Issues 1-40 plus Hellblazer Annual: JAMIE DELANO, incorporating NEIL GAIMAN, GRANT MORRISON and DICK FOREMAN

In an interview with Sequential Tart website, Jamie Delano would later describe his experience on Hellblazer as being like jumping from rock to rock: "You start out with a vague idea of direction and destination, but each individual footfall is random, decided instinctively. Some rocks that looked promising from a distance turn out to be slippery, so you avoid them in favor of a detour; some have an unexpected camber that sends you off on a new heading." If his experience of writing Hellblazer was this chaotic, it doesn't show; from the very first issue, Delano seemed to have a firm idea of what direction the comic should take.

Most notably, he shunned the crossovers and guest stars that had become a staple feature of Moore's Swamp Thing run. Without constant appearances by Batman, Deadman, Adam Strange or any of the other costumed DC characters that Swampy ran into, Hellblazer was allowed to exist in a relatively realistic fictional Britain in which Margaret Thatcher's Government ruled over a disenfranchised, impoverished working class and people were more concerned with whether they could afford a pint on Saturday than whether the world was going to be destroyed by space mutants. Despite a jaunt to Gotham City early on, the only regular DCU characters to appear in Hellblazer during Delano's run were the The Sandman, the Swamp Thing, and Abigail Arcane, Swampy's lover. Realising that maintaining an air of realism about Constantine would work to the character's advantage, an editorial decision was made to monitor Constantine's appearances outside of Hellblazer and made sure that the magus would only mix with the more "realistic" and less overtly superheroic members of the DC Universe such as Swamp Thing. For example, when Grant Morrison was declined permission to use Constantine in his delightfully surreal Doom Patrol run, he had to create an analogue named Willoughby Kipling. This was the first of several Constantine analogues that would appear in comics as diverse as Firestorm and Stanley and his Monster. Constantine's appearances in Swamp Thing had revealed almost nothing about the character, and this "man of mystery" demeanour was one of the most interesting aspects of his character. Many writers would have shied away from revealing too much about Constantine for fear of ruining the character, but Delano was quick to realise that a comic could not be sustained on wisecracks alone. Embracing the opportunity offered to him, he began to construct a minutely detailed history and environment for the character whilst still paying respect to the facts established in the Swamp Thing series. The most important of these was an elaboration of the Newcastle incident that was mentioned in passing during Moore's Swamp Thing run; Delano turned a brief remark into a visceral horror involving black magic and ritual child abuse that climaxed with a young and arrogant Constantine accidentally damning an innocent child's soul to Hell and resulted in his incarceration in Ravenscar Mental Asylum.

Hellblazer's first few issues also introduced an original long-term supporting cast, many of whom survive to this day. These include Francis "Chas" Chandler, a criminal-turned-taxi-driver and John's oldest surviving friend; Cheryl Masters, John's elder sister who has no connections with the supernatural whatsoever; Tony Masters, her prat of a husband, and Gemma Masters, John's much loved niece. He also created John's one-armed father Thomas, though he was quickly dispensed with by a serial killer known as The Family Man (that hasn't stopped him from making a few post-death appearances, however). The creation of a family for Constantine further stripped him of his mystery; it's hard to believe in John as an enigma when you know his sister lives in a semi-detached in Liverpool. It did, however, help to emphasise that for all of his cunning and ability, Constantine is just another human being, as capable of failing as anyone else. And fail he did; even his victories came with some cost, either to his friends (Gary Lester's grisly death in issue 2, for example) or to himself (his encounter with The Family Man gave John a nervous breakdown). This mixture of brash conman and fallible human is the secret of Constantine's appeal, and it's all thanks to the foundations laid by Delano.

