Critical Mass

When hell was divided amongst the three fallen, the demon Buer was given charge of the children's souls that were consigned to damnation. But now that The First has been banished from hell, Buer fears that the other two Fallen will return and fight for the right to be ruler of hell. Eventually, when one of them wins, Buer will lose his children. Buer visits The First, who is now a Greek fisherman on earth. Here Buer learns that in order to restore The First to his place as ruler of hell, the "most hated man on earth" must give up his soul for him. The First then reveals that John Constantine is the most hated man on earth. Buer possesses Syder - able to do so because the Demon Nergal owed him a debt and because the blood of Nergal runs in John's veins. Buer argues that John carries Nergal's debt. Buer tells Constantine that he will free Syder and Astra's souls in exchange for John's own.

Calling in an old debt, John makes Jack of the green take him to Abaton. Here John meets the man around whom the legend of Robin Hood has been formed and the scribe of Abaton. The scribe reveals the demon's name to John but refuses to answer any more questions. Angered, John tracks down the would be Robin Hood and demands to know how things are going to play out - the man, dejected, reveals that upon his death - John's soul is bound for hell.

Buer continues to taunt John's dreams with images of tortured children's souls. A desperate John receives a surprise visit from the Phantom Stranger who gives him a valuable hint - suggesting that only part of John deserves to go to hell. Consantine works some of the most powerful magic we've seen him use but he wakes up the next morning with no memory of it, convinced instead he spent the night on the booze. A phone caller, having rang the wrong number looking for 'Aleister', sets John to thinking and he's soon on his way to Scotland.

John meets up with Aleister Crowley and Constantine works more magic, merging the pair together. The First meanwhile has had enough of his mortal comrades and kills them as he waits for Buer to restore him to his rightful place as ruler of hell. John returns to England and meets up with Chas, Rich and his family. Constantine is in a bad way, unable to recall arranging to meet Chas and co and feeling awful to boot. Returning to Borley, where Buer took hold of Syder's soul, John confronts the demon. Astra's spirit is also present and Buer promises that she will continue to suffer until John kills himself and offers his soul to The First, hence allowing him to return to his throne in hell. John breaks down and is unable to kill himself. It's at this stage that a fourth person enters the scene - another John Constantine !

John did indeed work some powerful magic - in fact he split his soul in two - taking all the nasty bits and the demon blood, then later mixing in Crowley's soul. Realising that if the 'fake' Constantine kills himself, The First will be furious, he begs John not to do it. Buer releases all the children's souls in his possesion in a bid to stop John killing himself - however the 'fake' John kills himself anyway. Returned to his throne but furious at not getting his hands on the real Constantine, The First takes his anger out on Buer before offering John a job. Naturally John turns him down (in typically smart arsed fashion).

With things returning to normal, John receives a visit from Ellie who is now in hiding as The First seeks her for the part she played in his banishment.

Timeline

1988 : Nergal gives John Constantine a transfusion using his own demonic blood.

1994 : Out to get Constantine for tricking him into drinking holy water, the First Of The Fallen learns that he is the one true lord of hell. Armed with this knowledge, he kills the two false lords and sets about getting his revenge on the magus. The First is betrayed by the demoness Ellie who kills him with a magical dagger, thus banishing him from hell.

1995 : Syder, the son of two of John's old friends, is possessed by Buer

Dates taken from Vertigo Secret Files : Hellblazer, written by Michael Bonner
Syder possessed by Buer.

John Constantine, meet John Constantine.

The First Of The Fallen enjoys some sweet revenge.

 
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