Annotations By : Adrian Brown
Issue synopsis not available
In theory, this is a one-off between the not-climactic-but-scene-setting #200 and the next arc where John’s demonic offspring (see #200) begin their campaign of mayhem on everyone who knows John.
Ostensibly, it follows #200 and shows that John is effectively back in action after his “amnesia”.
The story could stand alone pretty much anywhere, though.
But you know that Mike Carey’s Hellblazer is a complex inter-woven narrative, so there may well be one or two significant aspects of this story.
“Event Horizon” – used in astronomy to refer to the boundary of a black hole, may also refer to an approaching occurrence. May not relate to the type of black hole in space.
Jackie, aka Flat Jackie, is probably a new character in Constantine’s magical underworld …
It is suggested that he’d been keeping an eye on the lock-up, which is remarkable as you’d think he’d steer clear of somewhere that changes its appearance so much ! John knows that Jackie is nictophobic.
I wonder if he’s the bloke that Jacques Brel wrote about ?
And I'd sell boats of opium
Whiskey that came from Twickenham
Authentic queers and phony virgins
I'd have a bank on every finger
A finger in every country
And every country ruled by me
I still know where I'd want to be
Locked up inside my opium den
Surrounded by some Chinamen
I'd sing the song that I sang then
About the time they called me Jackie
“seven locks” ?? well, seven is the magic number, whatever De La Soul tell you.
Page 2 & 3
Regarding the lock-up...
*The skulls on the left-hand table (especially the huge deformed one).
Yes, and one new one. The book was also there in “Staring at the Wall”.
*The possible Hand of Glory on the right-hand table.
*The globe on the left-hand side.
The baby in a jar was on one of the shelves.
Things that I think are from elsewhere
*The gun is probably meant to be the Ace of Winchesters. Having read the relevant Hitman book (great stuff - need to pick up the other two trades), it turns out that Catwoman flogs the gun onto someone else, so it's not impossible that Constantine could've got hold of it again - or at least, that's how I'd fanwank it. It'd make dealing with his kids a bit too easy though...
Chas used that gun against Swampy in #192, so I don’t think it’s the Holy Shotgun of … erm Winchester.
*The big ugly mask could be a souvenir from Morrison's story in Thursdyke.
*The monitor - maybe something to remember Ritchie Simpson and his technological magic by?
There’s a loving memento of SW Manor, the whip on the right-hand shelves. Unless it’s a nod to Indiana Jones?
The bracelet that Paxo swipes is what we are here to see. I wonder what else they nick ?
The character on the bookcase appears to be a variation of the Chinese for insect
Smeeta wonders if the place is owned by Hannibal Lecter. Of course, she means the Anthony Hopkins comedy version rather than the much more menacing Brian Cox one.
Not much of a haul, but they can hardly take the more heavy and esoteric stuff.
Also, you’d expect John Constantine to hide his stuff among some tat.
Note that Flat Jackie’s warehouse is a more business-like version of John’s lock-up.
He’s a proactive fence, ie someone who deals in stolen property, but he clearly sends people out to steal to order. There does not seem to be anything remarkable on his desk, £2000 seems fair enough.
It does not matter where Smeet is actually from, “Paki” is mostly used indiscriminately, if you’ll forgive the pun.
Lancaster Gate is on the fringes of Paddington, where Gemma was staying when Ghant took her up to Gruinard. Quite posh hotels and close to the train station, hence Flat Jackie has some interests in the red light area.
John narrates, speculating what happened to his property.
“Artful Dodger” John is comparing Jackie to Fagin from Oliver Twist, sending out his young thieves to do the stealing for him.
“Mile End Road” runs through the East End, between Whitechapel and Mile End.
“Mexican Black” is heroin. Those regular users can supposedly discern the different types like a wine connoisseur, but you know once your addicted, you’ll end up on Special Brew anyway.
Here’s a scene from Trainspotting.
The hypodermic looks like an antique, more likely they’d have a bunch of 1ml “diabetic” style syringes, like you see in the last panel. Smeet’s IV technique is very dodgy … 90 degrees to the vein !!!
They all seem to be waiting for that one syringe, despite the bunch of needles in that last panel.
Sharing works is bad. (Yeah, okay, “drugs are bad, m’kay” ?)
There’s more to that bangle than meets the eye.
John arrives back at the lock-up to find the door open.
