Surprised no one has started a thread on this, since I know there are Hellblazer fans around here. Of course this version of John Constantine is probably intended to be based on the New 52 version: I didn't see a Vertigo logo in the credits, just a DC one.

Constantine actually made the transition back to the DCU relatively intact. The main differences are no smoking, and frequent use of magic. In Hellblazer he did such a small amount of magic that it was often questionable that he could do it at all. He clearly preferred to get by on his wits, anyway. And he never used his fists.

Really good casting this time. Matt Ryan looks, acts and sounds just how I imagine Constantine. I like the rest of the cast, too, but none of them have nearly as well-defined a visual template to match up with. The first episode wasted no time establishing the most significant act in John's early life in magic: the failed summoning in Newcastle that damned young Astra to Hell.

His oldest friend Chas is on hand with his taxicab, too. The others aren't taken as directly from the comics. The appearance of the computer hacker Ritchie is a sufficiently obscure character that I'd consider it an Easter Egg.

The early scenes are set in England, as they should be. But the main action happens in Atlanta, of all places. Works fine, but I'll be curious if the location is ever explained. I don't remember that happening in this episode.

Off to a good start, all in all. I'll just have to accept Constantine doing lots of magic. It is more visual than him standing around smoking and looking moody.

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I just finished watching Constantine, the series.  I came by it through a most circumtitious route, as I wanted to watch the Flash, but the OCD fanboy in me had to watch Arrow first and then continue with Arrow and Flash intermittently after Flash debuted.  I've just started season 2 of Flash (and season 4 of Arrow) and saw that Comstantine is due an appearance.  Obsessively and compulsively (and not a little disordered in my mind) I had to watch all Constantine's appearances prior to his Arrow episode, too.

What to say?  It definitely improved as it continued.  There was a lot that was clunky in the early episodes but the creators and actors seemed to home in on what they were trying to do over the course of the 13 episodes.  It was clear that they wanted to honour the comics, especially the early ones, with the references to Newcastle and Constantine's original circle of (doomed) friends, and the stories were structured similarly to the American Gothic storyline in Swamp Thing (and heading to a similar payoff!).  By the end they were doing more with that premise of John betraying his friends for what he perceived as the greater good.  They twisted that in various ways, or used it well, as in the case of Ritchie where I really wanted him to survive.  

Actually the series made it more obvious that John was motivated by guilt and a sense of responsibility than in the comics.  In the comics he's more of a superhero, just fighting evil ... just because, and evil crosses his path by comicbook coincidence.   In the show, he's more serious about his mission, and his debts, and actively seeks out evil, even though he presents the same front as the comics.

I've read the Moore appearances of Constantine and the Ennis run, both religiously, but am not familiar with most other Constantine comics.  Is Zed from the comics?  Lester?  

I loved that they brought in the Brujeria and the Invunche.  Few comicbook baddies have stuck in my head as horribly as those guys.  Some of the Invunche was great.  The way his limbs seemed to be dislocated and such, but in other ways he was too CGI, and also somewhat underused.  

So more of Alan Moore's work is disseminating further into the pop culture!

The 2005 movie seemed to draw mainly from Ennis' run, but this series owed more to Moore.  The only real  reference to Ennis' run that I could spot was Constantine's penchant for 'stout'.  I'm not sure John had a thing for Guinness before Ennis took the reins!  He certainly loved it after!



Captain Comics said:

My wife and I enjoyed the series premiere, as well.

I was glad to see Chas, although there seems to be a bit of mystery about him, whereas in the comics he was a pretty straightforward character. And seeing him in a yellow cab instead of an English hack had me not really believing it was him at first. There's a story there, and I assume we'll get it eventually.

And I'm not worried about John's "magic" too much, as it seems primarily to be shouting Latin at bad things. He's not throwing bolts of bedevilment around, or launching ankhs from his fingers, like Drs. Strange and Fate. so I'm good.

The Constantine cosmology seems to have made the transition seamlessly as well, in that angels aren't necessarily what we think of as good guys. They have their own agenda, and don't mind a few mortal corpses along the way.

Within the logic of the show, what they did with Chas made sense.  Especially as they made such a big deal about people working with John regularly kicking the old bucket.  This way the same friend could get killed/maimed  every week!  Also this John wouldn't have a 'civilian' around who might get killed.  Zed had to work hard to inveigle herself into the team at first, but by the end John acknowledged she was now in the Labirynth by her own choice.

Again - was Chas's many lives a thing from the comics?  I'd guess not.

