Guess who’s back… It’s not Eminem. It’s me! Today I’ll be doing a respect thread of John Constantine aka the Hellblazer. Constantine is quite underrated on many levels, he’s a brilliant strategist; always with a trick up his sleeve (ahh puns), and a confident leader. Constantine made his main debut with DC/Vertigo’s series Hellblazer, where he earned the name but he’s also appeared in various DC teams such as Justice League Dark, and Batman’s resistance in Injustice. Today I’ll be delving into the layers of John Constantine. As usual, this respect thread will contain spoilers from various moments in the character’s history.
Let us begin!
First off, a little about Constantine. John Constantine had an awful childhood. He had a twin which he strangled in the womb and then his mother died in childbirth which his father blamed him for, and this lay the foundation for friction between the two of them. When he wasn’t running away from home Constantine was looked after and raised by his older sister Cheryl Masters. Known as “The Constant One,” John is a descendant from a long line of magic users. Fascinated by the occult from a young age, John threw himself into learning magic to escape his unhappy family life. He eventually moved in with roommate Chas Chandler, the two became best friends. From the start of his introduction, Constantine has been a chain smoker but does not take any other drugs, and he once called his friend a “dirty lowlife bastard” when he found a needle with a nondescript drug in it. He has a harsh view on the world, himself, and only really cares for a few individuals. One of the reasons he isolates himself though is so he can always be a step ahead, by not being close to people he feels he can maintain a steady plan of action for those around him.
John Constantine is very much of the attitude of ‘Brains Over Brawn’ while he has been known to engage in combat with someone he would much rather outsmart his opponents than engage on a physical level, if he does end up in a physical fight then he’ll often fight dirty or utilise magic to gain the upper-hand. Constantine is actually a master strategist, he is extremely manipulative without needing magic and is a master con-artist. Constantine has actually escaped Hell itself, outsmarted Merlin and the angel Gabriel too.
During the third year of the DC alternative universe event Injustice Constantine orchestrated a plan that even outsmarted quick thinkers like Batman and Wonder Woman. Constantine Though his manipulation is not drawn out over long periods; he prefers to make instant decisions, relying on his miraculous brain to get himself out of tight situations rather than preparing for things long in advance. Constantine also has supernaturally good luck; referred to sometimes as “synchronicity wave travelling”, it resembles a form of localised, low-level reality warping, granting him enormous luck and explaining how he has survived all that he has survived. Constantine can also sense evil and other magic nearby, similar to that of Spider-Man’s danger senses, and see ghosts and sense auras too.
What Constantine is most famous for is his use of magic. While he’s not one of the most powerful sorcerers in the universe, he’s certainly one of the most gifted; the First of the Fallen (the Devil) notes that Constantine is the most formidable adversary he has faced. having mastered many forms including Divination, Demon Summoning, Cursing, Golemancy, Occlumency, Necromancy, Vivimancy, Illusion, and various stage magic tricks like hypnosis, sleight of hand, and escapology. Dracula himself stated that John is the most intelligent, devious and best master of the occult he has ever met. Constantine as Hellblazer also has the ability to resurrect himself in Hellblazer: Pandemonium where he was killed and later came back by leaving the afterlife, as one does. He also showed the ability to resurrect himself in the Hellblazer Rebirth.
In the New 52, John Constantine managed to take away Billy ‘Shazam’ Batson’s powers to use for himself, can summon the Phantom Stranger against his will and banish him again just as easily.
He has out-matched the Spectre (who uses the power of god) by dodging his attacks and being unable to be possessed by Deadman, he’s had his soul ripped from his body and carried on battling regardless and has demonstrated matter manipulation by separating Swamp Thing from the Green. His blood is also tainted with demon-blood which as well as being a handy defence against Vampires, also gives him increased longevity – slowing his ageing and also a slight healing factor. While not enjoying the use of firearms, he is a talented marksman, and owns a .357 Magnum, which he has used on occasion. Though he relies on his supernatural powers and holy magic, wands, and even magical chainsaws. Yes, magical chainsaws.
So that’s all we have for today! I hope you enjoyed the read. Next week I’ll be doing another respect thread – Galactus the Devourer of Worlds, and also a list of my favourite five Avengers stories. Peace.