John Constantine, Hellblazer: Death and Cigarettes (Hellblazer (Graphic Novels))

Author: Peter Milligan
Illustrators: Giuseppe Camuncoli and Simon Bisley
Publisher: Vertigo
Publish Date: July 2, 2013

Book Rating: 4/5

Bottom Line: The Final and Volume with an Ambiguous Ending

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Publisher’s Description
John Constantine had no intention of tracking down his long-lost nephew, despite the promise John made to his dead mom. But mysterious circumstances and a series of murders set Constantine out to Ireland in search of his forgotten relative. However, after a séance with his late sister Cheryl, Constantine finds that there might be a lot more connections between his nephew and these set of murders than meets the eye.

In this penultimate chapter to Vertigo’s longest series, Death and Cigarettes is the latest chapter in critically acclaimed writer Peter Milligan’s run on HELLBLAZER.

Book Review

HELLBLAZER has always been series I’ve wanted to read and never really been able to get to. I’ve read a few volumes and I love John’s snarky attitude, wit and the fact that he is a loveable bastard. Throw in magic, demons and angels and you’ve really got something great. So why haven’t I read them all? There are a lot of them. John’s been around since the late 80′s and he has a long history.

Luckily, each HELLBLAZER volume tends to be self contained. They do make mention of previous events, but the lack of knowledge didn’t hinder enjoyment or understanding of the different volumes. Death and Cigarettes follows suit, but there is a difference. This isn’t just another volume, this is the final volume.

Knowing that fact, this volume feels rushed and incomplete. I haven’t read all 300 issues, but I was still able to tell that this was not an appropriate send off for John. The story felt like it jumped around from point to point and some parts felt unexplained. Even with all that, the story was dark and enjoyable for fans of the occult.

The art duties are split between two artists. I am not a fan of this, I like one clear art style though a book. The second artist, Giuseppe Camuncoli, has a great style that really works for HELLBLAZER. The first artist has a darker, murkier style that didn’t really resonate with me personally. But it was still easy enough to follow.

The ending was ambiguous, very ambiguous. Knowing what little I do know about the HELLBLAZER heritage that may be a perfect ending for Constatine. I could see many fans tearing their copies into little pieces. Think the ‘LOST’ season finale.

All isn’t lost though; Constantine is being reborn as a DC character. Is this a good thing? Only time will tell.

Book Received: For free from publisher in exchange for an honest review
Reviewer: Chris