Cover Date: April 1988
Writer: Jamie Delano
Artist: John ridgeway
Letterer: Annie Halfacree
Colorist: Lovern Kindzierski
Editor: Karen Berger
It has been a couple of weeks between issue 3 and issue 4 on the blog and for that I apologize, the original plan was for this to be weekly and every tuesday at that, but something came up. I would love to tell you that what came up was life getting in the way, or planning for New York Comic Con, or doing things with my family but the truth is that was not the case. What caused such a delay in between reviews was the shear hatred i felt for Delano as a writer after reading issue 3. I had no urge to want to open up the long box and dig out the next couple of issues, never mind the fact that i will need to grin and bear his lazy plot devices and instilling his beliefs on a character without letting the character become his own person for almost 30 more issues.
This issue starts out with a lonely girl on a jungle gym. Being rather introspective we learn of her parents that religious sect that is extreme in their belief in God and brainwashing of their followers. Sadness has creeped into the girls heart due to the isolation that this religious cult has caused her parents to impart on her.
Flash to London for the next bit and we see an ever indulgent Constantine Gambling, Playing, Pool and drinking up a storm. Chas is with him and he is obviously using his magic for nefarious gains. After leaving the bar, John realizes the one Vice he hasn’t yet indulged this evening so he goes looking for some companionship. When he turns the corner, he Finds Zed.
Upon meeting Zed, Constantine realizes that they not only share the need for the same carnal pleasures but also the ability to use Magic for whatever the hearts want.
Next we flash back to the little girl on the swing set. She is confronted by three girls that are slightly older than her and she is just happy that she may have just a little companionship. Like any other cult, these girls can sense the loneliness in this ones heart and offers her the promise of friendship and freedom from a life of despair, something this girl has been craving since her parents joined the über religious group that they are now with. She goes with these girls to become the Wife of the one that cares for them.
Back in London John and Zed quickly get through the getting to know you stage and end up back in her apartment. To lighten the mood with a little mood music, Zed decided to turn on the radio, and in some of the laziest use of plot device i have ever seen, Magically (which is possible since this is hellblazer), her radio picks up the local police scanner that reports of the girls kidnapping. Surprise, surprise… It is Constantine’s niece and he and Zed head to the country to help find her.
There really is not much more to get into here. Constantine goes to the country where the religious crusadres are set up looking for the girl, they only put up a slim fight against John’s use of Magic to try and find his relative, even though the whole book it seems that they are these fanatics that would stop at nothing to keep this sort of “black arts” out of their little town. Constantine and Zed end up in the pedophile’s den on despair where he keeps his child brides and performs his satanic rites in order to procure more. Constantine is overmatched, but with the help of Zed he is able to defeat the big bad. Wash, Rinse, Repeat.
I can’t believe this book lasted almost 3 years with Delano writing it. He is lazy; Doesn’t know how to fit a story into one issue, as was the trend back then, without the extreme use of Deaus Ex Machina, and only knows how to characterize his own beliefs within that characters that he is writing. The ending of this issue even felt like there was more to tell, yet the last panel said The End.
The feeling i get from this issue is that he was criticizing religious fanaticism, which is better than painting a whole set of political beliefs like he did in Issue 3 but still can Delano get away from these things. Almost 30 more issue of this guy writing this character, here’s hoping it gets better.