As to the 'church-Latin', during Ennis' run some typical Vertigo-reading pseudo-intellectual wrote in to complain that Ennis was basing most of the cosmology on Western Christian ideas and folklore and that the world was more multi-cultural and diverse than that, and he was privileging White European blah blah blah. As if Ennis cared!

As the TV series progressed it became clear that Constantine was drawing on magic and rituals and using the language of all sorts of living and dead cultures.  The Abrahamic cultures were just a few among equals.  I recognised the final sun-spell in the hospital as Irish btw, but I watched it in subtitles and it was clear that different languages were being used (and possibly nonsense ones too!)  So things have moved on that far, at least, concerning privileging white European blah blah blah!!

Papa Midnite's Voodoo was largely old-school villainy, though, as presented here, and could have done with the more even-handed, and sympathetic (and accurate) treatment that Morrison used in the Invisibles.  Yes we were told that Papa Midnite was straying off his path, but still....

Clark Kent DC said:

The lead very well captures John Constantine's look and personality, except that he makes the mistake of pronouncing the name "ConstanTEEN"; the comics well established he says it "ConstanTINE," even if nobody else does. And his accent slips at times. There are a lot of Britons, Scotsmen and Austrailians on TV playing Americans these days, but I never thought I would be able to catch a Welshman not sounding like a Londoner. 

Yes, the accent.  As the series averred to, John isn't a Londoner, but a Liverpudlian (wonderful word for a native of Liverpool!)  However, he clearly spent a lot of his life, particularly his formative young adulthood in London, so I don't really mind if his accent wavers between those two.  Actually it makes sense.  John's personality is as Cockney as Liverpudlian, although both are anti-authoritarian, stick-it-to-the-man sort of working-class cultures.  What John takes from the Cockneys is a certain archness, and an overly dramatissed cheeriness that covers a wariness and distance from people.  "Love all, and trust none!" might be a Cockney dictum.

The Actors Welsh background came out in a certain melodic cadences of his speech.  Welsh as a very musical accent, and they are a proudly musical people.

Matt's Liverpool accent improved as the series progressed, and by the end he sounded like a Beatle who was in a bad mood.

Travis said:

I loved the first episode taking place in Atlanta, and I don't care why.  I was just happy it wasn't in NYC or LA.

Agreed. Also, as Moore showed in Swamp Thing (and counted on), if you want old-world horrors and a Gothic feel to your American creepshow, the Old South is the place to be.

Speaking of locations, I sensed a certain tension between the showrunners wanting to do a sort of road movie, like Moore's American Gothic and them depending on the Millhouse as a base and source of plot macGuffins for the characters.  So they had a map of the US, but when trouble brole out they'd nip out of the house and return shortly after.



Captain Comics said:

I just posted the column on Constantine I wrote for Tribune back on Oct. 16.


Just out of curiousity, how much of the series had you seen when you wrote that piece?



Richard Willis said:

Mark Sullivan (Vertiginous Mod) said:

In the course of sorting it out John meets Zed (who was the woman shown making drawings of him at the end of the pilot).

From the glimpses of the artwork Zed had done, I saw a few that were covers of the Hellblazer books.


Possibly its in the list of Easter Eggs, Mark posted above, I did see a Bradstreet Wing or Precint in one of the shows. Many of the drawings semmed to come directly from the hand of Mr Bradstreet, (ie he was employed by the show...) who was probably the most iconic Hellblazer cover artist. I wonder if he was listed in the credits?

Rob said:

On the other hand, I'm glad to hear John's history with Mucous Membrane is intact, and it was great to see John rush into the radio station, Sex Pistols blaring in his ears. Though a clever guy like John would have thought to take out the speakers himself, I think. 

It's funny.  As the 90s and 00s wore on, it was harder to imagine that John was in a punk band of the original punk era.  Sure, he was 60 by the time DC brought that era of the character to a close.  But this 40-something character in 2017 isn't hard to imagine as being in an underground 90s punk revival band.

(My mind was boggled recently that there was a whole scene in late 90s Belfast that I knew nothing about despite occasionally hanging out in that city at the time.  Bless them!!)


It was hard to miss, but I loved the large portrait of Johnny Rotten up in Ritchies University office.



Richard Willis said:

Rob Staeger (Grodd Mod) said:

.... I hear the next ep has a pretty grisly John's-a-bastard ending, which gives me hope.

The fourth episode, "A Feast of Friends," shown on November 14 had a pretty good John's-a-bastard ending.


Speaking of accents, Gary Lester in this episode had a Northern Ireland/Belfast accent, by the way.