To be honest, he’s lucky that someone else hasn’t backed in there with a van and half-inched the lot.
“Skag” – another slang term for the drug, Cake.
Gujarati is an Indian language, common among the emigrants in Africa, America and the United Kingdom.
“Smeet” short for Sunita (according to Mick on page13)? there is also a name Sumita, which would make more sense. The latter means “friendly”, the former means “well-behaved”.
“Haurvatat” was one of the Amesha Spentas, Persian deities who were comparable to angels as next to god.
Actually, it means “wholeness” or “health”.
As the bracelet seems to be some sort of protection, some of the words on there probably mean “This will keep you …” (safe and healthy) … “unless” …
There’s not much attention to detail in the clocks and watches here !
Not a totally bad rendition of a street in the Mile End, Bethnal Green area, though the upstairs windows would more likely be the same proportion as the downstairs, and the roofs would be sloped.
There’s the cat that Mick said he was going to feed.
Doesn’t look like it’d starve in a hurry.
Paxo is a well-known British brand of stuffing (that is the stuff that you stuff into a chicken’s insides when you roast it). With the renaissance in home-made cooking it may have dropped in popularity a tad, but their Sage & Onion remains the world’s best accompaniment for chicken.
Smeet’s quite fickle, isn’t she ?
The Strokes “Whatever Happened?” as opposed to the much better “Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads.” Or even better, “What Became of the Likely Lads” by drug-addled popsters, The Libertines.
Actual lyrics of the Strokes song
and I don't want to be reminded.
You say "please don't make this harder.
No, I won't yet.”
Ooh, go ask Alice in Wonderland about Smeet’s hallucination.
Note there are two condoms on the bedside.
An ironic precaution since we saw Smeet and Mick and friends preparing to share works when they injected the heroin on page 5. She’s already been linked with the red light trade by Flat Jackie, so she’s probably more cautious regarding sexual transmission of infection.
Pass the bangle.
Mick’s upset because there is no honour amongst thieves.
Leo Manco plays with some interesting perspectives to move this scene along.
I like that cat.
Turn the page …
… and boo !
It’s a closet full of lost souls from the bracelet.
Again with the poor injection technique !
“Missed him by a Nun’s chuff”
Now this has caused some heated debate among the Straight to Hell forum regulars. Is it a Nun’s “front bottom” or her back one ? Either way, the term means by a very *tight* margin. As opposed to a “gnat’s chuff” which would be a small margin. Once again, there’s reference to Jackie’s fear of the dark.
A pony is £25.
It’s not Cockernee Rhyming slang, but has an older derivation that is shrouded in the mists of history.
Duke Street is up the West End. Right posh jewellers shops and make no mistake.
Jackie’s made a nice killing on this, £475 profit. (Five ton = five hundred, but you knew that.)
Phil Tarquin is also a new one … hmm, I wonder where Gemma tried to pawn that stuff several issues back?
“A lot of other stuff on my mind right now.”
Not half, he’s got to unjumble the three extra lives’ memories that Rosacarnis and the kids left him with.
The secret origin of the bracelet.
From #179: Aloysius Quinn, from John’s mother’s side of the family, was in India during the nineteenth century. And here’s the reason for the subtitle of this issue. The infamous Black Hole of Calcutta was an incident where supposedly 146 members of the British garrison were imprisoned in a small, overcrowded room jail. Almost all were reported to have died according to one of the survivors, but no corroboration of his story was found. There’s a theory that a smaller number were imprisoned for being drunk and disorderly and panicked when the cells became overcrowded. The tale is thought to have been exaggerated as propaganda regarding the Indian people.
I don’t know that the jail of 1840 was the same one, but the Brahmin could quite reasonably have used the ghosts of that event to take revenge against the British soldiers who had imprisoned him.
The stone is the tool of revenge, but the bracelet is intended to contain its power.
Seeing the way the four people involved in its theft were disposed of gives me disturbing visions of The Constantine Kids of Evil being entrapped like Zod & co in the Phantom Zone.
Flat Jackie’s Nightmare.
Actually, this could just be his fear of the dark, playing tricks on him …
Phil Tarquin’s shop.
Who is this mysterious woman with a Constantinian taste in overcoats ?
And there is Jackie, Mick, Sunita and Paxo.
“Goodnight, boys and girls. Sleep tight.”
Listen with Mother meets Tales of the Unexpected.