Sex and Death
Writer : Jamie Delano
Art : Richard Piers Rayner
Art : Mark Buckingham
Cover Artist : Dave McKean
: Lovern Kindzierski
Letters : Todd Klein
: Karen Berger
Synopsis : The issue opens in another dimension, as an incredible burst of light and power thrusts out millions of sperm-like astral bodies into the universe. Inside each one is an unborn (or re-born) soul, including a screaming, baffled John Constantine. As John's soul continues to fall to Earth, he physically matures, breaking free of the sperm-sac as he tumbles down towards London. Although unable to remember who, what or where he is, Constantine begins to have flashes of memory as he falls into his old lodgings. As he passes unseen through the roof and floors of his flat he observes and recalls Mighty Mouse, the Rastafarian lodger who lives below him, and Mrs. McGuire, his old landlady, who lies asleep in front of the TV.
But still he falls, unable to properly remember who these people are, or why he recognises them. His spirit-form slips down through cellars and dirt, through drains and pipes, through forgotten bones and lost bodies, down into the London Underground where the sudden flash of a train's headlights kick-starts his memory. As he flies back up into the street above, he recalls what happened: Hell came into the possession which promised that a child with healing powers would be conceived on the Winter solstice. The Resurrection Crusade planned to use this to their advantage by brainwashing Constantine's girlfriend, Zed, into concieving with an angel to create the new Saviour. Hell, of course, was having none of this and forced Constantine to knobble the Crusade's plans by dosing Zed with some of the demon Nergal's taint. However, this meant that Nergal and his Damnation Army would have control of the playing field, so John devised a new plan: knowing that the Swamp Thing (an Earth elemental made out of foliage) and his human wife Abby wanted a child, Constantine planned to offer up his own body for use as a vessel of impregnation. The child would fulfill the prophecy without either Hell or Heaven gaining the advantage.
What Constantine didn't know, however, is that the Swamp Thing was planning to do this anyway, and booted John out of his own body before Constantine could actually propose his plan. Not being prepared for such quick action, John could have died - but luckily his training in the control of dreams allowed him to keep everything together, as travelling on the astral plane is very much like controlling a lucid dream.
As John soul-walks through the streets of London (much as he would do many years later), he suddenly remembers that the Winter Solstice is already upon him, and that Zed must be preparing to recieve the angel. Using a little dream-logic, he flies to Glastonbury, and the home of the Resurrection Crusade.
Snow falls as a shaven and meek Zed is lead into The Crusade's great Hall. Hundreds of gathered Crusaders stand in devout prayer as she is sealed inside a crystal ark, and a gateway between Heaven and Earth is opened. Zed is bathed in holy light as an angel moves out of the portal to accept her, but as soon as he senses the demon taint within her, his love turns to anger and disgust. Zed begins to writhe in agony as the crystal ark is engulfed in a firestorm that grows larger and larger, sweeping up and destroying the screaming, panicked Crusaders.
As the crystal arc shatters and buries Zed, John watches from outside as the souls of the burned Crusaders are expelled into the atmosphere. He's pulled from his self-disgust by the sight of a soul with the sign of the Damnation Army burned into its chest. Realising that this is one of Nergal's spies, John follows it all the way back to the Army's sewer headquarters. He watches as Nergal revels in his master plan, but a message from a captive dryad informs Nergal of activity in The Green (the dimension which connects all plantlife, and in which The Swamp Thing travels) and the demon figures out John's betrayal. Although Nergal cannot see Constantine's soul, he can certainly smell it, and transforms into a pack of Hellhounds to hunt John on the astral plane.
John dives into the sewer water to put the dogs off the scent, and finds himself in a dream version of Atlantis. His escape is foiled as Nergal reappears in the form of an enormous whale. After blinding it in one eye with a harpoon, Constantine takes Swamp Thing's place in The Green, knowing that Nergal cannot enter there. However, Nergal is able to reach into The Green to try and grab hold of John's soul, so Constantine decides to kick Swampy out of his body and let the elemental see off Nergal.
Much to John's shock, however, Abbie and Swamp Thing are still having sex. Constantine tries to hold off returning to his body, but it's too late, and he arrives right at the... er, climax. Constantine apologises to Abbie for interrupting their romance, but she's not having any of it, and gives him a sharp slap across the cheek. Swamp Thing appears in the flesh (foliage?) to lead Abbie home, and tells Constantine that Nergal dared not face him in The Green, but did tell John that he would be back for the Magus' life. He also leaves a message: "Remember Newcastle".
Those two words haunt John's mind all the way back to London. He enters his flat with his mind racing, but is unprepared for what he finds inside - the hideously mutilated bodies of Mighty Mouse and Mrs. McGuire. Constantine marches upstairs into his room, and realises that he and Nergal have crossed swords before. As he pulls a folder marked "NEWCASTLE 1978" from the rubble, John swears that he will have vengance on Nergal, the demon that ruined his life...
Issue synopsis written by James Wilkinson