The cover: I stopped purchasing the monthly series some time ago because of the dollar increase. I didn’t feel I was getting an extra dollar out of the book. I had no intention of buying a Constantine solo book again. Then I saw this cover. A 3D Motion Cover has Constantine holding Dr. Fate’s helmet above his head, a knowing smirk on his face. Moving the cover, he’s wearing the helmet and wielding the power. In fact, the energy coming out of his fists are going beyond the borders of the motion portion of the image. I saw this and knew I had to buy it. I’m a tremendous fan of Dr. Fate and I have loved every incarnation of him since J.M. DeMatteis and Keith Giffen rebooted him. Interior artist Juan Ferreyra has done a great job on this and I cannot wait to see what he’s done on the interiors of this book. Overall grade: A+
The story: What a great idea for a story. This could be set “Five Years From Now” or tomorrow. The future doesn’t really play all that much into this tale. In an undisclosed room, Constantine lights up a cigarette and begins to go on a growing rant that ends with him saying, “…There is nobody I’ve ever wanted to put in the ground as much as you.” A turn of the page and readers are confronted with the golden helmet on a table speaking back to John with the best five words ever to sum him up, “John Constantine. The gutter mage.” I gave a hard laugh out loud at that description. Ray Fawkes has written some brilliant back and forth between these two magical individuals. “Wrecking the Heart” follows John’s quest to take out Nabu, while the helmet tempts him to don it so that it can take control of John. As the two verbally spar, individuals I’ve never heard of become involved in a parallel story, but because I didn’t know them and they had no impact on what was occurring between John and Nabu they meant nothing to me. The only way to improve upon what starts on Page 7 is to ignore these B-characters. That’s the only reason this story doesn’t earn a higher grade. The ending was great and I would love to have a Fate series focused on the character after this issue, but that’s five years from now, if even. Overall grade: A
The art: Terrific work from Juan Ferreyra, whose work can also be seen on Dark Horse’s Prometheus: Fire and Stone now out. His interpretation of John is great, as he’s the chain smoking hack (no pun intended) anti-hero I expect. His Fate helmet is terrific. There are a few new designs in it from the last time I’ve seen it and he made this inanimate object a thing to be feared. I really liked Pages 4 and 5’s seduction sequence for John. I loved when the flash forward ended John is shown like like a beaten man. Brilliant! Page 7 was a great visual. I’ve been reading comics for a while and I’ve never seen Fate do that before. Page 10 takes the book to an entirely new location and Ferreyra looks like he had a ball creating it. John is in his element and he’s the perfect smiling bastard. The scenes not involving the two leads also look fine, but since I didn’t care for that portion of the story, I admit to not spending too much time dwelling on them. With this book and Prometheus, Ferreyra has shown himself to be a master of modern day horror. Overall grade: A
The colors: A twosome of colorists on this issue arrives with Tanya & Richard Horie. The colors begin as very muted to instill the dark, low end area the book opens in. Page 2 is stunning. I loved the coloring on this page. The gleaming, but still muted, gold of Fate’s helmet is in complete contrast to Constantine. I also liked how color was used to differentiate Fate’s dialogue balloons from others. The new location halfway through the book is glorious with the use of one particular color. Can’t say without spoiling, but it looks good. The B-characters are in muted blues to denote darkness. It’s good. Overall grade: A
The letters: Sound effects and dialogue and narration, the latter two being the same font, are done by Pat Brousseau. I really wanted the helmet to have its own unique font to make it “sound” beyond the realm of man, but I didn’t get that. Still, what is given is okay. Overall grade: A-
The final line: John Constantine versus Nabu is like Christmas come early. Highly enjoyable. Makes me want this team to do a Fate monthly. Overall grade: A
Patrick Hayes was a contributor to the Comic Buyer’s Guide for several years with “It’s Bound to Happen!”, he reviewed comics for TrekWeb, and he currently reviews Trek comics at TrekCore. He’s taught 8th graders English for 20 years and has taught high school English for two years and counting. He reads everything as often as he can, when not grading papers or looking up Star Trek, Star Wars, or Indiana Jones items online.