Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Book Review: Dark Entries A John Constantine novel

Dark Entries By Ian Rankin
A John Constantine novel
214 Pages
DC Vertigo ( Vertigo crime line)

My favorite comic book of all time is Hellblazer, I followed the first 50 or so issues before I became a a broke activist and lost track. Over the last couple years I caught back with the occult magician John Constantine. Well I didn't think the movie was as bad as some people did I find the Americanizing of Constantine to be awful. Still it's not that bad.

Vertigo has done an amazing job of maintaining the quality of Hellblazer graphic novels and novels by keeping the caliber of his writers strong. Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Mike Carey, John Shirley and now international bestselling crime and detective author Ian Rankin. I have to admit I never heard of the man before getting this book in the mail. Best know for a series of books about a detective named inspector Rebus. I've been told by one friend that his writing is criminally good, another said he thought Rebus and Constantine would make great drinking buddies.
For those of you who don't know John Constantine began life as a small character created by watchmen author Alan Moore in an issue of Swamp Thing. A former Punk rocker and dammed occult magician, JC is a badass character - one of the best the genre has ever seen. The last new Hellblazer work I read was John Shirley's excellent novel Subterranean.
This is a very different Constantine book. It's small hardcover in Vertigo's new crime line it is a black white book with minimalist drawings. I am used to Hellblazer in bold colors, and since it is often gore drenched pages it took some getting used to.
Rankin weaves a patient Constantine tale but there is obvious love for the character, at first it seems like modern re-telling of a classic haunted house tale. John is asked to oversee a reality show that takes place in a haunted mansion. Things start taking life of their own and producers need John to go in and fix things. John suspects that the producers are not whom they seem to be, the stars of the show might not be who they appear to be. So what does our hero do but jump into the mystery.
There is an excellent twist that takes the book in a more classic Hellblazer path but Rankin does a wonderful job building up his story. Oh well I suppose I'm going to have to check out his books now. Hellblazer fans will really dig this different take on their hero. Pick up this book!

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