If one aspect of Delano's Hellblazer run rises above the others it's his obssession with social, ecological and political injustice. During his run he tackles Thatcherite fascism (issues 14-22: The Fear Machine), skinhead racists (6: Extreme Prejudice), literally soulless yuppies (3: Going for It), Western greed and complacency (1-2: Hunger/A Feast of Friends) and the oppressiveness of aggresive masculinity (37-38: Man's Work/Boy's Games). Throughout his run on the comic, there's an undercurrent of hopelessness and frustration with all forms of authority - religious, legal, political - and the crimes they perpetrate and allow. This anger would manifest itself in two other Constantine-related tales: The Horrorist, released in two prestige-format issues in 1996, had John tracking down an angry third-world spirit who wants to open up the eyes of the West to the pain and suffering in the world beyond. As a result, innocent Britons and Americans find themselves acting out war crimes and brutal tribal murders in the middle-class suburbs of America. Four years later, Delano wrote a Hellblazer spin-off miniseries called "Bad Blood", in which an elderly Constantine finds himself caught up in a civil war between British Republicans and staunch monarchists. Though far more lighthearted than Delano's other Constantine stories, the miniseries did have a vein of acidic satire running through it, particularly its obvious contempt for the herd mentality and political laziness of modern Britons.

Of course, the success of Hellblazer should not be laid solely at its writer's feet; editor Karen Berger, whose CV includes such groundbreaking series as Neil Gaiman's The Sandman, Peter Milligan's Shade the Changing Man and the latter part of Alan Moore's work on Swamp Thing, should be credited with nurturing Delano's considerable talent and having the sense to limit Constantine's appearances outside of Hellblazer. Then there is the art; from John Ridgway's scratchy inks in the early Constantine stories, to Richard Piers Rayner's photorealistic illustrations to Ron Tiner's chunky characters and sticky blood, Hellblazer was blessed with an extremely talented art crew. Of special note is Sean Philips, who first appeared midway through Delano's run and would make numerous return visits to Constantine's world for the next 120 issues!

The book was also blessed with some of the finest, most unique comic-book covers of the time. Dave McKean, who would later become celebrated for his collage covers for The Sandman, created a series of gloomy, mysterious and sometimes abstract pieces in which even the most ordinary scenes - a man sitting on a train, someone leaning on a wall - are twisted and distorted into nightmarish visions. Although he sometimes used the collage techniques that would later make his name, the majority of these were flat paintings. With cover work on The Sandman taking up much of his time, McKean left Hellblazer midway through the Fear Machine arc, to be replaced with painter Kent Williams. Williams' style was similar enough to McKean's not to jar, but distinctive enough to retain its own personality. Created in thick oils, Williams' covers were more abstract, evoking the mood or themes of the issue rather than simply recreating scenes from it. His figures are often hideously distorted, making manifest the contorted psyches and gnawing pain that they try to hide.

In between issues 24 and 28, Delano took a brief holiday. Grant Morrison, better known for his work on Animal Man and The Doom Patrol filled in for 25 and 26 with a tale of a dying mining community whose Jungian subconscious is unearthed by a military experiment. David Lloyd, better known for his collaboration with Alan Moore on the splendid V for Vendetta, provided gloomily opressive monochrome interior art and painted covers. Issue 27, written by Neil Gaiman, features a haunting urban fairytale about a dead homeless man, and has interior and cover art by Dave McKean. A final fill-in issue by Dick Foreman sits between issues 31 and 33; in this quirky storyline, Constantine finds himself tracking a man-eating beast in a scrapyard.

Despite the "no crossovers" rule mentioned earlier, certain editorial decisions did lead to three crossover storylines of varying importance. The first ran between issues seven to ten of Hellblazer and issues 74 to 76 of Swamp Thing. In the Hellblazer storyline, Constantine needed to neutralise an ancient prophecy by encouraging the birth of a "healing force". In the Swamp Thing plot, Swampy and his lover Abby wanted to conceive but ran into obvious difficulties (ie: he's a walking turnip). The resolution saw Constantine's body possessed by Swampy, who proceeded to impregnate Abby.

