Constantine is self-centered, cocky, and a completely slimy con man/magician. This issue nails that perfectly. We get a perfect introduction to the character in a single issue, which makes it probably the best true first issue thus far from DC’s Rebirth. John Constantine is in a bind. Thanks to a trick he pulled on a demon years ago, he has been unable to return to London and has been stuck in New York all of this time. But now he has returned, with a gamble that puts the eternal souls of every last person in London in peril just so he can return home. Same as it ever was for old John.
The plot as it were is a little quick and to the point. We meet John and the demon who gives him trouble. We see John outwit said demon but is forced to abandon London, then he returns and deals with the fall out. Which is more out witting and being a charming bastard. We meet Chaz, his good buddy and the one guy who can be friends with Constantine and live, and Mercury a psychic who John needs help from. There’s a lot of witty banter, and of course along the way John wins. Of course he wins, this is the first issue, plus he is willing to do pretty much anything to win.
I have no clue why Wonder Woman, Swamp Thing, and the horribly named Shazam appear in this issue. It feels like wasted pages just to remind us that hey Constantine exists in the greater DC Universe. Which is fine I guess, but the plot itself is already a little thin all things considered so this bothered me more than it probably should have.
The art somehow feels like a Vertigo book married the new DCU style. Which is pretty perfect for this book, with a foot in both. There are a few times the art is a little too off though. Like the cigarette in Constantine’s mouth looks like it is hanging out of his cheek where no mouth actually exists and the like, but those are usually in further back/background details and hopefully won’t be a constant in the future. The feel of the book was right art wise which is what really matters.
All in all this was a pretty good issue. If you have literally never read a comic about John Constantine this issue will let you know the basics of his story and his character. If you are an old hat, it isn’t the most engaging of plots, but it does show that this take on John will be pretty consistent with what you would expect.
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