Constantine is a character I had been interested in for ages but I could never really tell where I should begin. Then the New 52 (DC should stop saying that now) came along and he wasn't to be seen. Although there was Justice League Dark I wasn't interested. Now Jeff Lemire (probably one of my favorite writers at the moment) has jumped on and given Constantine his own series. Naturally, I picked it up.
The issue has some kid seeking help from Constantine because of some magical problem which allows him to see magical items (I think). Constantine takes the kid to where he said it was only to have a lady of some cult try to poison him on the plane. He makes short work of her, burning her away. They then arrive where the boy said the item was only to be confronted by the daughter of one of the “big bad” magicians our protagonist warned us about. Things don't end too well.
That is literally the entire issue, it’s very fast paced and quite a bit is crammed in there but it all goes well. The issue also has a lot of narration by Constantine, giving us a small explanation of how magic works, the big bad guys and what this magical item is. Sometimes I find inner monologue distracting and it chokes up the flow of the story, but it didn't here.
I was a little unfair in only mentioning Lemire as writer on this book; he is in fact the co-plotter for the series. The man behind the wheel for the heavier stuff like script work falls onto the shoulders of Ray Fawkes. Having already commented on the pacing I found this book just shows enough to keep me wanting more, which I think is what a first issue needs to be able to do.
The art is done by Renato Guedes and straight out, I like his artwork. Everything just looks nice in a gritty sort of way, a style that works well with the narrative. He does hair quite well too. Marcelo Maiolo was in charge of colors which melds well with the art and story as well. Generally a dull pallet with a few bright colors for magic and such. I was impressed with the art in general.
Now I've been speaking on this as a new reader to the character. I haven't had the opportunity to read Hellblazer (don't hate me) so I can't compare. But as a new reader I did enjoy this issue. I am more interested in the character now and want to see how he works. I found this to be a pretty strong issue and you know what, I couldn't find something wrong with it, though that's probably just me. But I think it works well as an introduction and with that I cannot fault it, although it doesn't have that “x-factor” to be perfect.
Writers: Ray Fawkes & Jeff Lemire
Artists: Renato Guedes & Marcelo Maiolo
Publisher: DC Comics
Release Date: 3/20/13