Wave two of the Sandman Universe is coming at the end of October, and DC Comics released an advance preview of the one shot that kicks it all off – The Sandman Universe Presents Hellblazer#1. In it, we see John Constantine doing what he was born to do: betraying friends, scheming, and maybe, in a flash of self-sacrifice, saving the universe.
Wave one of the Sandman Universe books has been an unquestioned success: The Dreaming, Simon Spurrier and Bilquis Evely’s book about the realm of the Endless abandoned by Dream and taken over by, effectively, a computer virus, was on our Best Comics of 2018 list, and DC is looking to build off of that success. Spurrier kicks off wave two with this one shot before taking over Constatine’s ongoing, John Constantine, Hellblazer, with art from Aaron Campbell.
He’s joined on this one-shot by artist Marcio Takara, and from the looks of these pages, Takara is leveling up here. Takara’s most recent work was on Wolverine: The Long Night,the comic adaptation of the radio program by the same name, but his art here is much more loose, shadowy and quite frankly bonkers. The preview takes us into what looks like the future, as magic is overrunning the world and Cthonic monsters swarming the Earth’s skies. Takara art is dense and chaotic and almost panic-inducing, which is I think the point of the story.
Spurrier’s patter is, for someone who’s mostly experienced Constantine through the television shows (and particularly Legends of Tomorrow), spot on. Spurrier has always thrived when writing smart talking bastards (see Dr. Nemesis) so he’s the right fit for the alpha bastard of DC’s magical realms. Spurrier says of the character, “They asked me for a quote about how great John Constantine is and how honored I am to write him. Bollocks. He’s given me a stomach ulcer and I haven’t slept in weeks. Just read the bloody comic so he leaves me alone.”
What’s of particular interest here is that it’s mining old continuity to knit together the magic DC realm in a neat way. Tim Hunter, the protagonist of the current and former Books of Magicseries, is apparently the cause of all the doom facing the Earth in this future, and young Tim appears to have been transported forward in time to see it.
Take a look at the preview below. For more on Hellblazer,the rest of the Vertigo line, or the best comics of 2019, stick with Den of Geek!