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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Magical Mission Statement
Now this is not Hellblazer it is no way related to the long running Vertigo series, although the two characters share the same name and a lot of the same character traits this is very much the new JLD (Justice League Dark) Constantine rather then the anarchic amoral spell slinger from the now defunct Vertigo series.

This is very much a mission statement for...
Published 10 months ago by Stranger

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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not Hellblazer, but it's not terrible either
The decision to reboot the Vertigo Hellblazer series as here as 'Constantine' into the new 52 continuity was always going to be a troublesome effort. The Hellblazer series was one of the great Vertigo runs, dealing with adult themes and issues and generally avoiding seeing the hero do any actual magically trickery.

Constantine here's comes across as much...
Published 10 months ago by W-Town


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars It's not Hellblazer, but it's not terrible either, 24 Feb 2014
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The decision to reboot the Vertigo Hellblazer series as here as 'Constantine' into the new 52 continuity was always going to be a troublesome effort. The Hellblazer series was one of the great Vertigo runs, dealing with adult themes and issues and generally avoiding seeing the hero do any actual magically trickery.

Constantine here's comes across as much younger and more gun-ho that the previous incarnation, with a magical trinket to pull out for any given situation. The story lines feel dumbed down in favour of action and fast pacing, it still feels like the same character but the plotting is now more like a Michael Bay film than the thoughtful narratives of the original series.

For the new comer there is action and excitement a plenty and this is not a particularly bad title by any means, for Hellblazer fans the change is a bit of a wrench that may not sit well. It's worth giving this series a shot to see where it goes, but treat it like a bit of popcorn fun and not a serious piece of writing. The old series is getting a nice new reprint at the moment so, go buy Hellblazer 1: Original Sins and see which you like more.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Magical Mission Statement, 21 Feb 2014
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Now this is not Hellblazer it is no way related to the long running Vertigo series, although the two characters share the same name and a lot of the same character traits this is very much the new JLD (Justice League Dark) Constantine rather then the anarchic amoral spell slinger from the now defunct Vertigo series.

This is very much a mission statement for John, bits and pieces of his past have been revealed in JLD but this is more a explanation of his place in the wider DC universe as the dividing line between the dark and the rest off the world and also set out his methods and real lack of morals and his willingness to go to any lengths to stop the bad guy, now this works well by the end you get a very good sense off who and what John is and why it's dangerous to be around him, less well covered is the actual plot which is a bit thin due to the need to set the scene for the evil cult of the cold flame, which are actually decent enough enemies, and also John's allies who boil down to a bartender and a woman who owns a pet shop, past that there is some twists and turns surrounding a compass and a demon or two but it's all a bit thin on the ground, added to that an issue featuring Shazam which doesn't fit well (Trinity War crossovers on the whole aren't that great) and generally a sense it's all a bit predictable that leaves a bit off a feeling off a missed opportunity. All that said the parts where John is faced with some of the members of the cold flame, especially the bosses work quite well, it's good to see John use tricks and his wits to out manoeuvre the bad guy and even with him being the man he is you still feel you can root for him, which is very important.

If you have been reading JLD and have liked it and the New 52 John Constantine then I would recommend this, John still is very much the magical con-man although if you have been a fan of the Vertigo series you may feel he has lost some of his edge (and you may well be right in that) and you may well want to knock a couple of stars off my score, really this is a strong three and a half but I've rounded it up to four because I enjoyed these first six issues and I like this new version of Constantine, he may not be what he was but he is still a mighty fine character and I hope as the series goes on this initial groundwork can pay off with some better plots.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Why oh why!, 20 Mar 2014
By 
P. Cranfield - See all my reviews
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Okay, so you have one of the most popular and successful Vertigo titles ever, produced by a range of talents featuring the most amoral and cynical anti-hero in comics. So why give him a reboot to try to make him relevant to the DC universe? Okay, he works pretty well in JL Dark, which is a good series to date, but here it just does not work.

Why throw everything including the kitchen sink into the first six issues. This is not the way to tell Constantine stories, which have always benefited from slow creeping horror not superhero histrionics. And come on- Shazam!

This is a mess not worthy of the character and I for one will not be following this, yet another poor reboot from DC.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not quite Original Sins, 10 Mar 2014
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I really didn’t get comfortable with this book. Maybe it’s because I’m too used to the vertigo Hellblazer or maybe he’s been diluted by a writer still finding Constantines voice. Which would be ironic when you get to issue 6! I think the thing I don’t like the most about the spark and the flame is the pretentious tone it sets in the first page of the first issue

“Ordinary people, they operate within a certain set of parameters, right? Rules. Limits. For people like me, there are no rules”

Sod off! John Constantine has gone from the working mans mage to the self assured bad boy and its sad to compare this his justice league dark role were he feels more like the vertigo counterpart. I don’t believe Ray Fawkes can write the Constantine character, plus the part were he uses actual superpowers! He’s a con artist, but instead gets played off like Doctor Strange!