The second crossover was less successful; Constantine made a guest-starring role in issue 3 of Neil Gaiman's The Sandman so Delano tried to tie it in to Hellblazer continuity by having Morpheus, star of that comic, appear in Hellblazer #19, part-way through a nine-arc storyline. For those unfamiliar with the Sandman issue in question, the appearance is random, unexplained and baffling.

The final crossover is far more subtle and again concerns The Sandman. During the Sandman storyline known as "The Doll's House" (issues 10-16), an escaped nightmare known as The Corinthian arranges a convention for serial killers. The guest of honour is The Family Man, but he fails to appear for the opening ceremony as John Constantine has intercepted his invitation in Hellblazer 28, and is using it to track the killer. This is probably my favourite "crossover" of all time. This would be the last genuine crossover until Mike Carey's run.

Delano's run on Hellblazer ends with the extra-length issue 40. As he would later tell Sequential Tart, "I'd uncovered about as much of John Constantine's contorted psyche as anyone could likely want to know: It felt like now it was time for someone to find the evasive bastard something to DO."


Note: Cameos are appearances of any length by real-life people, mythological creatures, or fictional characters not created for Hellblazer. This is why Frank North gets cameo mentions but Ritchie Simpson doesn't, despite both of them being members of The Newcastle Crew.

1: Hunger (Art: John Ridgway. Cover: Dave McKean.) Constantine returns to his little flat in London to find old friend and disreputable junkie Gary Lester stowed away in his bath. Before long, he discovers that Gary's connected to an African hunger demon that threatens to consume New York. His investigations take him to a series of strange contacts including voodoo crime lord Papa Midnite and Emma, John's long-dead lover.

  • First Appearances: Francis "Chas" Chandler (cab driver; John's best friend), Zed (graffiti artist), Gary Lester (junkie, old friend of John's), Linton "Papa" Midnite (voodoo crime lord), Cedella Midnite (formerly Papa Midnite's sister; now just a skull), The British Boys (neo-Nazi thugs), Mrs. MacGuire (John's landlady), Ali (shopkeeper), Mnemoth (hunger demon).
  • Cameo: Emma (John's ex-girlfriend in every sense)
  • Backup: A one-page interview with John Constantine for XS Magazine
  • 2: A Feast of Friends (Art: John Ridgway. Cover: Dave McKean.) As Mnemoth continues its murderous rampage, Constantine develops a treacherous plan to destroy it. Meanwhile, Emma is joined by other ghosts from Constantine's past.

  • Cameos: Emma (John's ex, dead), Frank North (biker, member of the Newcastle Crew, dead), Benjamin Cox (stuttering geek, member of the Newcastle Crew, dead), Sister Anne-Marie (nun, member of the Newcastle Crew, dead)
  • Backup: Another XS Magazine article about Constantine
  • 3: Going For It (Art: John Ridgway. Cover: Dave McKean.) A spate of dead yuppies in a disreputable area of London intrigue Constantine and associate Ray Monde, who uncover a bizarre soul-brokering market. The first out-and-out comedy issue of Hellblazer.

  • First Appearance: Ray Monde (owner of "Serendipity" curio shop).
  • Cameo: Margaret Thatcher (former British Prime Minister)
  • 4: Waiting For The Man (Art: John Ridgway. Cover: Dave McKean.) John chats up a street psychic called Zed, but their first date is ruined when Constantine hears that his niece, Gemma, has vanished. Their hunt for the murderous paedophile is opposed by The Resurrection Crusade, a volatile Christian activist group, and a shadowy collective known as The Damnation Army.

  • First Appearances: Gemma Masters (John's niece), Cheryl Masters (John's sister), Tony Masters (John's brother-in-law), Elder Martin (leader of the Resurrection Crusade).
  • Backup: Lyrics to "Venus of the Hardsell", a single released by John's old band, Mucous Membrane
  • 5: When Johnny Comes Marching Home (Art: John Ridgway. Cover: Dave McKean.) Research into The Resurrection Crusade sends John to Liberty, Iowa, a town whose prayers seem to be bending time.

