Hellblazer: Haunted
by Warren Ellis, John Higgins
(Vertigo, 2003)

John Constantine's girlfriends never seem to have happy-ever-afters waiting for them after they get the good sense to leave him. A solid case in point is Isabell Bracknell, who begins this volume of Hellblazer already dead.

But, while John had nothing to do with her death, he still feels the sense of guilt that dogs all of his failed relationships and the trail of bodies of friends and lovers in his wake. So, sensing something more sinister than a simple murder, he sets out to uncover the cause and culprit behind Isabel's death.

Of course, magic is involved. And a magician who used Isabel cruelly, for his own twisted purposes. Before it's over, John will have been beaten soundly, at least two men will be smeared along the tracks of the London Underground, and a two-bit mage with an unfortunate nickname will have lost his nose.

I'm not a big fan of artist John Higgins' work -- his lines are stiff, and he seems to have some kind of GQ ideal of Constantine's appearance -- but his style suits this tale better than it did Son of Man, the final Hellblazer arc by Garth Ennis. Haunted, written by Warren Ellis, is dark, disturbing and a little grotesque, and it just may haunt readers even as it sets poor Isabel's spirit to rest.

by Tom Knapp
5 May 2007

Buy it from Amazon.com.