“If there’s something strange in your neighbourhood, who you gonna call…” certainly not the Ghostbusters, they wouldn’t stand a literal hope in hell against the aberrant abominations and mystical miscreants that haunt the dark side of DC Comics, no, this is unreservedly a job for that phenomenally preternatural group of magical Superheroes known as Justice League Dark.
Justice League Dark was first introduced in 2011, though the characters contained within this uncanny cabal have been around for decades. The original line up as introduced to us by series creator, the inimitable Pete Milligan consisted of – Zatanna, John Constantine, Madame Xanadu, Black Orchid and Shade the Changing Man. The JLD initially formed after ancient witch Enchantress (recently seen haunting the silver screen as a protagonist in the astounding Suicide Squad movie) defeated DC’s premier team of costume clad Superheroes The Justice League. Their defeat by the supernatural powerhouse, necessitated the creation of a mystical team of heroes to deal with the emergence of paranormal Supervillains.
DC have long touted the occult team with a big screen appearance, with legendary director Guillermo Del Toro attached as director (Del Toro is a huge fan of the original comics) but his excessively busy work schedule has meant that the long waited mystical movie has languished in limbo. Until now… DC‘s parent company, Warner Bros have announced that Bourne Identity and Edge of Tomorrow director Doug Liman has taken up the ghostly reins and will be directing the Dark Universe alongside Del Toro who will act as producer for the eerie epic.
With this announced alongside the upcoming animated version of Justice League Dark, it seems our favourite group of esoteric heroes will finally step out of the darkness and into the light, of the silver screen.
Occult detective and full time cynic John Constantine may have had his (extremely enjoyable) TV series cancelled recently, but he is still alive and kicking in the DC Universe with a new series following everyone’s favourite British demon hunter beginning this week. This new ongoing monthly returns John to his roots, feeling a lot more like his classic run of stories from his days as a mainstay of DC’s Vertigo imprint, than more recent interpretations of the character in series such as Justice League Dark (which is still a great series, and comes nevertheless recommended.)
With a varied and complex history, Constantine is one of those characters that if you haven’t been following his mystical adventures on a regular basis over the years, you may find it difficult to click with the character and his odd nuances and quirky character traits. But this new first issue by writer Ming Doyle helps bridge that barrier, giving first time readers all the information they need, and presenting you with a feel for who he is and what he represents, without the need for a complicated explanation of back story.
The story itself is absorbing, and very adult, with a nod towards John’s previously hinted at bisexuality. John’s dark and cynical side is brilliantly offset here with a flirty and jovial nature that really draws you into into his crazy psyche. The art is, unique, seemingly at first rather basic, as you read the comic though you begin to appreciate it more, with a real sense of characterisation of both the players and the world itself. My first impression of Riley Rossmo’s style was unfavourable, but it definitely has grown on me now.
Constantine The Hellblazer #1 can be found at your local comic book emporium right now. Written by: Ming Doyle. Interior and cover art by: Riley Rossmo.
Precinct1313 Rating: Awesome, Unusual, Zany, Dark, Adult, but most definitely Constantine… Buy It!