6. It's Just so Fucking Tiring
DC Comics Oh God! Make it stop!
Back before I had started seriously reading DC again, there was a crossover called "Trinity War," which involved three Justice Leagues and Pandora's Box. Like, the mythic one; this isn't a porn thing. Apparently she's wandering around, trying to find someone to open it and other stuff happens during a crossover which I haven't read. Long story short, one of humanity's most ancient myths is revealed to actually be a super science dimensional portal to the evil dimension where the evil Justice League lives. Which I will vaguely hope made sense in context but sounds like complete and utter bullshit to me right now due to questions about why it used to hold deadly sins and why it's thousands of years old.
Regardless of logic, the evil Justice League pops right out and instantly kicks the ass of the current Justice League despite the exact opposite happening in their last fight (though, in fairness, this is the New 52 so god knows if that applies). My point is this whole crossover apparently existed only to launch this new crossover, which - although only vaguely related to the mess I am reading now - is still the primum movens getting it all started. I've also seen some images promising something called "After Forever," which may or not be a THIRD crossover following immediately after these two. This is too much crossover and I'm sick of it. Especially since "Forever Evil" is supposed to basically be over but "Forever Evil: Blight," which somehow failed to end with Blight no longer being around still seems to have a long way to go.
7. These Crossovers Are Bad for the Readers
DC Comics Shown here: exactly nothing that happens in this issue
First of all, I have an implied social contract with DC wherein I give them money every month and they provide me with entertainment and stories. Thing is, when these crossovers start, DC doesn't always make good on their side of the bargain. You can't read just one comic and have it make sense anymore. Instead you have to start reading other titles. Not only did I have to read Forever Evil #1 to at least start to understand the framing story, but Justice League Dark is crossing over with Constantine, and both Trinity of Sin titles in order to make a quasi-cohesive story. Quasi-cohesive is best way of putting it, since I'm not sure even the creative teams understand this story. The cover of the last Phantom Stranger shows him screaming while demons pull of Zauriel's wings. Except it was an evil mage who maimed Zauriel, Phantom Stranger wasn't there, and not only did it happen earlier in the series but no mention of the event happens in the entire issue that I remember.
I was already reading Constantine, but I don't care that much about the Trinity of Sin; Phantom Stranger is interesting enough, though his New 52 version seems a downgrade, but Pandora is just sort of there. Ironically, the one Trinity of Sin book I would buy instantly would be the Question, but he wandered off very early on in this crossover and doesn't seem to have a book. Making things worse is the glacial pacing; this all may very well read just fine in a trade paperback someday but right now the cycle of heroes assembling teams, failing, and then re-assembling and re-failing is unbearable with the long delays between issues.
8. Constantine Deserves Better
NBC Constantine Take some notes NBC. There will be a quiz.
Hellblazer was an amazing series that helped define the generation I grew up in. Gritty, terrifying, and altogether horrifying, it was a dark mirror of the current condition. Constantine was someone who vaguely fought for good but did in such a way that his friends and associates constantly paid the price while he escaped. He was a mage so corrupt that when he actually managed a redemptive death, Satan stepped into bring him back to life so he could damn himself again. He also prevented the birth of a possible messiah/anti-Christ by seducing the intended virgin mother and intentionally defiling her with demon's blood.
One thing I liked about Constantine was that the magic was creepy, hidden; it seemed like something that could be happening in the real world. Later issues of Constantine definitely felt like it was set in the real world, such as entire town that seems to be devoted to satanic ritual that turns out to just be a hotbed of bondage porn movies; the whole town runs on porn. Sounds like a good place for your average Topless Robot reader and also something a bit more topical than most comics. Another example is Constantine deciding to do some penance by letting himself be put in Federal prison before his natural instincts take over and he ends up taking the place over.
The new Constantine isn't anything ground-breaking. He's just another superhero caught in an endless mill of crossovers. One caught up in bizarre teenage drama plots, no less.
9. Nick Necro Is a Strong Argument for Gnosticism
DC Comics You are not imagining things. That is the same 3 panels copy-pasted 4 times. Seriously.
The version of gnosticism with a malevolent demiurge that rules the world, staying between us and Heaven, I mean. Surely only an ancient being of eternal malevolence could take two of the most awesome comic book characters in the forms of Constantine and Zatanna and force them to treat Nick Necro as their main villain. Backstory: when they were young and stupid they thought Nick was awesome and they were all in a little magic clique. Then Nick changed, going dark-side, and Zatanna and Constantine ditched him, hooking up with each other instead. This sort of thing is usually called "growing up".
Not to Nick Necro, though. No, he's obsessed with this very maudlin betrayal and obsesses over it. He pleads with Zatanna and John to join him, Darth Vader style. They refuse, so he "detonates" them over and over again in the Thaumaton. He literally explodes them and brings them back to life over and over again because the Thaumaton makes people into "bio mystical explosives", apparently. He does this for two whole pages until his partner shows up and bitch slaps him for wasting company resources while telling him he should get over Constantine and Zatanna. This literally makes Nick Necro cry. What's hilarious is that the writers seem to hate him, too. Constantine calls him out on being a walking, talking cliché, and even his fellow super villain thinks he's obsessive and sort of lame.
10. The Quality Sucks
DC Comics I can't even tell what's supposed to be happening here.
Not only is the whole thing a naked money grab and barely coherent, it's pretty shitty. At times there are almost as many word bubbles or little narrator windows as there are pictures. Comics are a visual medium, and although the long and rambling storyline has few fights or interesting splash panels to draw, crowding everything out with words is off-putting. Even when art is the focus, it often fails; bizarre and exaggerated facial expressions are everywhere and just plain ruin some scenes. Nothing ruins a dramatic moment like a spectator with the expression of a baby playing peekaboo for the first time.
The action is bad; figures are static even when doing dynamic things like beheading people. Felix Faust looks like a Muppet at times, and Phantom Stranger sometimes looks like the Spirit or Dick Tracy instead of a mysterious mystical type. Cassandra Craft is dressed conservatively in jeans in a button up shirt, except in the scenes where it looks like it's shrunk a size and a half for some reason. When Constantine throws down with Nick Necro in the Thaumaton (ugh), lightning bolts fly everywhere and fill almost the whole page, making things even more incoherent and confusing. DC, stop it. Makers of the Constantine TV show, please avert your eyes and pick up a trade paperback of the original Hellblazer. Then, maybe, this can all be over.
DC Comics Belial pretty much sums up my feelings about this whole thing.
Previously by David N. Scott