Constantine 1Finally, DC publish a decent New 52 comic! Jeff Lemire, fresh from his success with the critically acclaimed and bestselling “Animal Man” has turned his attention to John Constantine, an occult detective from Engerland. Co-writing is Ray Fawkes and the artist is Renato Guedes.

In this reboot, John sets off on a chase to find three mystical objects that, when assembled, will form Croydon’s Compass, a device that locates every magical resource available. In the wrong hands, it could be disastrous, so the chase is on for John to get all the pieces before the numerous dark magic practitioners with evil machinations do.

For a reboot, Lemire/Fawkes are pretty faithful to the original character. John is a bastard as he always was and treats people pretty poorly to get what he needs. He also knows his way around a spell and has a devil-may-care attitude that’s always been one of his best points. I was worried DC might phase out the smoking – in the Vertigo books, John is constantly chain-smoking cigarettes – as it is un-PC but sure enough on page 2 he cheerfully lights up.

Longtime readers of Constantine might be wondering whether he’s still dying from lung cancer/his deal with the Devil, and I have to say that it’s not mentioned in this issue. There’s talk at the start of paying for magic usage, that it’s like karma, you give and you take in equal measure, but it’s not quite the ominous danger of cancer/eternal damnation – but maybe there’ll be more on that in future issues?

Overall, “Constantine #1” is a pretty decent first issue – it didn’t blow me away but there’s more than enough here to recommend it. Lemire/Fawkes have nailed the character and come up with an engaging story full of potential with great art from Renato Guedes. A promising start to a great character.

Constantine #1 by Jeff Lemire, Ray Fawkes and Renato Guedes is available now at your local comic book shop and online at Comixology.

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This article was first posted on March 24, 2013