Simon Spurrier and company begin the final act of this volume of Hellblazer. All of the pieces of the puzzle start to come together in “The Wake-Up Call.”
So, the enemy that has been lurking in the shadows since the beginning of this series finally confronts John — sort of. This confrontation has been in the works for a while, and it does not disappoint, both from a dialogue and visual perspective.
Spurrier does an incredible job of writing the younger and elder Constantines’ dialogues in ways that differentiate them, but still make it clear that these are very much the same old bastard. Old Man John’s plan finally starts to come into focus, and it’s revealed in a clever way that befits the character’s M.O.
This issue plays a lot with dream logic, which is also achieved in interesting ways from the creative team. Much like in a dream, the characters speak in half-truths and obfuscate their intentions at different times. John even manages to use the logic of dreams against his enemy at a few moments, making something true just because of the rules a certain place has in his subconscious.
Matías Bergara clearly has a lot of fun with this concept, as well. Much like in a dream, characters will sometimes have their faces obscured, and other figures will not quite come into focus. Everything feels just slightly off, and that’s before things veer into more horrific territory. Bergara and Jordie Bellaire deliver some truly bizarre imagery in this issue. There are some otherworldly designs here that bring the series nearly full circle, returning John to the end of days readers were able to glimpse all the way back in the original Books of Magic miniseries.
There are also plenty of tense sequences that occur in a more realistic environment. In these moments, the violence plays out in an almost elegant fashion, allowing everything we know of these characters to inform how each of these scenes play out.
There are more than a few moments that are unclear in this issue. While the story here is obviously taking advantage of dream logic, it does seem like Old Man John’s ultimate plan has more than a few inconsistencies. It’s hard to decipher exactly what his endgame is, or even if he’s exactly what he appears to be. Then again, this whole series has been playing off of the power held by ideas, so maybe that’s the point. Either way, it should prove to be exciting to see how this part of the tale wraps itself up.
It also looks like next issue will be addressing a mysterious sequence from the beginning of the series. As Hellblazer ramps up for its grand finale, everything seems to be coming together at last.