Comic-book fans love John Constantine.
You know why we love John Constantine? In most cases it's because he's a scheming, foul-mouthed, mean-spirited, vicious, nasty bastard! Being that he's such a scumbag why is it that comic-book fans love him so?
Well y'see basically....it's because we're jerks.
That's right you heard me. It's too late to get all defensive and apologetic now. Instead why not get your jerk on with John at his bastardy best in Hellblazer #42.
This issue comes right in the middle of Garth Ennis' bitchin 'Bad Habits' storyline. You know the one, where John gets lung cancer? It was the basis of that Constantine movie (ick!).
Anyway, John's got cancer and he's trying every sorcerous trick he can think of to wangle his way out of it. So he heads off to Ireland to see his old buddy Brendan Finn. Maybe Brendan can help with the whole cancer-curing thing. I mean who better to go to for a cure to cancer than a drunken Irish stereotype?
Unfortunately for John it turns out that Brendan himself is dying from liver disease. Now with both their lives on the line you'd think they'd put their heads together and come up with some serious dark mojo that can save both their asses.
Well you'd be wrong. Instead they decide to brew up some magic beer and get pissed!That's right! You heard me! I said MAGIC BEER! Even Vertigo titles are not immune to the infectious tickle of comic book wackiness!
After they are both well and truly rat-arsed John decides to hit the road, leaving Brendan to catch forty winks in his drafty basement (what a pal!). On his way out the door he runs into the First of the Fallen on his way in to collect Brendan's soul. Poor Brendan, dying off panel! An Irish stereotype just can't a break in this book!
Anyway John doesn't fancy letting some two-bit, wannabee Satan take his buddy's soul and so the bastard cogs in his brain begin to turn, formulating a dastardly plan.
He invites Firsty to have a drink with him over Brendan's corpse. Gullible old Firsty thinks 'wow, this guy's a real jerk but soul-collecting is thirsty work' and agrees.One tall frosty one later John pulls some of his patented bastard-hocus-pocus out of the bag and changes the enchanted booze into holy water!
Now as any Joss Whedon fan will tell you holy water and demons just don't mix. Poor Firsty - he thought it was just a bad case of wind until his guts began to melt.John's not done yet though. Not satisfied with pureeing the dumbass demon's innards he decides to channel his inner football hooligan and deliver what back in his neck of the woods is known as a Geordie kiss (the rest of it know it as being stabbed in the face with a broken bottle).You're all grinning out there now aren't you? You enjoyed that didn't you? All it takes is some poor sap getting his face torn off by the business end of a ’74 Latour and you're happy as a clam.
See? You're all jerks. Just like I told you.
Why they didn't include the jerktastic magic booze incident in that Constantine movie is beyond me. Sure they'll throw in mystical tatoos (ick), Gavin Rossdale (ick), weener-taxi-driving-sidekicks (double ick) and nicotine gum (one thousand times ick) but magic beer, demons who can't hold their drink and face-bottling is going too far!
Damn you Hollywood - aren't you supposed to rot our brains and loosen our morals? What's up with that?
This is one of my favorite parts of the whole 'Bad Habits' storyline, which (in the comics at least) is quality start to finish.
Kudos to Garth Ennis - he knows good bastard.
Guess he must be a jerk too.