HellBlazer #3 HELLBLAZER #3
Going For It

Writer : Jamie Delano
Art : John Ridgway
Cover Artist : Dave McKean
Colors : Lovern Kindzierski
Letters : Anne Halfacree
Editor : Karen Berger


Issue Synopsis : Welcome to Thatcher's Britain: capitalism is at its height, and whilst thousands of yuppies hungrily fight for money, millions more are unemployed. Up until last week Roger Randall was one of the lucky few: a stockbroker with a golden touch and a charmed life. But now that life is falling apart - a run of bad luck has robbed him of his car, his girlfriend and his livelihood, and worst of all he's fallen behind on his payments to Mammon Investments. In order to distract himself from his troubles poor Roger's gone jogging, but he still can't put his bad luck out of his mind. In fact, he's so wrapped up in his problems that he doesn't even notice two other joggers approaching him from behind at superhuman speed. As they catch up with him, Roger recognises them as Rodeny and Belladonna, two of the staff at Mammon Investments. Before he can ask them for an extension on his payments, however, they hook their arms under his and drag him up the street. It seems that the company has decided that Roger is too much of a liability, so they've sent Rodney and Bella to sweep away the dead wood. The only problem is that Roger isn't dead. Yet. Rodney and Bella pick up speed, forcing Roger to run faster and faster until his heart finally gives out on him and he falls, cracking his head on the pavement. Bella dips her finger in the pool of blood forming around Roger's head and crosses off his name in her file-o-fax.

Three days later. It's election day for Britain but John's concerned with far stranger matters. After a tip-off from Ray Monde, a friend with a nose for strangeness, John's started snooping around the poverty-stricken Spitalfields area of London. It seems that poor Roger wasn't the first yuppie to croak it - at least three others have died in odd circumstances ranging from drowning in guacamole to being mauled to death by a house cat. After much investigating, John finally hits gold when he sees two yuppies entering an old run-down warehouse. He goes to investigate, unaware that the pair are actually the same couple who killed Roger...

Meanwhile in a club in the financial district of Hell, Blathoxi - Lord of Flatulence and one of the Netherworld's biggest (in every sense) financial movers and shakers - is in conference with several lesser demons. It seems that Blathoxi is one of the heads behind Mammon Investments and the other demons have come to him for financial backing. Their aim is to take over the UK souls market and with the Thatcherite "me society" in full swing there's never been a better time to prey on people's greed. Blathoxi agrees, but warns them that if they upset the delicate balance of the market they'll be in very deep trouble.

Back in Spitalfields, John is taking a look around the back of Rodney and Bella's place. Using a makeshift ladder of oil drums and other junk, he tries to climb onto a small balcony that leads into the couple's apartment. Before he manages to look in, however, a horrible scream sends the startled conman crashing to the ground. Inside the apartment, Rodney Bubosganglia - in his true demon form - admires his new CD, "Tears of Atlantis Re-awaken the Dessicated Souls of Hiroshima". He offers a mouth-spray of infant adrenal fluid to the equally monstrous Bella Donna. Suitably invigorated, she suggests they attend the election party at "The Pits". Outside, John is relieved to hear the CD stop. Soon after, Rodney and Bella - back in human form - leave the house, with Constantine in tow.

The Pits, it seems, is a local trendy wine bar. John descends the steps with the graceful elegance of an ox, slipping halfway down and landing painfully on his arse at the bottom. At first The Pits seems to be the usual collection of obnoxious nouveau-riche, but as John's eyes become adjusted to the lighting he realises that things are not what they appear: the lampshades and wall murals are made of human skin, and the complementary drinks are glasses of goat's blood. This latter feature takes John especially by surprise, causing him to exclaim "JESUS CHRIST!" Of course, hearing that name does not please the rest of the bar's clientele, who start to turn on Constantine. John - who is still under the mistaken impression that they're nothing more than magic dabbling yuppies - prepares for a fight, but gets a stay of execution when a young woman enters the bar. She's apparently another of Rodney's clients and is obviously out of her head on some substance or other. She babbles about how she's had a bad run of luck and needs more time to pay her commmission, but instead gets a mouth full of one of Rodney's sprays. She chokes for a second before suddenly vomiting out her soul. John finally realises what sort of place he's in and makes a sharp exit through a nearby window.

John loses the demons on his trail by taking a detour through a Salvation Army Hostel then heads back to his lodgings. Once home, he sets about performing a summoning ritual to conjure up Blathoxi. However his equipment's second-hand and he doesn't have any cats to sacrifice, so the best he can come up with is the steward of Blathoxi's club. The steward tells John that the ritual was "incompetent and insulting", but that he can still petition Blathoxi provided he meet the Lord of Flatulence on his own turf. John transforms his amulet into a tie to meet the dress code of the demon's club and follows the steward down into Hell, on a stairway made of living human heads.

Constantine finds Blathoxi in a sauna and gets straight down to business: he wants to sell his soul. The demon lord tells him that the current deal is "very beneficial", especially given the prospect of a third term for Thatcher, but John tells him he wants to sign immediately. Blathoxi buys the bluff and immediately becomes suspicious: the only reason why John would want to sign before the election is if he is sure that the Convservatives are going to be booted out, thus destroying the soul market. The Demon Lord guesses that John must have some insider knowledge about the elections and kicks John out of Hell so that he can sell all of his UK stock before the market has a chance to crash. John is thrown back into his flat, but his moment of triumph is ruined when he realises that the demons from the wine bar are in there with him. He grabs the sword he used in his summoning ritual but one of the demons melts it down with a touch. Discussing the horrible things they intend to do to John, the creatures close in...

John wakes up back in the The Pits, suspended from the ceiling by his feet. It seems that the election party is in full swing, with the monstrous clientele celebrating what looks to be yet another win for the Conservatives. Rodney calls for glasses so that they can drink a toast with John's blood, but the waiter seems to be suffering some kind of seizure and spills the tray. Rodney swipes off the unfortunate servant's head, only for the headless body to pick it back up. It seems Blathoxi is back in town, using the waiter as a host. The demons' surprise turns to fear as Blathoxi informs them that they've destabilised the UK Souls Market, wiping out the Infernal Dollar. Of course, this is just a ruse so that he doesn't get blamed himself for letting Constantine trick him. Before anyone can argue, he binds the demons in ticker-tape and forces them back down into the inferno. Blathoxi now has Constantine at his mercy, but knows that he cannot attack him - to do so would be to admit that he was responsible for crashing the market. The demon-lord issues a threat before returning to the underworld. John's relief is short lived, however, when he realises that he's going to have to spend the rest of the night hanging by his feet, watching Maggie Thatcher 'till dawn...

Issue synopsis written by James Wilkinson

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