HellBlazer #158    HellBlazer #158 : Freezes Over, Part 1 of 4

   Writer : Brian Azzarello
   Artist : Marcelo Frusin

The staff and regular customers of a small saloon in backwoods America spend an evening together as a heavy snowstorm rages outside. Keith, the owner of the establishment, decides to clear away some of the snow building outside while his regulars debate the last time they saw such weather. Before he can venture out into the falling snow, Keith finds himself with some new customers in the shape of a young family seeking shelter from the worsening conditions. Marnie chides her husband Jay for trying to outrun the storm while Keith tries to win the couple's two young daughters over with a couple of cokes.

Outside, a familiar trench coat wearing individual stalks through the snow, making his way towards the saloon. John Constantine, covered in snow, stops to share a look with a sweaty grinning man sitting in a car outside the saloon. With one of his daughters packing a full nappy, Jay has to leave the warm confines of the saloon in order to retrieve some fresh diapers from his car. John makes a typically sinister entrance into the saloon, striding towards the bar and ordering a beer, looking for all the world like death warmed up. Keith pulls Constantine up for using harsh language in front of the young girls, John proffers a sarcastic apology in response. Constantine's in the building for less than five minutes and already half the people therein can't stand him.


Pete and Alma, two of the saloon's regulars, discuss a big storm that once blew up in the area in 1962. Busy tending to his new customer's orders, Keith asks Pete to throw some rock salt out by the door to help keep it clear of the falling snow. Looks like the weather's brewing up some good business for the saloon as we get yet another new customer - this time in the form of a burly trucker. Constantine gets in the trucker's face as an ashen faced Pete stumbles in from outside and tells Keith that there's a man sitting outside in a car that he really has to see. After making sure that things are under control between John and the trucker, Keith follows Pete outside.

Pete brings Keith to the car we saw Constantine pass on the way into the saloon - the driver is dead, a large icicle driven through his chest. Between them, the pair manage to drag his corpse into the saloon. When she sees the body, Alma starts rambling about the "Iceman", a local legend. Keith is none too pleased with her outbursts and a tense situation is made even worse when Hope, Keith's wife, announces that the phone is dead. As the patrons start to wonder if maybe the man's killer is amongst the group huddled together in the saloon, Pete announces that he was born in 1963 and that by his reckoning he must have been conceived during the snow storm that ravaged the area back in 1962.

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