It feels as though it’s been forever since Hellblazer Rebirth updated, given that most Rebirth series seem to be on a bi-weekly schedule, but Hellblazer Rebirth #3 is finally here, and boy is it underwhelming. The series might be interesting — there’s definitely the spark of an interesting story here — but it seems to be taking forever to take a step forward.
Swamp Thing and Mercury continue to navigate the Rot, and Swamp Thing continues to insist he was not, in fact, stalking Abby. Mercury sets out to find Abby, and while that is technically a step forward, their entire dialog feels like a rehash of things we already know from previous Swamp Thing arcs, and from the first two comics. My love of Swamp Thing wants this to turn into something amazing, so desperately, but their portion of the story is moving at an impossibly slow pace.
As is Constantine’s, while we’re at it. Having escaped the weird-looking minions, Constantine turns to Map for answers. We’re given a very long story about who and what Map is, before Map reveals who and what the minions are and frankly, I had to read it twice to make sure I wasn’t imaging the whole thing. Yes, the villains here are Djinn. Mmhmmm. Djinn. If you thought the backstory of Map was long, the Djinn’s backstory is even longer. And less interesting.
Which is really disappointing given Constantine’s knack for finding insanely interesting foes. Given his supernatural ties, the Hellblazer series has always been dredging through mythology (primarily Christian) to find new and interesting beasties for Constantine to pit against. And here we’re given Djinn. Really? Really.
This issue confirms yet again, that which we pieced together last issue, and that is that while this might be a Hellblazer series, the world does not revolve around Constantine. Which is probably a hard concept for him to tackle, truth be told, and could be potentially interesting if we didn’t already know Swamp Thing is the real target of this story.
For the first two issues, I wondered how Hellblazer Rebirth was going to tie into the Rebirth arc on the whole, and I think we just got our answer. Setting up the Djinn as angry proto-humans, wanting the Earth back to themselves seems to fit nicely within the overall Rebirth concept. But given my highly skeptical nature of the Rebirth concept, I’m not sure that’s a compliment. I really, really want to like this series, but this issue left me very lukewarm.
Author(s): Simon Oliver
Publisher: DC Comics
Publish Date: 10/26/16
Acquired via Purchase