HELLBLAZER #176
High On Life, Part 2 of 2
Annotations By : Adrian Brown



Page 1

Liverpool is a city rife with duality. Day and Night (or should that be Night and Day ?). Catholic and Protestant. Blue and Red. There's loads of stuff on the internet about Freud. Ego is the self, Id is the primal self.

That car being robbed is a fairly new one. See the number 51 ? That corresponds to August 2001.

The Kebab Palace will be serving that great staple diet of the British drinker - the Doner Kebab. It's like spam, but more spicy.



Page 2

This would be Fazakerley Hospital according to page 9 but they seem to call it "University Hospital Aintree" these days. Accident and Emergency is more often called A&E not casualty as the British TV show would have it. (acknowledgment to "kingalt" from rec.arts.comics.dc.vertigo for that one)

The Striptease Killer was mentioned around page 8 of #175.



Page 3

I just went to the Bodyworks exhibition in Spitalfields. A German guy took these bodies and "embalmed" them in plastic and now they're on display. EducARTional !

Anyway...



Page 4

"Organs of Generation" not the bloke who played keyboard in Billy Idol's band.

Inspector "Watford" was introduced in Warren Ellis's run. "Inspector Fuck wit Investigates" was not a British TV show in the Seventies.



Page 5

Note that John doesn't know about the London murders, but he has a flash of intuition.

Watford's comment that it cleared itself up is probably less significant than his theory that "someone quietly squashed it". As John points out in panel 4.

The M6 is one of the main motorways in Britain, running from the M1 (which runs from London to the North East) to Carlisle (in the North West). It runs through the West Midlands via Spaghetti Junction, the twisted triumph of motorway engineering that was put outside of Birmingham to ward off strangers. The M6 is the main drag of the trip from London to Liverpool.



Page 6

John's preceding phonecall was part of shortening the odds. He wants to hear Angie's side of the story too, so he's using his demon-infected blood to kick start Angie's recovery. While John is not a trained venesectionist, his blood-sampling technique is very poor. The angle of the syringe is much too steep.

Good job he's got demon blood to protect him.

Incidentally, Mike Carey points to Hellblazer #104 as indicating that John had got back that demon blood after sleeping with Ellie. He definitely realised in that earlier story that getting rid of his bad self was not a good idea. He says, "I was taking my cue from Hellblazer#104 here - and particularly from the scene where John and Ellie have sex. "Her mouth tastes of demon breath... Fighting waves of nausea, I absorb that side of her." "I'm unnaturally inseminated with replicas of all the nasty bits I'd previously consigned to Hell... I'm flushed with evil once again." I took this very much at face value. Since John couldn't persuade his demon self to merge with him, he accomplishes a precisely similar merging by another means - absorbing from Ellie what he couldn't get from his alter ego. So I see him as being physically and spiritually as tainted, as toxic and as potent as he ever was. I admit that this is open to interpretation, but the demon blood is just part of my image of John and I wanted to keep it. Also, I was nearly certain that it's been used again either in a late Paul Jenkins issue or in a one-off story somewhere. So this wasn't in any way a ret-con."



Page 7

Once again, nursing etiquette requires me to point out the error in John's syringemanship. He's likely to introduce a whole lot of infection by jabbing the syringe into the bag. As well as reducing the pressure in the drip-feed. While most of the blood will take the gravity-defined route out of the bag, some will dribble out of the bag, This will affect the rate of delivery. These bags are delivered through tubes that have a spare line for injecting of drugs etc.



Page 8

Angie's scientific techniques give John extra back up to what he already knew. He also wanted to find out if Angie knew anything else. The fact that he barely learned anything new shows us it's the same old John, taking chances with people around him for little gain.



Page 9

Pronounced "Fuh-zack-erley" for correct pronunciation, listen to the Ian McNabb song "Merseybeast" wherein a local lad's "legs were found in Wavertree, his arms were in Fazakerley" after he's run over by a train. ("the doctors somehow put him back together")

Aintree is the home of the biggest horse race in the British calendar, the Grand National. This was won three times by the horse Red Rum ... which is "murder" backwards !

"Tires" is spelt wrong.



Page 10

John doesn't have much use for money. As we have seen on many occasions, he can make his way without. And it feels like that's what he's doing with this interaction. The young scally's spoon and syringe are a final piece in the jigsaw. It seems to me that getting info this way is much like the scrying that John refers to.



Page 11

John puts on his superhero costume and prepares for battle.



Page 12

He *is* TRENCHCOAT-MAN !



Page 13
There are those marks around the door again do they have any origin or are they just mysterious squiggles ? The pretence that Gladys is just a sweet little old lady doesn't take long to break down.

Regular readers of the Lucifer Forum will know the sinister undertones of tea drinking.

Gladys has a sweet tooth, but her taste in other areas is about to be revealed as much more sour.

I understand "caster sugar" is not known in some countries, it is very finely ground sugar as used in jam making.



Page 14

Gladys's comment in panel 2 about protecting family is the first indication that she knows more about Mr Collier than she should.



Page 15

Some old ladies have pantries full of pickles or jam. Gladys is bottling body parts.

At least she is recycling old bottles, so she's not all bad.



Page 16

The secret revealed. The dark sides of the lives of her victims are prevented from getting into Gladys's flat, and the other people in the block are being affected by the negative karma.

Note that Gladys calls John "Mr Constantine", she shouldn't know his surname.

The final panel is a reminder of the evil that lurks within tea.



Page 17

Interesting to note that Gladys's boys were waiting for their moment.



Page 18

John wipes one of those mysterious squiggles, thus lowering Gladys's defences.



Page 19

That boy ain't bright, is he ?

"trade domine scrape" looks like Latin. Tradere means something like "Commit" or "Surrender". Domine is "Lord". I can't find any reference to "Scrape" perhaps it's a name ?

However there is another connection in the DC solicitation for issue 178. I won't repeat it here to avoid spoilers.



Page 20

Okay, now John's fixed to get a beating, but did he prepare for this, or did he just trust Angie to do the right thing ? We know he rides the synchronicity highway, so, is he just pushing his luck ?



Page 21

Well, John thinks he's lucky.

While he was prepared to involve Angie so far, he's not about to tell her his suspicions (see next page). Is the final panel here a nod to the Batman references we have seen in preceding adventures ? I can't help thinking he's offered Angie a challenge here.



Page 22

The narrative "voice-over" has a detached all-seeing sense now, but it still might be Angie filling in the gaps (ie what John was thinking) at a later date.

The indications are that someone is directly threatening John's family now.

The postcard clues from #175 are clarified. Probably posted through Cheryl and Tony's door by the Wren family ? John knows where they moved from, as he checked the files at the council office in the previous issue. But he can also find out more about the murders Watford referred to.

What John doesn't know yet is who is behind it all.



Annotations By : Adrian Brown

Read issue synosis.






Doner Kebab - definitely not good for what ails ya.



Fazakerley/University Hospital Aintree



Inspector Fuckwit ?



A stretch of the M6. Calm down.



Doctor Brown would like you to note the additional tubes to the right of the blood line, these should be employed should the need for further Demonic blood transfusions arise.



Murder!



Evil!



Er...Caster Sugar!
 
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