John Constantine Hellblazer: All His Engines
It's not hard to imagine that behind the self-indulgent saccharine glamour of Hollywood's facade, there might be a horde of evil demons at work. Taking this as its basic starting point, All His Engines focuses on one particularly malevolent hellspawn who wants the others out of the way, so he can ensure his status as top dog in the Los Angeles A-list of evil.
So begins the this original graphic novel, which falls outside the regular Hellblazer continuity but is a handy introduction to the series for those who had their first taste through the Constantine movie. As regular readers will know, one obvious way of getting rid of demons is to call in John Constantine. But when you're a demon yourself, getting him to work for you can be tricky. This particular demon gets around that conundrum by trapping the granddaughter of Constantine's best-friend, Charlie Chandler, giving him the leverage required to keep Constantine on a short leash.
Carey draws the Constantine character in on himself, darkening the wise-cracking charmer and reducing his dialogue to a cynical minimum. Although willing to do anything for Charlie (and for good reason, given what Charlie's been through for him in the past), he has little time for his friend outside the problem at hand, and shows scant regard for the other humans that line his path.
Constantine's shadowy darkness is echoed by Manco's artwork, which gives the appearance of extruding from black backgrounds rather than being drawn onto white paper, providing the whole story with added depth.
Although not the best Hellblazer story ever created, Carey's plot is tight and well paced. This leads to the kind of page turner we hope for when picking up a Constantine story - and you can't ask for much more than that.
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