The art is ok, nothing really stands out, which is a shame considering the creatures and beasts that Constantine comes into contact with. I really wouldn’t recommend this book
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Less than spellbinding, 20 Feb 2014
By 
Sam Quixote - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
“Constantine” – right away you can tell DC have fiddled with the former Vertigo fan favourite by naming it after the atrocious Keanu Reeves picture from 2005. It used to be called John Constantine: Hellblazer and the name Hellblazer isn’t mentioned once in this comic. But it’s still recognisably the same character even though the character’s doomed soul isn’t mentioned as much in this reboot than it was before, and I’m not sure it’s once mentioned that he’s from Liverpool, just that he’s English (I’d have LOVED to have heard Keanu’s attempt at a Newcastle accent – if you’ve never heard it, google it and listen to how funny it sounds and then imagine the guy who mangled a British accent in Coppola’s Dracula attempting it. Woah!).

Instead, Constantine is portrayed as a supernatural Indiana Jones, globetrotting ahead of his evil magic rivals to collect the pieces of the powerful talisman known as Croydon’s Compass, a device that alerts its owner to the appearance of any mystical object first. As he travels to Norway, Myanmar and London, he’s chased by Sargon the Sorceress (daughter of Sargon the Sorcerer – imaginative, right?) and Mister E, and encounters other spooky characters like Papa Midnite, Zatanna and the Spectre along the way too.

The book does get a lot right by including a lot of magical action, duels, spells, and everything that should be in a story featuring sorcerers, spirits and wizards, and artist Renato Guedes does an excellent job of drawing these magical scenes really well. Also, Constantine’s devil-may-care, selfish, and roguish personality comes through strongly. Buuut… it’s just not a very interesting story. The first three issues at least have a story arc as Constantine gets the pieces of Croydon’s Compass, but it’s quite formulaic with few surprises along the way – how does Constantine get the pieces? Shows up at a shrine, cracks open a vase, and there it is. And then what happens at the end of the arc? He puts the compass on a shelf and sits in a chair. Oh. How…zzzz…. The remaining 3 issues are a bit of a directionless mess with issue 5 unfortunately being a Trinity War tie-in.

Trinity War was utter garbage but suddenly inserting Shazam into the series is just awkward, not least because it’s a terrible issue or that it has nothing to do with the series or even Trinity War, and is totally irrelevant. It’s just a cynical marketing trick to sell more copies, and fans of New 52 Shazam (there must be some) hoping for something out of the crossover with Constantine are treated to Shazam pushed to the side for the entire issue while Constantine fights a bad guy.

Jeff Lemire co-writes the first four issues with Ray Fawkes and it’s unsurprising that these are the best of the book with the last two containing so little moments of interest that I don’t think I’ll be following the series any further. Constantine, Volume 1: The Spark and The Flame is a decent book in that it’s accessible to new readers and Lemire/Fawkes have more or less captured the essence of the character, but it’s a shame that the series suffers from a lack of a strong narrative to give Constantine a sense of urgency or tension in his adventures. As it is, it feels like each issue of Constantine is the character treading water – not exactly riveting reading.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Plenty of style but not enough substance, 24 Mar 2014
By 
Mr. Mice Guy (London, England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
The story running through issues #1-6 of DC Comics' New 52 comic `Constantine' is collected as Constantine Volume 1: The Spark and the Flame TP (The New 52). He talks like John Constantine, he walks like John Constantine, he even pulls the "how do you baffle a vegetable" trick; but there's something missing. I can't put my finger on it, but this Constantine feels too smug. Maybe he'll grow on me with time.

The story itself seems to move far too quickly, but then we are thirty years after his early appearances (which I still remember quite well), and life has speeded up. There is a new Society of Evil Magicians at work, and John is out to stop them obtaining a magical artefact, during the course of which adventure he sacrifices a few friends, talks the Spectre into letting him off, steals Captain Marvel's powers - yes, even down to the costume - and manages to cheat death (again).

It is all here, but it feels like the surface of a John Constantine story but without the depth. He does work better with as group, as in Justice League Dark; but as I said, maybe he'll grow on me.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Why would DC do this?, 20 Feb 2014
*sigh*

I knew this would happen. They've taken a character that revels in thinking simple and playing dirty, removed any subtlety and essentially put a cape on him and announced "Constantine r my fayvrit super magics man!!!"

It's like they've tried to wedge the character into a "paint by numbers" super hero storyline that has a multitude of characters who, if you don't know them, seem way too try-hard or, in some cases, way too try-not-hard-enough. The artwork is good but gets a bit sloppy in places, in fact it slips between having brilliant splashes and really crappy little throw away panels. For that I should probably give it 2 stars but I'm sticking with 1 because DC have ruined all the good work that people like Garth Ennis and Mike Carey have done fleshing out the character.

I won't spoil anything for you but I will sum it up:
(Ok, some spoilers.)

