Script: Ian Rankin
Art: Werther Dell’edera
Published by Vertigo Crime
I finished this book last night and I must say it was an immensly enjoyable read. This was my first introduction to writer Ian Rankin and artist Werther Dell’edera. Rankin is known for writing crime novels and this is his foray into the graphic novel format, and on this evidence I’m more than happy to see him return again.
The story centres around John Constantine, an exorcist with a smart mouth and bags of devilish cunning! Those familar with Vertigo’s Hellblazer series will recogonise him immediately. And I must say I too am also a big fan of Hellblazer, the character is no doubt the biggest draw but also the intriguing situations he encounters mainly against those of the demonic persuasion (Garth Ennis’ Dangerous Habits still remains my favourite storyline and was the basis for the rather poor film adaption, starring Keanu Reeves). In this story he is called upon by a reality TV show producer to investigate some spooky goings in a show based around a house wherein six occupants dwell, think Big Brother but with scares thrown in. The house itself is engineered to scare the occupants but things are getting out of hand. And of course Constantine enters the house to unravel the mystery. There’s a big twist half way through, which some readers may see coming. But for me it was still a surprise, and changed the whole context of the story. In fact the book even changes its page colour from white to black as soon as the twist is revealed! I thought that was a really cool touch.
The black and white artwork by Dell’edera may seem sketchy and unrefined at first, but I soon grew to it. In fact as soon as the demon’s started to rear their ugly heads I found myself further drawn into Dell’edera’s artwork. It was pure Hellblazer with a smidgeon of Sandman thrown in for good measure. His vision of hell with its demonic occupants resembled a Boschian nightmare. Werther Dell’edera is a name I will most definitely keep watch for in the future
When I first saw this title on the shelf I did not know it was related to John Constantine because A) the book was much smaller than your average comic size, more like the Manga books to be precise, and B) John Constantine is mentioned in small font at the bottom of the cover. So I was immediately surprised to find my favourite demon hunter within the interior pages.
I really enjoyed this graphic novel and I recommend it to fans of Hellblazer, Sandman or horror in particular.