Comics Eye: John Constantine's Return To The DC Universe
In case you’re not familiar with John Constantine, let’s keep this introduction brief...He’s had a movie made about his exploits, but that only told part of his story. Constantine has been a part of the mythos of Earth’s Elemental, The Swamp Thing since 1982, and back then he was looked at as just a sort of spiritual advisor to the big leafy green guy, but over the years Constantine has turned into much, much more.
But, we’ll save that for another article, I just wanted to let you know that John’s got some history with the Swamp Thing, and when at the end of Brightest Day issue # 23, one Alec Holland aka Swamp Thing returned, but was now serving the Black, well let’s just say that Swampy did some things at the end of that issue that left Constantine a bit perturbed.
And I’m also a bit confused. I’ll admit that I’m coming in at the end of a series that I stopped reading quite a while ago, so as I catch up with issues 23 and 24 of this series, I’m as confused as those of you who have been reading the whole series all along. Okay, so Swamp Thing comes back as an acolyte of the black, and then in issue 24, Alec Holland is resurrected and then is turned into another Swamp Thing by the white lantern. Then, the Swamp Things battle, Holland wins, and takes over being the new Earth Elemental…correct?
And then you have the “Return of John Constantine” to the DC universe?
Sorry people but this is where I have to get off the train.
Look first of all, just because Constantine is a part of the Vertigo universe, doesn’t mean I want to totally suspend my disbelief and just say “well alright, for the sake of keeping this storyline moving along, let’s just forget that John’s a tad older” for one thing, and then we are being asked to believe that this is not “the same” Constantine from that Vertigo comic line?
And I thought that all was well with Swampy at the end of issue 24 of Brightest Day? Is the Swamp Thing having a vegetative brain fart?
Well, I’ve read the first issue of this limited series “The Search for Swamp Thing”, and much of the Vertigo Constantine is here in the younger model. This Constantine continues the tradition of constant cigarette smoking, and his connections with some of the DCU characters are tenuous at best.
When John makes contact with the Batman (and I’m assuming that this is the Dick Grayson version) it’s anything but cordial, and after an encounter with the Swamp Thing in The Green , which again was anything but cordial, Batman contacts Zatanna to help because as he says, “ The occult isn’t my strong suit. ”
And their contact is also less than cordial, so this is still “that” Constantine that I recognize from the Vertigo continuity. Zatanna does have a humorous moment during an incantation to slow down an infection that John caught as part of a trap during a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, set up supposedly by Swamp Thing. And the most confusing part for me is that at the end of this first issue we see Alec Holland, rising out of the Louisiana Bayou…again?
I can only assume that this is a story that’s being told concurrent with DC’s continuity with the Brightest Day series, and has to take place between issues 23 and 24 of the series. And if this is the case, I have to question the thinking behind this at DC. I would have thought that this could have been a story told in the new series launch in September, where the fans of these characters could have seen a much larger tale spun there, then in a lame three issue limited series.
That being said, let’s see what happens in the next two issues of this series before I come to a final verdict on the whole thing.