    6: Extreme Prejudice (Art: John Ridgway. Cover: Dave McKean.) The Damnation Army's leader, the demon Nergal, makes himself known as he mutilates and murderers four skinheads called The British Boys to create the ultimate assassination device. Meanwhile, Zed is hassled by The Resurrection Crusade, who call her "Mary".

  • First Appearances: Nergal (leader of The Damnation Army), Ironfist the Avenger (assassin created from dead bodies).
  • 7: Ghosts in the Machine (Art: John Ridgway, Brett Ewins, Jim McCarthy. Cover: Dave McKean.) Constantine's attempts to uncover The Resurrection Crusade's HQ have predictably fatal results, whilst Zed is kidnapped by the Resurrection Crusade, who beat heroic Ray to death in the process. Another appearance by the ghostly Newcastle Crew sends Constantine out of his mind - and off a moving train!

  • First Appearance: Ritchie Simpson (one of the Newcastle Crew; techno-mage).
  • Cameos: Emma (John's ex, dead), Frank North (biker, member of the Newcastle Crew, dead), Benjamin Cox (stuttering geek, member of the Newcastle Crew, dead), Sister Anne-Marie (nun, member of the Newcastle Crew, dead)
  • 8: Intensive Care (Art: John Ridgway, Alfredo Alcala. Cover: Dave McKean.) As The Resurrection Crusade brainwash Zed back into becoming their "Mary", Nergal appears to a broken, bedridden Constantine and makes him an offer he can't refuse...

  • First Appearance: Dr. "Piggy" Huntoon (sadistic psychiatric doctor).
  • Cameo: The Swamp Thing (an Earth elemental and unwilling associate of John's)
  • Backup: psychiatric reports on John Constantine from Ravenscar Mental Asylum.
  • 9: Shot To Hell (Art: John Ridgway, Alfredo Alcala. Cover: Dave McKean.) Still reeling from the psychic trauma of Nergal's "cure", Constantine stumbles through a depressed, alcoholic haze. Only a meeting with his own ghost can save him from suicide. And what is Nergal's plan for the brainwashed Zed?

  • Cameos: Emma, John's ex, dead; Frank North, biker, member of the Newcastle Crew, dead; Benjamin Cox stuttering geek, member of the Newcastle Crew, dead; Sister Anne-Marie, nun, member of the Newcastle Crew, dead)
  • 10: Sex and Death (Art: Richard Piers Rayner, Mark Buckingham. Cover: Dave McKean.) The Swamp Thing evicts Constantine's soul from his body to use it as a procreative device, leaving the magician floating through the astral plane. Constantine can only to watch as his plans, long set in motion, stop both Heaven and Hell from making a claim on the Earth.

  • Cameos: The Swamp Thing (an Earth elemental and unwilling associate of John's), Abigail Arcane (The Swamp Thing's wife).
  • 11: Newcastle: A Taste of Things to Come (Art: Richard Piers Rayner, Mark Buckingham. Cover: Dave McKean.) With The Resurrection Crusade massacred and The Damnation Army foiled, John takes a trip up to Newcastle, where he recalls the first time he met Nergal - and the years he spent in Ravenscar Mental Asylum as a result.

  • First Appearance: Astra Logue (doomed child).
  • Cameos: Emma (John's ex, dead), Frank North (biker, member of the Newcastle Crew, dead), Benjamin Cox (stuttering geek, member of the Newcastle Crew, dead), Sister Anne-Marie (nun, member of the Newcastle Crew, dead), Judith (punk, member of the Newcastle Crew; dead)
  • 12: The Devil You Know... (Art: Richard Piers Rayner, Mark Buckingham. Cover: Dave McKean.) Holed up in a tiny caravan on a Newcastle wrecking yard, Constantine's losing hope of ever escaping Nergal. Luckily for him, a supposedly dead friend has the answer he's looking for.

