55. Hellblazer—War Lord: John Shirley

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55. Hellblazer—War Lord: John Shirley

Post  Patguy on Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:16 am

A novel based on Vertigo/DC’s long-running comics character John Constantine.

I’m enjoying what Vertigo has been up to with Constantine recently, such as hiring mystery novelists like Ian Rankin and Denise Mina to write some of the comics, and in this case commissioning horror writer John Shirley to write a Constantine novel. (Shirley also apparently wrote the novelization of the movie Constantine, but I think I’ll give that one a pass.)

My only previous exposure to Shirley was as the lyricist for latter-day Blue Oyster Cult albums, upon which I pass no comment, but judging from this book, he’s a decent prose stylist with a good imagination. Nothing here breaks any new ground—and despite being my favorite comics character, I’m not sure what else can really be done with John Constantine—but the book is at least as enjoyable as Jamie Delano’s or Mike Carey’s runs on Hellblazer, and considerably better than many other of the comic’s writers. Yes, the ending is crappy sub-James Bondishness, but everything up to that point hits all the right notes, and I would happily read other Shirley Hellblazer novels (though not the movie adaptation, and I’m not sure I care enough to read any of Shirley’s other books). A mixed success, we’ll say.

Patguy
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