Red Sepulchre, Part 1 of 4
Annotations By :
Adrian Brown

Click Here for issue synopsis

Cover: Tim Bradstreet introduces the cast.

John Constantine, Gemma Masters , ?, Clarice , Fredericks, ?

The address of the Clerkenwell Guest House suggests it is in London's salubrious Kings Cross area. Just south of Kings Cross actually, there's a comic mart nearby once a month. No street name, and an incomplete postcode. Let's hear it for the British postal system !

Page 1

Nicholas "Scrape" Gillis as name-checked by Gladys in the last issue.

Who knows what esoteric items lurk in the shadows of London's Antiques and Collectibles market ?

Page 2

The object of his desire (other than Mikhail) is not specified, but somebody else wants to keep it.

Page 3

John's back in London with his friend Chas. But the trail to Scrape has gone cold.

Page 4

Trademark Marcelo Frusin Constantine Grin is restrained here. John's not happy.

Whoever visited Scrape, they weren't completely interested in his collectibles, some of which still litter the floor. But see next page for clues to his fate.

Soho in central London. Home of advertising, what remains of the English movie industry and tourist clip joints. It's where I'd see John conducting much of his business, as it's handy for the three main people in London - business-folk, the ruling class and the underclass. Oh, and there's great record shops.

Page 5

Joshua Wright returns. Is the "bitch" he refers to Gemma or Scrape ?

He says "Gillis is still screaming" which does not necessarily mean he's still alive. I wonder if this mysterious bald chap is "Domine" as mentioned in the previous issue ? "The Master", heh, like Dr Who.

Page 6

Chas learning french in reference to the European Community.

They are driving across Piccadilly Circus towards Coventry Street for those of you playing Hellblazer Monopoly (they're in the UK version). That's Tower Records on the left. And there's a Routemaster bus.

Chas is in the wrong lane for Soho, but he's a taxi driver, so that won't stop him.

Page 7

There are many reasons why this doesn't look like Soho. At least there are no half-timbered houses.

Page 8

Clarice, as featured during the Haunted arc. I guess Albert was there too. Is the bald guy, Packer, the same one we saw on page 5 ? Doesn't quite look the same.

A "Lord Lucan" is when someone vanishes without a trace. So-called after a famous case in the Seventies. He disappeared after his childrens' nanny was murdered and his wife and children attacked.

Page 9

The charming interplay between John and Clarice might be because she is involved (see later) .

Page 10

Map lives in the Underground. Not sure if this is meant to be a specific station, but it looks like it could be one on the Hammersmith & City line between Baker St and Farringdon.

Page 11

"Open, eyes". I wonder what that offering is, if it's closest to John's heart ?

Page 12:

ooh, here's a page that will serve us well in any future Hellblazer Who's Who !

At this stage, we don't know which side is which, but John's allies appear to be sitting on either side of the fence. Knowing John's past record in these matters, he'll want to end up pissing them both off.

Packer refers to Coopers. This could be a reference to the film The Italian Job with it's parallels to the London Underworld. But it probably isn't. Actually it refers to Garth Ennis's "Son of Man" arc #129 to #133 (1998).

These folks obviously have their fingers in the London gangster world (we've seen that in previous stories, qv Mobfire) and the damage done to their reputation by the events with the Coopers would not please some of them. As usual, I try and avoid mentioning the advance solicitations in these annotations, so check #178 if you want to know more about Fredericks.

Page 13

Back at Gillis's shop.

John's had run ins with Chas's missus before.

Of course, John Carpenter films are very much like John Constantine's life.

Page 14: John does magic.

Some of these names appear on the internet (via the arcane magic of Google) but I expect Mr Carey has been researching in dark places.

Page 15

Josh Wright mentioned that they were going through boxes. Presumably they belonged to Scrape.

Note that he refers to the Bitch again.

Page 16

Now this location just puzzles me. It looks like the river, but there are not, as far as I can tell, any statues in the middle of the Thames. Perhaps it's not London ? Anyway, they're definitely onto him.

Page 17

Whenever I see a skull like this I think of Mike Mignola. A nice bit of traditional action for John. Perhaps one of these thugs is the chap on the cover ?

Page 18

Eagle Eyed fans of Zip Nolan might note that these two are not the guys dispatched by Josh Wright.

Whoever "saves" John is a good shot. And I wonder what is the significance of what looks like cotton wool buds in the penultimate (red) panel ?

Page 19

Who would want to stay in a Guest House run by a Mrs Perkins ?? Clerkenwell can be trendy these days though.

Page 20

Map chooses to meet John on his own terms.

Page 21

Map knows the city and sees events coming because he knows where the roads and the lines lead to.

A touching tribute to Warren Ellis, John's response to "it doesn't exist so much" is Southend, the east coast town that is home to the shy and retiring writer of Transmetropolitan.

Map's warning is a clear indication that there are sides being picked in this matter. We know some of those who are on each side, but we don't yet know which side is which. Or even if Map has selected his side.

Side 1 - may contain "double agents" - Clarice, McClose, Packer

Side 2 - Fredericks & Josh Wright ? - Seem to have John's niece up their sleeve.

Page 22

Gemma looks like she might be calm, but that might be her family charm.

There's chicken beheadings involved, and that spells magic.

The two chaps behind her look more like Josh's henchmen, so we might know who thinks they've got the upper hand over John. Let's not forget, when John's pushed into something he's hardly likely to do what the pusher wants exactly as they want it, is he ?

As Camper Van Beethoven once said, in the aptly named Ambiguity Song:

Everything seems to be up in the air at this time
Everything seems to be up in the air at this time
One day soon, it'll all settle down
Everything seems to be up in the air at this time

All across the nation, people are gettin' together
From many ideas they form a single goal
Some people are gonna benefit
And others gotta sacrifice
But everything seems to seems to be up in the air at this time

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