Everyone else: Hey, isn't that John Constantine? Occult mega-genius and super-mega-magician man?!
Constantine: Yup, that's me, I have no mystery about my character whatsoever.
Everyone else: Hey, are those magical trinkets?! I love magical trinkets that do stuff!!
Constantine: Yup, I'm all like Batman but without the cape... Guvn'or!
Likeable Sidekick: I'm going to die at some point, aren't I? I haven't been fleshed out as a character at all and the plot is telegraphing that there is impending doom. I guess I should just die and come back later to get some sort of revenge I guess.
Constantine: That sounds like a good plan, Squire. I'm an English person... Apples and Pears, cup of tea etc.
Everyone Else: Oh noes! There seems to be a group of super-mega-awesome wizard magic people who want you dead because you're doing something particularly conceited and stupid that you don't wish to explain. But when you do explain it near the end of the book, I bet it'll be done in such a witty and intelligent way that we'll forget that it doesn't make any sense.
Constantine: Wakka-Wakka, I'm going to get beaten up and do other cool things and be in danger but trick people who are more powerful than me because I r a wizurd.
Everyone else: I see you're DC now, does that mean you'll get awesome super powers?! That would be totes rad!
Constantine: No, I'm a down-to-earth, gritty kind of character who... Wait... What? Ok, scratch that, I'm going to get super powers and be all badass and then die or whatever because that makes perfect sense.
Everyone else: This all sounds great. I'll break out my Constantine Foam Finger and cheer at you!
Constantine: That's Rad Dude! I'm going to fight crime and save the world by smoking at it and swearing a tiny amount in British speak.

Dear DC, stop ruining Constantine.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Reasonable, 8 Nov 2014
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This review is from: Constantine Vol. 1: The Spark and the Flame (Kindle Edition)
Many have given this comic negative ratings and I fail to understand why.

Constantine is a story of a selfish S.O.B who will do anything, allow anyone to die, for his quest. This volume continues to resemble the character profile perfectly.

Essentially the story is:

- stop 2 mages from gaining a powerful artefact,
- steal shazam's power
- and die

The story line really is straight forward. I'm not sure how I feel about mixing Superman/Justice League story lines with Constantine and that is why the book looses a mark from me. In my simple mind these two side of the DC universe have always remained seepage and should continue to do so...

Decent art, reasonable story though a rather short book. I got the book for £3. If you can get it on sale it's certainly a decent read - though I can't say I'm in a massive rush to read the volume 2.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sparked a Flame of Interest., 8 May 2014
This review is from: Constantine Vol. 1: The Spark and the Flame (Kindle Edition)
Sparked a Flame of Interest.
I was aware of the ‘original’ incarnation of Constantine and had seen some his tales but had never been impressed enough to actually buy a trade. To be honest I found the writing surrounding him all a bit difficult to penetrate and the artwork in general put me off.
I know, I’m lightweight.
This ‘new52’ incarnation of Constantine may be ‘Hellblazer-lite’ to some readers who liked the above but to me he bridges Vertigo and mainstream DC remarkably well.
He’s fast talking and sarcastic but most of all entertaining.
I am glad he hasn’t been Disney-sanitised altogether, he still chain-smokes and is clearly not a man to be trifled with or to compromise easily.
I am also very grateful that he retains his ‘British-ness’ without being constantly “cor blimey guv’nor”.
Stories are well crafted, small in scale but large in drama, Constantine’s world of Magic is a dangerous but fascinating place and John holds the stage remarkably well being both unlikeable and relatable at the same time.
The artwork is satisfying, clear and well pitched for this series, it’s a shade away from ‘mainstream’ but only in a way that adds to the magic-below-the-surface-of-perception idea.
There are some free and easy guest-DC appearances which cement John’s place in the DCnewU and they fit nicely.
Most of this trade can be read with little or no reference to John’s other appearances around the DCnewU but there is a tie into the appearance of Shazam that is not explained and leaves the reader confused. That story itself promises much but ultimately ends as it began with little impact on the ongoing storyline that threads through this trade.
I am on board for the next trade and hopefully beyond.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant re-imagination of the original Constantine, 20 April 2014
By 
W. Gillies (Scarborough, UK) - See all my reviews
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Well, I thoroughly enjoyed this! I've been with JC since his first appearance in Alan Moore's Swamp Thing and into the first 100 or so issues of his own Vertigo title. Moore was always somewhat apologetic about writing superheroes (even though he does it brilliantly) and would probably have approved of the Vertigo separation from the DC Universe. But now Constantine is back in the thick of it and shaping up to be DC's street-savvy version of Dr Strange. Give the cover version a Dr Strange cape and you'll see what I mean. This is not to everybody's taste but this is a brilliantly creative artistic team and their efforts should be judged for what they are - expertly crafted and full of characterisation. My only gripe is with the revamp of Mister E who is not recognisable from his previous incarnation in the Books of Magic. He's been rendered rather two-dimensionally as a bog-standard mystical super baddy. The new Sargon the Sorceress is a bit more interesting and we have some new supporting characters as John has had to relocate to New York. London in this storyline still features heavily though. As does plenty of gore! I'm surprised there's no mature readers only advisory. Magic, mayhem and John Constantine unleashed in the DC Universe. What's there not to like? Personally I don't like having to wait until August for Volume 2!
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