HELLBLAZER #180
Red Sepulchre, Part 4 of 4
Annotations By : Adrian Brown



Eagle-eyed readers may have spotted the annotations for the last issue were changed on the DC forum soon after they were posted. This is because I was rather more explicit about THE BIG SPOILER that I had spotted. Thanks to Rob Kamphausen for amending them.

And here is a final warning: If these annotations are going to be any fun, YOU MUST READ THE COMICS FIRST. I would recommend that you read an entire arc unless you don't mind not working it out for yourself.

Anyway, on to issue 180, which I am calling SPOT THE CLUE WITH ZIP CAREY (and subtitling "I told you so")



Notes on this month's cover: Spot the rope ? John and Gemma - there has been some discussion about whether this is Gemma or Angie. I believe she looks like the younger would-be magical sidekick to JC. And the White Stripes reference that was removed from her t-shirt between the online preview and the publication underlines that for me. Angie has got to be into the Inspiral Carpets and all that 24 Hour Party People stuff. Or The Las.



Page 1

Josh Wright is no mug. Not like all you folks who thought Clarice and Albert had bought it last issue (#179, pp 21 & 22). He goes to check the body (something that perhaps we should do towards the end of this issue.) Indeed the image of Clarice that we saw at the window last issue was "stolen light" (#179, p 14) This is what I was obliquely referring to as my theory in the notes for the last issue. Somewhere Clarice was opening the curtains at the very moment that everyone was looking at the warehouse.

It is worth noting that Peake (and probably the rest of Fredericks' henchmen) are well-paid hired guns.



Page 2

John sets up yet another misdirection trick. This time using the simple cigarette lighter and kick in the balls.

He also confirms that the dufflebag was the key to the Red Sepulchre.



Page 3

John can't drive. But he can do magic. The concept that an automatic car would be easier to enchant is quite smart, don't you think ?

And he's also planning ahead - knowing (as people often forget in horror films) that the baddies have mobile phones.



Page 4

And Map explains the trick that we saw him set up with John in the aforementioned "stolen light".

Remember that Map advised John to choose his sides carefully. I think we can assume he chose correctly.

I suspect that "Gutta Inferna" that John mentioned to Map is what Clarice and Albert will use on Gemma later this issue.



Page 5

Pride is a difficult adversary. Gemma always had dreams of becoming like her Uncle John, and although Kit may have put her off for a while, Gemma has had time to stew on this. She appears to me like those young failures on Pop Idol who get voted out in the early rounds and maintain that the judges are wrong - when we know they are not. She has all of John's attitude but none (?) of his ability. At least she has almost got Uncle John's message here. And of course, like many young women, she can have her head turned by a flattering phrase and a nice frock.



Page 6

Unlike Josh, Fredericks knows the advantages from not breaking all the eggs in a basket. So Gemma survived. He's using her as insurance.



Pages 7 & 8

When John says something that might be a mistake, it is often part of the plan. Here I think he's aware that Josh will phone ahead and that'll save him some time. Goodall is primed to look for the dufflebag.

The telephone box does not appear to have a telephone in it.

Peake's unfit isn't he ? Whereas Josh retains that arrogant masterful air (for now).



Page 9

Now, here's a thing. The rope from the duffle bag has been soaked in blood since we last saw it. We don't know whose blood. And Goodall's gun ... TCHEK! ... misfires ? (is cocked ? - STH Towers)

Page 10

The Phansigar's holy ritual was to dedicated to Kali "Kali ("the black one") is the Hindu mother goddess, symbol of dissolution and destruction. She destroys ignorance, maintains the world order, and blesses and frees those who strive for the knowledge of God."
Constantine winning is just the "world order" innit ?

Kali also collects body parts from those she kills.



Page 11

Clarice's spell is the traditional Dennis Wheatley latin. C'est comme mon francais, vous connaisez ?

They are three because Map is there in the candle.

ACME Approximatronic Latiniser says:

Trans umbras jactitur = It is thrown across the shadows ...
Eius spiritus. = her spirit ...
In profundis mergitur = plunges into the depths ...
Et flumen sequitur = and follows the stream ...
In tenebris = into the dark ...



