Hellblazer: Hard Time (2001) Brian Azzarello & Richard Corben, Titan Books, £8.99, trdpbk, 126pp, ISBN 1-84023-255-2
This is a collection of issues 146-150 of the monthly title, in which John Constantine is sent to jail (for reasons which become apparent later) and must survive the depradations of his fellow inmates and the criminals who run the jail, not to mention the warden and staff. But despite this, it is Constantine's feelings of guilt that provide the greatest challenge...
Brian Azzarello is probably currently best known for the title 100 Bullets, which has gathered quite a bit of critical acclaim; Richard Corben is still best remembered for Neverwhere and the subsequent volumes, as well as various Edgar Allan Poe adaptations. The writing is crisp and Azzarello has captured the essence of John Constantine very well (though for me Garth Ennis remains the best version), including the black humour. Corben is excellent as always, though perhaps not the obvious choice, and his artwork is wonderfully complemented by colourist James Sinclair. Also worth mentioning are the excellent Tim Bradstreet covers. Highly recommended to fans of the series.
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