narrations, a World of Snark
, mystery in every corner and pessimism by the droves.
You will notice I just described Hellblazer. The fact it is a horror comic changes, precisely, jack shit about that. the genre of Urban Fantasy
, of which Hellblazer is a big example, is heavily influenced by Noir's trademark gritty, cynic style. Hell, John Constantine himself is a physical embodiment of Noir protagonists, down to appearance (trenchcoat, messy suit, frequently smokes). Horror and Noir are not mutually exclusive, and Hellblazer embodies both, but it's full to the brim
with Noir influences.
Claiming Hellblazer isn't Noir, but Horror is like claiming House
isn't a drama, but a medical procedural.
The other problem here is that you really should stop being needlessly aggressive towards reviewer, who has done nothing but calmly state his opinion. Why call him "Mr.Reviewer"? You're just being needlessly passive-aggressive. Man has stated his opinion, it's a fair one, let him stick with it.
27th Nov 14
1st Dec 14
1st Dec 14
Addressing the original review here; at the risk of sounding like a repetition of the... discussion... above, it's pretty obvious you hadn't gotten far into the comic when you wrote this review. Of course, the onus is on the work to interest you as quickly as possible, not on you to slog through the parts you don't like until it "gets good" (boy howdy do white knights for mediocre videogames just love that argument, but I digress.) If the first chunk of the comic didn't pull you in and you don't feel like skipping around or waiting it out, that's perfectly fine, but I do think it's disingenuous to imply in a review that this is some sort of hardcoded problem. First, the reader's experience in this regard is going to be heavily influenced by personal taste, no matter how much anyone debates whether the amount of words is objectively good or not (honestly, I found the story arc you used for the quote more than a little wordy myself; thinking about it probably delays me a few weeks every time I think I'd like to start another readthrough. One look at the letters column from those issues has quite the opposite opinion from back in the day.) Second, and perhaps more importantly, this is a comic that spanned 25 years and 300 issues, not counting specials and such. You can't know exactly how the writing style is going to change between both authors and changing times without reading the whole damn thing, but it's very shortsighted to just assume the entire thing has this single narrative problem through throughout. Maybe you meant not to do this by tagging the review as for a "season," but the review itself very much suggests that the entire comic from start to finish maintains the same style of narrative that turned you off the beginning.
1st Dec 14
14th Dec 14
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