Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Waiting for Wednesday, Volume 3, Issue 33

Ya know, for someone who writes a column each week called Waiting for Wednesday, you'd think I wouldn't be so ill prepared when Wednesday actually rolls around.

Double negatives and clunky opening paragraphs aside, though, I will say this in my defense for why I have very little to talk about today. You see, I think I might have a minor case of food poisoning.

Okay, fine, so maybe it's not so much "food poisoning" as it is, "Alex bought sushi take out last night and then proceeded to get stuck in traffic for over an hour...with the sushi in the car."

And, yes, I still ate the sushi when I (finally) got home.

Let me tell you, though. I had the air conditioning on so high in the car that I was shivering. 80 degrees outside, and I was shivering. Somehow, I figured that would make the over-an-hour-old car sushi edible.

And it was, in that I ate it all. The whole thing.

And, by and large, I was fine afterwards. I even slept through the night with no problems, which would lead one to believe that I dodged a car sushi-sized bullet.

And then I woke up this morning, and I immediately regretted every decision I made after 7:00 last night.

I think I might be through the woods, as they say (who says that, though, I have no idea). Still a little woozy, but mostly back to normal. And, because I am a true Wednesday Warrior, I will bravely try to get to my local comics shop at some point.

Once I'm there I will be buying a handful of things. Not too many, though, as comics are in a weird holding pattern while we wait for DC to launch their 52 new titles in a couple of weeks.

So, what's at the top of my list? John Constantine, of course.

This week we get a double helping of the stodgy old wizard himself with a new issue and a trade of the most recent story arc. That trade, entitled, Hellblazer: Bloody Carnations, features something that I never thought I'd see.
And when you're talking about Constantine and the Hellblazer universe, that's really saying something.

John, you see, is getting married.

Anyone familiar with the character knows why that's an insanely bad idea, and trust me, this story lives up to that expectation.

Hellblazer is a title that spans decades--at 275 issues, it's got pretty much anything without Batman, Spider-Man, or Superman beat in terms of numbering--and as such there's quite a bit of built-up continuity.

Over time, I've managed to read a good amount of those 275 issues, along with many of the mini-series and original graphic novels featuring the character.

Still, there are complete story arcs that I've missed, and I'm sure there are years' worth of stories that I haven't read. Even so, I have enough of a base for the character to be able to pick up pretty much anything with him in it and follow along.

Constantine is tortured, and tortured, and tortured, for his craft and his lifestyle.

And he's a downright bastard, as he'll happily tell you. When I drop the title, it's usually because the themes get too heavy, or too depressing. So when I head that Vertigo was planning to marry off their middle-aged bachelor, I was intrigued.

I picked up a couple of the previous trades to get a feel for what writer Peter Milligan was doing with the character, and I really enjoyed his work. I read "Bloody Carnations" as it came out in single issues, and that put me over the top.

I'm now back to having Hellblazer on my monthly pull list.

While this trade may not be the best place to start for complete newcomers to Constantine, I would definitely recommend this to Hellblazer readers who may have fallen off the path for a while and are looking for a good excuse to return.

Here's the solicitation information on the trade:

Haunted by memories of striking Epiphany, John cuts off his thumb and enlists help from Shade the Changing Man. Plus: Old friends and demon foes converge for the royal wedding of the century when the U.K.'s perpetual bachelor gets hitched! Collecting issues #267-275.

It's good stuff, and it signifies a return to form for one of comics' best characters. Check it out when you get to the shop today, but before you go--what are you Waiting for?

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