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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another great collection of Hellblazer Issues., 19 Aug. 2014
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Hellblazer, Vol 4: The Family Man was, without a doubt, the strongest volume of the Hellblazer series I have read thus far. It reinforced the positive aspects of the Hellblazer comic and brought something new to the series as well, namely a new array of writers and artists (mostly) gracing the series and a strictly human foe for John Constantine, our favourite chain-smoking down-and-out low rent living Liverpoolian magus and supernatural sleuth (how many of these can you find in fiction of any medium, anyway? It's certainly a testament to the originality of the Hellblazer series that Constantine is so originally characterized).
"Hellblazer, Vol 4: The Family Man" collects the individual issued issues #23 to #33.

Issues #23, #24, #28, #29, #30 and #31 are all written by Jamie Delano and are pertaining to "The Family Man" storyline, in which John Constantine unknowingly becomes indirectly responsible for the murder of a family at the hands of a serial-killer dubbed "The Family Man". When he realizes what he caused, he decides to stop the killer at any cost. However, "The Family Man" is a resourceful man and Constantine soon finds himself alternating between the role of hunter and prey. This storyline is quite interesting, as it pits Constantine against a entirely human foe. That's a somewhat new and dangerous terrain for Constantine, a man who deeply fears and hates guns and whose foes are generally of supernatural origin. In the words of Constantine himself "Demons I can handle - this trouble's strictly human." This storyline is compelling and even if the motives that fuel "The Family Man’s murders are somewhat lazily constructed edipian references; it's still a very good storyline. Sadly the artwork, mostly done by Ron Tiner, is somewhat unspectacular. Such a great storyline deserved better artwork, but it’s not so bad to the point of becoming an eyesore. The all storyline for me deserves a solid 8.5/10.

The issues pertaining to the family man storyline are, for reasons I can't quite understand, spaced by issues with standalone stories that have nothing in common with "The Family Man" storyline and that are written by other authors (perhaps Delano was on a break or felt he needed more time to work on this specific story). Thankfully those are all great stories that despite cutting the flow of the Family Man saga are very welcome due to their high quality.

Issues #1 to #24 had all been written by Delano. With Issue #25 and #25 that tradition is broken. For the first time we have a new author writing Constantine in the form of Grant Morrison, who does a grat job with his two part story "Early Warning" and "How i learned to Love the Bomb". Constantine heads towards a town whose population is divided between those who are against the construction of an American missile test base and those who favour it, claimming it will bring jobs to a dying town and community. In order to bring the community together, the town organizes a parade (with significant pagan undertones) that goes disturbingly and violently awry once the inhabitants darkest desires come to the fore. It's quite a violent story and it's certainly not for the faint of heart. The artwork by David lloyd is amazing and captures perfectly the grimness of the chaos and havoc that ensues. This Grant Morrison Hellblazer incursion is worthy of a solid 8.5/10 stars.

Issue #27 also features a different artist, namely the highly acclaimed Neil Gaiman, of Sandman fame and more recently, author of "The Ocean at the End of the Lane". Gaiman's story titled "Hold Me" is amazing and surprisingly tender. The artwork by Dave Mckean is absolutely gorgeous and perfectly complements Gaiman's great take on John Constantine. Gaiman’s story gets a solid 9/10 from be, in good part due to Dave Mckean’s amazing artwork.

Issue #32 features the story "Cheap Tricks" by Dick Foreman. This particular story is a bit run-of-the-mill. Not all that bad but not amazing either. It basically revolves around a demonic dog. If it sounds silly and campy, that’s because it is, but then again that is clearly the point of the story. The story features pretty great art by Steve Pugh. I give it a solid 6/10.

The collection closes with Issue #33, written once again by Jamie Delano. "Sundays Are Different" is a rather uninteresting "character piece" with crummy artwork. Still, its readable so I’ll give it a 5/10.

This volume of the Hellblazer collection officially turned me into a "Hellblazer" fanatic. I am now bent on collecting the all series and if it's as strong as it's been thus far it appears I'm in for quite a treat. It’s the first time in over ten years that I decide to collect a comic series, but now that I “got the bug” I’m thinking of collecting Gaiman’s “Sandman” as well. But Hellblazer will do just fine for the brief future.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The best volume in the series so far, 10 Feb. 2013
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Alan the Kaz (London, England) - See all my reviews
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The fourth volume of the chronological reprinting of the entire `Hellblazer' series is probably the best so far. As I've commented in my reviews for the previous books in the series, while the quality of the stories themselves have generally good, they were let down by and large from the quality of the actual writing. Jamie Delano's writing was very raw and overblown, as if he was still finding his feet as a writer, despite the fact that he'd actually been penning comics for some years before starting `Hellblazer' with Alan Moore's blessings. But his writing in this volume seems to have matured somewhat compared to what came before. There's less tedium, deus ex machina, and cringe-inducing narration, though we still have to endure the odd bout of pretension in some of his overly-descriptive caption boxes (though that last problem was very much a product of the time, something you just have to get used to when reading comics from the `80s and `90s).

But the highlight in this collection is not the rather good Jamie Delano story, `The Family Man' (the title of the book). Rather, we're treated to a great two-part story by Grant Morrison, one of the greatest writers in the medium from back when he was in his prime, and a terrific one-part story from the legendary partnership of Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean. However, the definite low point of this book is the prose story by Jamie Delano. Thankfully, it's quite short, and it doesn't disrupt the flow of the rest of the book as it's printed at the back.

This is largely a high quality book. As with the previous volumes in the series, you could quite happily jump on here without having read what came before, as it's mostly pretty self-contained (there are one or two fleeting references to some previous stories, but this is very minor). Contrasting how I felt when I finished vol. 3, and just wanted to hurry up and see Jamie Delano gone from the book, I'm now quite eager to see what he pulls out of his sleeve next.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must read, 16 Sept. 2014
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One of the best storylines from a brilliant series. Jamie Delano's greatest work on the series.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 18 Oct. 2014
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One of my favourite Hellblazer comics. Great service from The Book Depository.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars, 24 Sept. 2014
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Present
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