Monday, 29 November 2010

Hellblazer: City of Demons

Story by Si Spurrier

Art by Sean Murphy

This really is shaping up to be a rather enjoyable series. It's been so long since I first picked up Hellblazer that I forgot how one can get put off by the fact that so many issues have been published you don't know where to start. This is bollocks though; as long as you start at the beginning of a storyline, Hellblazer is easy to start cold and rarely continuity laden. Apart from the occasional story all you need to know to read Hellblazer is: John does Magic, John likes women, John's a bit of a prick. Ironically, having said that, this story does draw from Hellblazer history, in that the driving plot is that some nefarious types have got their hands on a sample of John's blood which Hellblazer readers know, (but is explained in the script for Hellblazer virgins) is tainted with the blood of a demon. It's this dodgy claret, being passed around unsuspecting members of the public, that's putting ordinary folk on killing sprees across London, and it's up to John to sort it out.

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the spectacular Art by upcoming superstar Sean Murphy (Joe The Barbarian). He really captures modern London like no other artist has in a number of years, from public transport to public house; from Oxford Circus to suburban council estate he totally nails it. It was a two-parter by Sean Murphy and Jason Aaron a year or two ago that got me into Hellblazer again after having dropped it a few years prior during Mike Carey's run. I really hope to see more Hellblazer from him in the future. This guy is destined for greatness, or my name isn't Sheriff Buford T. Valhallahan!

This series, or the inevitable collection, is a great introduction to the type of story that Hellblazer does; gruesome adult entertainment with a gritty urban feel - supernatural horror for the modern reader - sort of like Get Carter if it was written by Clive Barker.

19 Snouts out of a possible 20 Silk Cut (John's brand, not mine).