  • First Appearances: Agony and Ecstacy (slave twins of Hell's Inquisition)
  • 13: On the Beach (Art: Richard Piers Rayner, Mark Buckingham, Mike Hoffman. Cover: Dave McKean.) Pity poor John; the man can't seem to get a break. A relaxing day at the seaside turns to nightmarish terror when a nearby nuclear power plant explodes.

    14: The Fear Machine, Part 1: Touching the Earth (Art: Richard Piers Rayner, Mark Buckingham. Cover: Dave McKean.) The murders of John's neighbour and landlady (in issue 10) finally catch up with the magician when The Sun newspaper brands him an "evil Satanist". Constantine goes on the run, and falls in with a group of travelling hippies.

  • First Appearances: Marj (one of the hippies), Mercury (Marj's psychic daughter), Errol (Rastafarian stoner), Eddy (hippie), Jo (hippie), Samson (really strong hippie).
  • 15: The Fear Machine, Part 2: Shepherd's Warning (Art: Richard Piers Rayner, Mark Buckingham. Cover: Dave McKean.) John grows closer to Marj and her enormously powerful psychic daughter, Mercury, but their peace is shattered when a psychadelic trip reveals that Russian scientists are meddling with ley lines. First Appearances: Davis (Geotroniks officer; corrupt former policeman), Myra (hippie; drugs John), Dr. Phillip Fulton (Geotroniks scientist working on psychic power).

  • Cameo: The Swamp Thing (an Earth elemental and unwilling associate of John's)
  • 16: The Fear Machine, Part 3: Rough Justice (Art: Richard Piers Rayner, Mark Buckingham. Cover: Dave McKean.) Unmarked riot squads descend on the encampment, kidnapping Marj and Mercury. John manages to free a drugged-up Marj, but where is her daughter?

  • First Appearance: Webster (freemason, mastermind behind the G.O.A.G plot)
  • 17: The Fear Machine, Part 4: Fellow Travellers (Art: Mike Hoffman. Cover: Dave McKean.) As Mercury adapts to her new life in the Geotroniks military installation, John travels by train to London, hoping to pick up her trail. However, one of the Russian scientists is on the train too, and everyone aboard becomes collateral damage as the military officers unleash the power of The Fear Machine.

  • First Appearances: Mr. Webster (high-ranking Geotroniks manager), Corporal Morgan (psychic trigger for The Fear Machine), Sergei (Russian scientist).
  • 18: The Fear Machine, Part 5: Hate Mail & Love Letters (Art: Mark Buckingham, Alfredo Alcala. Cover: Dave McKean.) Marj and the rest of the hippies make it up to The Pagan Nation in Scotland, where they meet Zed. John, one of the few survivors of the train crash, continues his investigation as he interviews a police officer in the London Met. Mercury cures the nightmares of terrified patients - but what are the Geotroniks scientists doing with the excised dreams?

  • First Appearances: Det. Insp. Geoffrey Talbot (police officer), Simon Hughes (journalist investigating Geotroniks-related suicides), Mrs. Corbett (one of Mercury's "Scaredies"), Hal and Harold (owners of the hotel that John's staying in).
  • 19: The Fear Machine, Part 6: The Broken Man (Art: Mark Buckingham, Alfredo Alcala. Cover: Dave McKean.) A journalist investigating Geotroniks is almost killed for snooping, but John rescues him at the last minute. Meanwhile, Mercury goes on strike when she sees what lies inside The Fear Machine. And who is the man stalking Constantine?

  • First Appearance: Matthew Reilly (child; one of Mercury's "Scaredies"), The Fear Creature (formed from the scaredies' dreams).
  • Cameo: Morpheus (The Sandman)
  • 20: The Fear Machine, Part 7: Betrayal (Art: Mark Buckingham, Alfredo Alcala. Cover: Kent Williams.) The wheels within wheels within wheels begin to turn: Fulton frees Mercury, but is arrested and ultimately killed for it. John collects together a team to crack the problem, comprising of himself, Det. Inp. Talbot, Simon the journalist and Sergei the Russian scientist. In Geotroniks, Webster - the Freemason who tried to kill Simon - begins to prepare for the coming of a creature called Jallakuntilliokan by slaughtering the "Scardies", children first. Finally, Davis, the corrupt copper who helped kidnap Mercury, is payed to go on one last mission: kidnapping Constantine and his team!

