?

Log in

Another take on Pandemonium - The John Constantine: Hellblazer Community [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
John Constantine: Hellblazer

[ website | Straight To Hell ]
[ userinfo | livejournal userinfo ]
[ archive | journal archive ]

Another take on Pandemonium [Jun. 1st, 2010|12:58 pm]
John Constantine: Hellblazer

rakeatthegates

[prettyarbitrary]
[Tags|]

Originally I added this to the comments in hohaiyee's post, but then I figured, Ahhhh, heck, might as well post it out here.

Anyway, returning to this because I finally grabbed Pandemonium during my monthly pilgrimage to ye olde comic shop, and I find I agree with hohaiyee on some points but not on others.

I didn't feel that the writing lacked life. The narration felt very noir--cynical, spiritually battered, even cruel, but blackly vital, despite John's running commentary on his own "maturity." (Which is sort of funny because oh, John, you're so not. And you know it.)

The tremendous sense of deadness (IMO) came from the art, which I agree was just grueling. When he faces Nergal, however, I notice suddenly he's standing straight and tall, and when his head goes down it's only because he's looking at people sidewise. Also I noticed that this interlude is the only point in the book where any real, vibrant color is present. It's almost as if Hell is more real and alive than the real world. And isn't that a despressing thought.

For that matter the plot had a similar effect, though it's Hellblazer so what should I expect there? Humanity is disempowered even from our own violence in this story, both by supernatural powers and by bureaucrats so aloof and autocratic that they come off almost as supernatural themselves. I'm left with a vision of your average person as a puppet or a game piece in the schemes of the mighty, not just the soldiers but John and the woman as well. I imagine this is the point; Delano makes it pretty clear that nothing really changes when it comes to power, and everything he was commenting on in his original run during the Thatcher years is still right there (including the cameras; the surveillance state began to become an issue under her administration), and still the same flavor of bleak.

But the art is still horrible and lifeless.

ETA: Oh, hey, I was going to end it there, but something just occurred to me. Until now I was thinking that Pandemonium really didn't bring anything to John's character other than "Hey, look at him getting old these days." But now that I think of it, seeing Delano on Hellblazer again made me realize that John's response to all this is significantly nastier than I think it would've been back in the early days. I've been rereading some favorite Hellblazer arcs since the finale of Supernatural put me in the mood (*cough*), and it hadn't struck me till now, with this chance to directly compare Delano's original interpretation of John with this older, more experienced version, how much John has hardened. I mean, he was never a nice guy, but back then he hesitated to put a gun to a serial killer's head and pull the trigger. Now, despite his enduring distaste for hands-on violence, I doubt he'd balk much at the same situation. Discuss?
linkReply

Comments:
[User Picture]From: drowsyfantasy
2010-06-01 05:44 pm (UTC)
Yeah - I think the art is what REALLY detracted the MOST from the story - for me, anyway. I enjoyed the storyline as an interesting idea, but not the best ever made.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: prettyarbitrary
2010-06-01 05:55 pm (UTC)
Yeah, sometimes it actually clashed against the writing for me. And I agree, the storyline was okay, but not great.

I always like to see Nergal, though. He really does seem to enjoy having John about the place. Maybe it's one sneaky bastard to another?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: hohaiyee
2010-06-02 01:44 am (UTC)

I think Nergal wants John for his harem

Like, dude, reading "Original Sins" right now, and there was this scene where Nergal literally told his horde to pleasure him, and most of the people up front were dudes, so duuuuude!

Oh Jamie Delano!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: prettyarbitrary
2010-06-02 03:19 am (UTC)

Re: I think Nergal wants John for his harem

Then that means you haven't read the hospital scene yet. Second-to-last issue in the compilation. It's worth the price of admission for that single scene alone.

Then there's...well, pretty much everything in "Down in the Ground Where the Dead Men Go." One of my favorite Hellblazer arcs, in fact, and if you want to do a straight run of Nergal, he's all over John the place in there. (For reference, the four-part "Reasons to be Cheerful" sets up the story for "Down in the Ground.")
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: hohaiyee
2010-06-02 03:38 pm (UTC)

Re: I think Nergal wants John for his harem

Oh, I've read the hospital scene, it's a part of the volume ain't it, it just looks reallllly wrong and full of No Yay. Of all the ways he could have woke John up, Nergal used tongue!
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: prettyarbitrary
2010-06-04 08:08 pm (UTC)
Huh. Apparently we should be blaming the colorist for this. I just came across some teaser panels Jock colored and put up himself, and they look muuuuuuch better than the final product we got in the book.
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: saikoutron
2010-06-03 11:57 am (UTC)
Actually, when reading through Pandemonium I just couldn't shake the feeling that Delano/Constantine's monologue never ever lets up to give the art the chance to speak for itself, almost as though there was some lack of trust between writer/artist, the story becoming more commentary than story. And when we do get to the part about the card game when the art does gets going, it's all a little and much much too late.
(Reply) (Thread)
[User Picture]From: prettyarbitrary
2010-06-03 01:03 pm (UTC)
The art and writing definitely seem to be at war, don't they?
(Reply) (Parent) (Thread)