If you REALLY wanted to, you could call it a British accent! ;-)



Captain Comics said:

That was quite a twist at the end. I'm gonna be disappointed if we don't see what Manny's up to -- not to mention the clear foreshadowing of The Spectre, which I'd like to see, too. #SaveConstantine


So here we are! They were really finding their feet by the end of the series. It is sad, of course, that they couldn't take it further. There was a lot to admire here.

They were doing good things with Zed too. I thought that scene in one of the last episodes where Zed is recovering in a hospital bed and she murmurs some mild absolutiuon to John from his dead mother before falling back asleep was really strong. The sexual tension between these two was a bit forced and the obviousness of their becoming some kind of romantic thing worked against Zed in the show, but that this was the circumstances where John finally 'gets into bed with her' (he just lies down beside her on a hospital bed turned those things on their head. Poor Zed was more on the 'death' end of the old Sex and Death equation by the end of the series as it stood! :-(

That scene really worked for me. Poor John is a lot more of a softy than he admits...

The TV Arrowverse has come to start replicating much of the techniques and storytelling forms of superhero comics, to an extent we have never seen in superhero television before, with the crossovers and same shared overall setting.

I'd love to see some of the threads left dangling from Constantine addressed in another show - possibly Arrow is closest in tone, although it is a pulp show, and Constantine is horror.  In comics creators tie up old loose ends in other comics after cancellation all the time.  Is it too much to hope that that might happen here?

The Brujeria really were the Big Bad of Moore's run, although they weren't as well fleshed out as Anton Arcane, so it's a pity that we don't get a resolution of this storyline somewhere.  

Like where storylines are tied up in other comics, the TV resolution would probably be unnaturally curtalied and not quite satisfying, but at least it'd be something...

It seems Constantine has only appeared in one Arrowverse show, so far, which I'm looking forward to, but he is too good a character to leave at that.

The cartoon is good news, but ..... well,... as far as I know, Vixen didn't get much exposure after her cartoon debit... (maybe I'm wrong.  I believe she got a second little series, at least)

I bailed on Constantine early, but may watch it over again in the near future, especially since you guys say it improved later. I really liked the casting and performance of Matt Ryan.

As a side note, I acquired the entire run of Saga of the Swamp Thing in TPB form last year, which of course includes John's debut. Now I just have to make the time to read it. 

Figserello said:

It seems Constantine has only appeared in one Arrowverse show, so far, which I'm looking forward to, but he is too good a character to leave at that.

In addition to his appearance on the Arrow show, Matt Ryan voiced Constantine in the recent DVD animated movie Justice Lrague Dark, which was well done. He had an ill-fated friend in that, too. I see that he is also to voice the character in a new animated Constantine show:

https://www.bleedingcool.com/2017/01/08/matt-ryan-returns-constanti...

The cartoon is good news, but ..... well,... as far as I know, Vixen didn't get much exposure after her cartoon debit... (maybe I'm wrong. I believe she got a second little series, at least)

The character appeared on Arrow also, and since then a Vixen (her time-displaced Grandmother) has appeared and still is appearing on the Arrowverse show Legends of Tomorrow (season 2). Her special effects are well done.

Great googly-moogly, that's a lot of Constantine talk all at once. A favorite subject of mine, so let me respond as well as I can.

Richard, you are spot on, of course, on all the Arrow/Constantine/Vixen news. There is still talk of another go at Constantine at The CW, and Matt Ryan is still "in talks," which means he's available for (or really wants) the role. I don't see much future, except on a streaming service where there can be naughty bits, sacrilege, and endings that aren't remotely clean. But weirder things have happened. Fingers crossed.

I don't know what's included in the "Saga of the Swamp Thing" TPBs. But you should read the Alan Moore run, starting with "The Anatomy Lesson" until he left the title. It's terrific work that single-handedly raised the medium to a new level. Arguably, even the worst comics of today are better than they should be, because Alan Moore showed what this medium could be.

OK, now on to the novel by Figs ...

Captain Comics said:

There is still talk of another go at Constantine at The CW, and Matt Ryan is still "in talks," which means he's available for (or really wants) the role. I don't see much future, except on a streaming service where there can be naughty bits, sacrilege, and endings that aren't remotely clean. But weirder things have happened. Fingers crossed.

Hey, if they do that maybe he'll even smoke a cigarette!

I don't know what's included in the "Saga of the Swamp Thing" TPBs. But you should read the Alan Moore run, starting with "The Anatomy Lesson" until he left the title. It's terrific work that single-handedly raised the medium to a new level.

"The Anatomy Lesson" is at the beginning of Volume 1.

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