What’s been really interesting about Jeff Lemire’s run on JLD is that he’s not only been reintroducing long lost elements from DC’s supernatural history, but he’s been proving that plenty of old favorite moments are still part of DC’s canon in the New 52. In this issue Lemire brings back the old, punk rocker version of John Constantine. Plus, he shows us where John got his current sense of style, and when he first met Zatanna. Most interestingly, it seems we know who the villain from issue #12 is, and he’s not going to be easy to deal with.
There have been comics to tell about the past of John Constantine, but so far in the New 52, we’ve just had the younger version of the character equivalent to his appearances in Alan Moore’s Swamp Thing. That said, this is really the first time we’re given a look at his past in these comics. For this issue, we see Constantine’s training, going from a user of mild, black-arts to the mage we know today, with the help of a sorcerer named Necro.
Fans of John should enjoy this issue. It’s full of black magic adventures, some romance, and we even know why John wears the shirt tie and trench coat. To say anything else might be too spoiler-filled, but the issue leaves us knowing that the threat John and the JLD face (as of issue #12) is not one to take lightly. On that note, it makes the timing of this flashback actually very nice and works as a proper intro to a villain so that readers know what to expect, rather than having to use random flashback panels and narrative to tell us who the character is. And no, it’s not Keanu Reeves. Sadly.
As for the art, Lee Garbett takes over for Mikal Janin in this issue. Garbett’s work is nice, but it’s pretty standard, modern comic fare. I feel like there wasn’t enough play with panel placement, perspective, or anything really inventive. However, I do have to praise the last few pages in which the colorist for this issue really got to shine. Other than that, not much to highlight nor gripe about as far as the art goes.
Lemire gave us what was one of the more consistently solid, and also more substantial zero issues. Most of the zero issues I read in September gave, at most, a couple of important factors of these characters’ past, and most of them didn’t play into the story happening in the actual issues of the series, but this one gave several important bits of information that are definitely coming back into play when issue #13 hits shelves late October.
GO Rating: 4/5