01 April 2005

Free Trade Guerrilla: Constantine Double Feature!

There is nothing the Free Trade Guerilla loves better than movies based on comic books. As soon as the news hits the airwaves, managers of the major book chains start ordering related titles like mad and this equals new material for the free traders.

This past weekend I was able to check out Constantine as part of an unofficial double feature (free trade style!) alongside Be Cool. I figured I would enjoy at least one of these films and was pleasantly surprised to discover that I enjoyed Constantine more.

Don't get me wrong, Constantine is no Hellboy or X2, but it does the job even though it starts out with 3 strikes. The fact that John Constantine is not British (slider), the setting is moved from London to L.A. (breaking ball), and Keanu Reeves is starring (high heat!), had this movie near doom from the opening scene. Luckily, the writers developed a strong enough plot to keep the audience engaged throughout. Though still suffering from a slow moving middle act, Constantine delivers the goods in its final 40 minutes, and would even make me look forward to a sequel...as long as it took place in England.

The same can not be said about the accompanying trade paperback. Any movie adaptation starts with four strikes, but this collection is even worse than that. After we get through the C-level art and Steven T. Seagle's - of the truly excellent It's a Bird - ugly rescripting of the movie, Constantine: The Hellblazer Collection teases us with opening issues of Hellblazer: Original Sins and Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits, both of which were damn solid (Dangerous Habits is Garth Ennis' first American comic story) but end with "continue the story in..." These bait-and-switch issues are sandwiched between a rather weak Neil Gaiman/Dave McKean Hellblazer one-shot as well. The two stories do offer a lil insight into some of the inspiration that led to the movie, but that's not enough to make this a good read...not even for free!

Constantine (the movie) gets a cigar leaning up, but Constantine: The Hellblazer Collection gets a strong cigar pointing down.

Constantine: The Hellblazer Collection (DC Comics, 2005; $14.95) Written by Steven T. Seagle, Jamie Delano, Neil Gaiman and Garth Ennis; Art by Ron Randall, Jimmy Palmiotti, John Ridgway, Dave McKean, Will Simpson and Mark Pennington.

1 comment:

bottleHeD said...

Actually, i was kinda let down the ending. The Gabriel part was good, sure, and the Devil's entry pretty smooth, but the rest of it all kinda lacked any energy.