Graphic Novel/Comics Review

John Constantine, Hellblazer: Rare Cuts

(2005) Jamie Delano et al, Titan Books, 9.99, trdpbk, 162 pp, ISBN 1-84023-974-3

Released along with the adaptation of the Constantine movie, this is a much more satisfying collection, gathering together five tales from the series. First up is Jamie Delano's issue 11 tale, "Newcastle", drawn by Richard Piers Raynor and Mark Buckingham. The first ten issues of the title had teased us with this event from Constantine's past which, we knew, had ended him up in an asylum for two years so, at the time, it was a huge relief to finally find out what happened. Next, the excellent two-parter (from issues 25 and 26), "Early Warning" and "How I Learned to Love the Bomb", by Grant Morrison and David Lloyd, in which a village goes mad and threatens the nearby American nuclear base. Issue 35's "Dead-Boy's Heart", by Delano and Sean Phillips, is a story of Constantine as a boy; "The Diary of Danny Drake" (issue 56) is by Garth Ennis and Lloyd; and "In Another Part of Hell" (issue 84) is Delano and Phillips again, telling the story of how Constantine and Chas (a friend and taxi driver in both comic and film) got to be such good mates. This is the complete opposite of the film collection, with great writing from Delano, Morrison and Ennis and great artwork, especially from David Lloyd. To the best of my knowledge these tales haven't been collected before (though I have a niggling doubt about the Ennis tale), so it's all new to the trade paperback collectors. In the back there are two features: a Hellblazer timeline chronicling pretty much the whole series, and a guide to John Constantine's London where not a few of the tales have taken place. Recommended to fans both old and new.

Tony Chester

See also: John Constantine, Hellblazer: All His Engines.

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