Page 12

Mirrors are powerful here. Map has been using them to get about, and Fredericks has used the power of Gemma's name to hold John's hand (for a moment)



Page 13

John tells Fredericks what the keen-eyed annotations readers will already know.

At best our evil villainous mastermind ought to know a bit about other cultures if he's going to try and take on Constantine.



Pages 14 & 15

Peake and Wright find their former ally is otherwise engaged. Or perhaps enraged with the murderous intent of Kali.

He's certainly broken Josh's neck according to that 4th panel on page 15, but the judgement is out on whether Josh will return from "adverse conditions" again. He's done it before.



Page 16

John continues his lesson in Hindu deities and cult practices for Fredericks. He certainly won't make the same mistake again.

Kali has a taste for blood, her mythical murder-lust was driven by the drinking of her victims' blood. This is why the Phansigar kill with a rope.

Note that Goodall's frenzy is possession by Kali, hence he does not use Thuggee murder techniques.

The blood lust is also why Kali would turn down a sacrifice who had a shaving cut. Not a drop must be spilled.

Some people think that Constantine wins too often and is too cocky, but why would he want an adversary to *know* he didn't have the upper hand ? It's bluff. There's an english psychological trickster called Derren Brown - no relation - and he use techniques like this to fool people and make them do what he wants all the time. Check him out, he's got a web-page where you can learn some of his skills. You too can be like John !



Page 17

Ut tenebras exhaurat = so that it can be removed from the dark
Eius spiritum cateno = this chained spirit

So, in summary and allowing for Latin syntax :

"Her spirit is thrown across the shadows ... and plunges into the depths ... and follows the stream into the dark ... so that her spirit can be kept from the shadows."

John says the assassin's own blood would perform the sacrament with Kali, but we didn't see Goodall shed blood. So whose blood was that ?

Snuffing the candle puts Gemma out like a light.

Page 18

As Goodall grabs Fredericks, the mirror cracks and the spell seeks out Gemma, but she is deeply unconscious and it cannot find her. So when John says "I got there first", he may be talking about Gemma rather than to Goodall.



Page 19

He's breaking necks rather than using the rope, but then as explained in earlier annotations there was usually more than one Thuggee. Whatever John says to Kali's spirit, she turns away and does not quite finish off Goodall.

I thought it may be a prayer and so some of the language may be esoteric.

Mike Carey says that the prayer is something along the lines of "Spare this vessel, o Kali, queen of death, and be gone from here. You have feasted, o Kali, mother of death. Be gone from here."

An alternative -

" 'Ere leave it out, Kali you old bag. Do us a favour and sod off. You've 'ad yer fill, now bugger off."

It is plausible that such a prayer actually exists, because Kali didn't kill her assassins did she ?



Page 20

Goodall survives his ordeal, but who else did ?

John releases the spirits from the Phansigar noose by burning it. And takes Gemma away from all this.

Now some have maintained that she should be grateful, but she's certainly going to be embarrassed, disappointed and have that old Constantine bravado. She'll learn, but not just yet.



Page 21

Packer's funeral. He deserves a decent send off after the fun he had last issue.

As described before (page 18) Clarice's spell did the trick to save Gemma.

Frederick's reasons for seeking the Red Sepulchre are not explored, but was the dream of the black dog a symbol of a broader threat to John (and his family) ? A door between the living and the dead is one thing, but what other doors await ? And who will come through that door if it opens ?

Of course, John leaves Clarice (and Albert and Map?) with some of his accustomed wit.



Page 22

London's cemeteries are worth a visit. From the stately park of Brompton to the wild hills of Highgate. There's some dead famous folks there.



Annotations By : Adrian Brown

Read issue synopsis.






Ade's inspired alternative cover For #180.



The White Stripes.



The Inspiral Carpets



Ye Olde British Phonebox



A classic, I'm sure



Brompton cemetery



Highgate cemetery



 
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