    21: The Fear Machine, Part 8: The God of All Gods (Art: Mark Buckingham, Alfredo Alcala. Cover: Kent Williams.) The Grand Lodge try to call off Webster, but he's gone rogue. John presses a Freemason MP for info and discovers that The G.O.A.G. is the God of All Gods, AKA Jallakuntilliokan, but that it has nothing to do with Geotroniks' plans. They wanted to use the ley lines to amplify fear and civil unrest, causing society to crumble into anarchy and allowing the construction of Fortress Britain by the Grand Lodge. Webster's plans are far more grand, however - he wants to use the terror creature formed from the "Scaredies'" nightmares as bait for Jallakuntilliokan!

    22: The Fear Machine, Part 9: Balance (Art: Mark Buckingham, Alfredo Alcala. Cover: Kent Williams.) As Webster sacrifices John's team to catch Jallakuntilliokan's attention, Zed formulates a plot to stop the apocalypse. Constantine realises that this time, he won't get to play the hero.

    23: Larger than Life (Art: Ron Tiner, Dean Motter. Cover: Kent Williams.) Winnie the Pooh vs. John Constantine? It's the crossover event nobody wanted to see! John returns from Scotland to find fictitious characters invading the real world.

  • First Appearance: Jehosophat "Jerry" O'Flynn.
  • Cameos: Too many to mention, including Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson, Tarzan, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Hamlet and - yes! - Winnie the Pooh
  • The Hellblazer Annual: The Bloody Saint/Venus of the Hardsell (Art: Bryan Talbot, Dean Motter. Cover by Kent Williams.) 1982: Constantine is released for the fourth time from Ravenscar Secure Facility. Teetering on the edge of another nervous breakdown, he meets a strange woman outside the House of Commons before drifting into a vision of Kon-stan-tyn, a distant ancestor and the last of the pagan kings.

  • First Appearances: Patrick "Destructo Vermin Gobsmack" McDonell AKA Martin Peters (an old punk associate of Constantine's), Kon-stan-tyn AKA The Bloody Saint (one of Constantine's ancestors; a pagan warrior king).
  • Cameos: Margaret Thatcher, (former British Prime Minister); Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini); Merlin (one of many in the DC Universe); King Arthur.
  • Backup: six-page video to Mucous Membrane's punk "classic" Venus of the Hardsell.
  • 24: The Family Man (Art: Ron Tiner. Cover: Kent Williams.) For fourteen years, a serial killer known as The Family Man has been systematically stalking and killing mothers, fathers and their children. Now a quirk of fate has set him on a collision course with John Constantine...

  • First Appearances: Samuel "The Family Man" Morris (serial killer), Peter Lucas and family (victims), Reed Hackett (serial killer obsessive).
  • 25: Early Warning BY GRANT MORRISON (Art: David Lloyd. Cover: David Lloyd.) Una, a former acquaintence of John's, invites him to the little town of Thursdyke whose inhabitants are about to revive an old pagan festival. She senses something dangerous in the air, but the real danger comes from a military base deep underground.

  • First Appearances: Una (photographer, friend of John's from his Ravenscar days), John Goss (farmer), Professor Horrobin (lead scientist at military base; investigating the effect of microwaves on the human brain), Godfrey Bayliss (vicar).
  • 26: How I Learned to Love the Bomb BY GRANT MORRISON (Art: David Lloyd. Cover: David Lloyd.) Professor Horrobin's microwave experiment has unleashed the Jungian desires of Thursdyke, causing an orgy of sex and death amongst its townspeople. Only Una remains unaffected, but can she rouse John from his psychotic episode before the mad horde sets off the military base's bombs?

