John Constantine, Hellblazer: Highwater

July 26, 2004 | Trades


John Constantine, Hellblazer: Highwater
Brian Azzarello, Marcelo Frusin, Giuseppe Camuncoli, Cameron Stewart
Vertigo/DC Comics
$30.95/$19.99 US (Paperback)
*** 1/2 (out of five)

John Constantine’s American adventure is almost over.
Constantine, Britain’s most infamous occult investigator, was sent to jail in the U.S. for a murder he didn’t commit. But he’s back on the outside and on the trail of the man who set him up — with a little help from the crime victim’s ghost.
After working his way through some of the darker patches of the ‘States, Constantine reaches the widow of the man he ‘killed’ in Highwater, Mon., only to discover her mixed up with white supremacists. Once our hero manipulates his way in and back out of that mess, the ghost points Constantine to Los Angeles and the true villain.
In one of the most breathtakingly bizarre story arcs in the Hellblazer series in years, the second story arc in this collection, Ashes & Dust, follows the investigation into the death of … Constantine?!
The L.A. police, along with the help of an F.B.I. agent have a charred corpse they believe is Constantine that was discovered in an S&M club and they’ve got a waiting room full of bondage fetishists and transvestites to question to get to the truth.
What unfolds is a perfect example of why it’s never a good idea to get on the bad side of somebody called Hellblazer.
Taking an already disreputable character and making him even more loathsome, all you need to know about Constantine and Highwater can be summed up by writer Brian Azzarello: “I don’t like John Constantine. And I don’t think anyone should.”
After three stunning collections of Azzarello’s run on Hellblazer, Highwater closes things off with a bang.
Strangely, after absolutely compelling collections with: Hard Time, Good Intentions and Freezes Over, Highwater actually ends up as the least memorable compilation of Azzarello’s run on the series, but it’s still very good.

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