If you’re a lifelong fan of Hellblazer/Constantine then I wouldn’t put a whole lot of stock in my opinion here. I’ve only read the first issue of Constantine and while it was okay it wasn’t good enough for me to keep coming back. This is more of a Batman-fan-curious-about-trinity-war’s perspective on this book. I’m here to answer the question “Is it worth my time and money if I haven’t read an issue of Constantine before?” Will you understand what’s going on? Does it add much at all to the overall Trinity War story? So if I say something that’s just blatantly wrong about John Constantine and his world, then please point it out in the comments. I fully admit that I’m ignorant about Hellblazer and yes, I’m ashamed that I haven’t read any of the original Vertigo series. Now, on with the show…
NOTE: The Complete Trinity War reading checklist can be found HERE. I know I had to reference it. I was initially going to review this comic first but was confused on page 2. Turns out that you do indeed need to read Justice League Dark #22 BEFORE you read Constantine #5.
Will I understand what’s going on if all I’ve read up until now is Trinity War?
Yes. There are a couple of pages and a demonic baddie that have something to do with a “Cult of the Cold Flame” but it’s nothing all that important. Yes, the very final page teases something that only those who have read Constantine from #1 will really appreciate but the uninitiated will get the gist. The real focus here is on where John is taking Shazam and what it is he wants from him.
Does it add much at all to the overall Trinity War story?
Yes! This surprised me quite a bit. It turns out that Constantine knows more about Pandora’s box than he let on in the main Trinity War chapters. Or at least I assume so. John lies quite a lot so it can be difficult to know whether he’s being honest or saying something just so people will do what he wants. Initially it looked like the only important Trinity War stuff was going to happen in the first 5 pages (which can be found as a free preview around the net already) but after a brief glimpse at the Cult of the Cold flame (which I’m sure was the arc that this tie-in interrupted) we’re back to Shazam and maybe a few answers.
Is it good?
Yeah. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Only time will tell how important this was to the overall Trinity War story but I came here to see what John wanted from Shazam and that’s what I got. I’m satisfied with that. There were even some fun surprises mixed in and the artwork by Renato Guedes looked alright too. Sure, none of the visuals were all that memorable and I would’ve liked some better detail on the baddie who shows up but none of it looked bad. Overall it’s an entertaining issue.
What happens here will probably be summed up in some dialogue in one of the main Trinity War chapters, but I enjoyed it. Constantine #5 has more substance than I had expected and it gives new readers a taste of the kind of adventures they can find in this series. I wanted to see what Constantine wanted from Shazam and that’s what I got. I wish these two would have had a bigger adventure together rather than just this one small moment but… well, I guess I’m really saying that my expectations here were pretty low and I was pleasantly surprised.