    27: Hold Me BY NEIL GAIMAN (Art: David McKean. Cover: Dave McKean.) A memorial party for Ray Monde leads to a bizarre night for John Constantine, when the ghost of a lonely homeless man makes a desperate request.

  • First Appearance: Jacko (ghostly tramp).
  • 28: Thicker Than Water (Art: Ron Tiner, Kevin Walker. Cover: Kent Williams.) After three months of procrastination, John finally summons up the courage to track down The Family Man. What he doesn't know is that The Family Man wants him just as badly.

  • First Appearance: Thomas Constantine (John's father).
  • 29: Sick At Heart (Art: Ron Tiner, Kevin Walker. Cover: Kent Williams.) The game of cat and mouse continues, but who is hunting who?

    30: Fatality (Art: Ron Tiner, Kevin Walker. Cover: Kent Williams.) John Constantine has been the death of hundreds of people - but does he have it in himself to kill in cold blood?

    31: Mourning of the Magician (Art: Sean Philips. Cover: Kent Williams.) John attends his father's funeral, where he learns that the old man has been making nightly post-mortem visits to Gemma's bedroom. He soon realises that a dark secret from his past is keeping his father's soul rooted to the Earth...

    32: New Tricks BY DICK FOREMAN (Art: Steve Pugh. Cover: Kent Williams.) Constantine hears the call of the weird when a hideous canine begins devouring transients.

    33: Sundays are Different (Art: Steve Pugh. Cover: Kent Williams.) Have you ever felt like you got up on the wrong side of the universe? John steps between the cracks of reality for one strange day.

  • Cameo: Margaret Thatcher (former British Prime Minister)
  • 34: The Bogeyman (Art: Sean Philips. Cover: Kent Williams.) The events of the Family Man saga finally catch up to John, sending him into a nervous breakdown. Bitter, burnt-out and blotto, Constantine forces himself back into the lives of Marj and Mercury.

    35: The Dead-Boy's Heart (Art: Sean Philips. Cover: Kent Williams.) What makes John Constantine the screwed-up man he is today? A glimpse into his childhood provides part of the answer...

    36: The Undiscovered Country (Art: Sean Philips. Cover: Kent Williams.) Sick of John's self-pity, Mercury decides to show him one of his many possible deaths, as an elderly man in the not-too-distant future - but playing with that kind of bad mojo can have dangerous consequences.

  • Backup: a three-page preview of Jamie Delano and John Higgins' "World Without End".
  • 37: Man's Work (Art: Steve Pugh. Cover: Kent Williams.) Mercury makes friends with Martin, a delicate young lad whose meat-obsessed father is making his life a misery.

  • First Appearances: Martin Acland (young vegetarian), Archie Acland (Martin's father, a grotesque, violent butcher), Elsie Acland (Martin's mother), Charlie (farmer, friend of Archie's).
  • 38: Boy's Games (Art: Steve Pugh. Cover: Kent Williams.) Mercury saves Martin from his father's cruel games, and as punishment she forces Archie to confront what he really fears.

    39: The Hanged Man (Art: Steve Pugh. Cover: Kent Williams.) John Constantine committed his first murder in his mother's womb, strangling his twin brother with his own umbilical cord. For decades that twin brother has appeared to him as The Golden Boy, a paragon of virtue, power and honour; everything John could never be, except in some other world. Now The Golden Boy has returned, and he wants to make contact...

  • First Appearances: The Golden Boy AKA John Constantine (John's stillborn twin brother).
  • 40: The Magus (Art: Dave McKean. Cover: Kent Williams.) John Constantine saw his first death in his mother's womb, as his twin brother choked to death on his own umbilical cord. For decades that twin brother has appeared to him as The Sickly Boy, a vicious, bitter, murderous little chancer; everything John never was, except in some other world. Now The Sickly Boy has returned, and he wants to make contact....

  • Backup: An eight-page preview of Grant Morrison and Duncan Fegredo's "Kid Eternity")
  • On to the Garth Ennis era

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