HellBlazer #9 HELLBLAZER #9
Shot to Hell

Writer : Jamie Delano
Art : John Ridgway
Art : Alfredo Alcala
Cover Artist : Dave McKean
Colors : Lovern Kindzierski
Letters : Todd Klein
Editor : Karen Berger

Issue Synopsis : It's John's birthday and he'll cry if he wants to. Drunken, unshaven and miserable, John stumbles through the bad (worse?) parts of Gotham City, watching the mad, the bad and the poor go about their broken lives. Escaping the relentless misery, he enters a bar and tries to sit down for a quiet bout of self-loathing only to find the nearest table taken up by the ghosts of Ray and the Newcastle Crew.

The Crew (visible only to Constantine) tell him to buck himself up, but he shouts them down, telling them that with the Damnation Army and Resurrection Crusade both on his back, he doesn't have much in his life that's worth living for - and that even if he makes it out of the crossfire alive, he's got nothing to look forward to but a bed on a cancer ward. The barman, perturbed by the schizophrenic Englishman who keeps screaming at chairs, takes John by the arm and throws him out of the door.

Outside, Ray follows Constantine and explains that the transfusion of demon blood that John recieved last issue has given him a kind of psychic poisoning, and that if he doesn't lift himself out of his blues he could destroy himself altogether. John ignores Ray and keeps walking.

As John slips further and further down, he becomes aware of a presence following him - especially when it possesses his clothes and chases him out of his lousy rented hotel. Days pass, and the creature's appearances become more frequent - it begins to animate petrol, money and newspapers, chasing Constantine relentlessly around the city until he can take it no longer, and decides to end it all.

John decides on a unique method of suicide: climbing into one of Gotham's many soon-to-be-demolished buildings, he waits on a sofa for the wrecking ball to swing through and splatter him. It's at this point that the spirit that has been chasing John all this time makes itself visible - and it turns out to be John himself! The living Constantine tells his ghost that humanity's on its way down into Hell no matter what he does, so he might as well end it all now. The ghost mocks this self-important martyrdom and tells him that John can crack the prophecy conundrum; all he needs to do is think about Zed. Reminded of Zed's plight, Constantine gets up off the sofa and leaves, just as the wrecking ball smashes its way though the sofa.

A shower, a shirt and a shave later, Constantine's back in England. Strangely, the police don't seem to be looking out for him at all, so he has all the time he needs to work out his plan...

Glastonbury, England: Zed - now calling herself Mary - ponders her new life. Weeks of brainwashing have left her almost completely submissive before the Crusade, but memories of her old life and her relationship with John Constantine still remain. She accepts that John is gone forever, only to find him stood right behind her. He tells her that he's come to break her out, but Zed refuses, telling him that her role in the Crusade is too important to walk out on. Constantine's hurt, and starts welling up as he acknowledges that he's not good enough for her. Zed tells him not to cry, and holds him to her chest. Realising that this is the end of their relationship, Zed asks John to make love with her, and he accepts. After their passion is spent, and Zed lies sleeping on the ground, John kisses her lightly on the cheek, brushes aside his crocodile tears and walks away, grinning: "Sure sign I must be on the mend," he tells himself, "I'm already back playing the traitor's game."

Back in London, John mulls over his role in the war between Heaven and Hell: Nergal healed him knowing that the demonic taint in his blood would make Zed an unsuitable host for the Heavenly child. But now the Damnation Army has the upper hand, and John needs to work around the prophecy using some neutral force. He comes up with a plan which somehow involves Swamp Thing, although Swampy would apparently never go ahead with it if he knew about the demon blood in John's veins. Just as John begins to consider using a memory-blocking sigil on himself, Swamp Thing makes a personal appearance, growing out of the tobacco in John's duty-free cigarettes. John pulls off a bit of Swamp Thing's belly for a roll-up, but just as he's about to light it, Swamp Thing angrily lifts him high into the air. John tells Swampy to calm down, and suggests that they discuss his latest plan...

Issue synopsis written by James Wilkinson

[ Previous Month's Issue ]            [ Next Month's Issue ]
Emma displays her usual tact with a little rant.

And John repays in kind.

John meets his own ghost...?

Sowing seeds of destruction.

The manipulator becomes the manipulated.

Baby, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

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