John Constantine (Hellblazer)

Constantine - Season PilotAnother new series coming next fall is Constantine, and the first trailer finally hit the web. Not many characters are actually seen, but we sure meet properly the protagonist, John Constantine, portrayed by Matt Ryan. In the show, he’ll be a retired exorcist and “master of the dark arts” called back in action by a friend who asks him to take care of his haunted daughter, a task that will prove itself to be harder than first expected. The character already appeared in the 2005 movie starring Keanu Reeves, but he sure was different: dark-haired instead of blonde, with adventures set in New Orleans instead of London, no accent to make mention of and, of course, his named pronounced the American way, “Constan-teen” instead of British “Constan-tine”; this paranormal detective protected a police agent named Angela Dodson from a conspiracy started in Hell itself. Needless to say, the movie was quite a disappointment for whoever expected the comicbooks’ Constantine to show up, but quite funny if you didn’t have any expectation. Now, let’s see who the real Constantine is.

Even this time, there are multiple versions of the character, but we’ll try to focus on the common aspects of the two. John Constantine was born in LiverpoolEngland, from Thomas and Mary Anne Constantine. While in his mother’s womb, infant John strangled his own twin with the umbilical cord, and thus he was the only one actually coming into the world. At his constantinecomics1birth, however, Mary Anne died (her body had been weakened by a previous abortion caused by Thomas), and her husband, unable to accept he had indirectly caused his wife’s death, blamed John for all his life. John grew attached to his older sister, Cheryl Masters, who acted as some sort of mother-figure for him. The two children moved to Northampton when Thomas, now a alcoholic, was arrested for stealing a neighbor’s udnerwear. John and Cheryl stayed with their aunt and uncle, until Thomas was set free, and they came back to Liverpool. Young John started getting interested in magic (and cigarettes, his only life-lasting love), and found out he was the descendant of a poweful lineage of masters of the dark arts, called the Laughing Magicians, wizards who mocked gods and demons alike. As one of his first “tricks”, Constantine locked up all of his innocence and weaknesses in a box, and got rid of them. A new man, he moved to London, where he met Chas Chandler, the man who would have become his roommate and his longest-lasting friend. Constantine entered for a brief time into the music field, with a punk-rock band named Mucous Membrane, who he went on several tours with (he also went to San Francisco, where he met and dated another powerful magician, Zatanna Zatara). It was with the Mucous Membrane that Constantine tried his first act of heroism.

While in Newcastle, Constantine found out that in the exclusive Casa Nova Club a group of people had put up a magical orgy, but the abused girl, Astra, had conjured a monster to punish all the adults who raped her…only, the monster didn’t want to go back at all. Constantine convinced his friends Chas, Beano and Gary Lester to help him fight the creature summoning a demon in turn…but the demon wasn’t under their control, and after it destroyed the child’s monsters, he turned on them. Constantine managed to send it back to Hell, but the demon took Astra along, constantinecomics2imprisoning her in Hell. This episode brought Constantine to a mental breakdown, and he was locked up in Ravenscar Psychiatric Hospital, where he stayed for some years. He came out of Ravenscar only when a group of gangsters broke him out, forcing him to resurrect their boss’ son: the spell worked, and they let John be. He tried to start a new life, and dated a girl named Emma, but his skills as a sorcerer called him back to action. He took care of a murderous cult called Brujería, but during the battle Emma and the gangsters who were helping him ended up being killed: they became the first ones of the many silent, accusing ghosts who would have haunted John all his life. Eventually, Constantine was brought to Louisiana by a strong magic gathering there, and he met what was once the man called Alec Holland, now the Swamp Thing. John became friend with the creature, and taught him how to expand his powers, bonding with the Green (the energy linking all plant life on the planet); he also introduced him to the Parliament of Trees, elementals who protected Earth and the plant realm. Constantine acted for Swamp Thing as a councelor, an advisor, an ally, sometimes even a friend; soon, however, other matters of spiritual and magical importance would have called him back from Louisiana, as the battle between Hell and Heaven for humans’ souls never ceased.

John Constantine is a brilliant, yet cynical and arrogant man, a snarky detective with quite a British humor, who apparently cares for nothing and nobody; he is, on the other side, a defender of humanity, who truly and deeply believes in mankind’s potentiality out of the influence of both Heaven and Hell, and he fights for this freedom. Very cunning and resourceful, Constantine is also a skilled magician, with a deep knowledge of arcane spells including exorcismdivinationsummoning, the ability to travel among realms, necromancyresurrection, control over elements (fire especially), evocation, and many others; after his blood transfusion with demon Nergal he also gained a superhuman resistance to physical damage and an accelerated healing. He’s also a master tactician and a good hand-to-hand combatant, and has at his disposal many mystical artifacts and weapons (he’d be also a good marskman, but he hates guns). Being a Laughing Magician, he has inherited a rare ability called Synchronicity Wave Traveling: he has the innate ability to be at the right time in the right moment, thus being an extremely lucky guy (he usually uses this ability to win lotteries). Incredibly annoying, presumptious and mean, John Constantine is nevertheless the Hellblazer, often humanity’s last line of defense against supernatural forces beyond any imagination.

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22 Comments

  1. […] by Peter Stormare: he acted as a deus ex machina in the climax, coming to collect a suicidal John Constantine‘s soul, but ending up preventing his rebel son Mammon from taking over his realm. Now, […]

  2. […] we still have one character to speak about: in Waiting for the Man, detective Jim Corrigan calls John Constantine back to hunt down a dangerous serial killer who preys on young girls, kidnapping them to make them […]

  3. […] engaged to. Before their marriage, Renee didn’t like pretty much Chas’ best friend, John Constantine, a weird and egoistical man who Chas spent most of his time with; when Renee finally managed to […]

  4. […] DC Universe. In the show, when a demonic disease sends many people into an irreversible coma, John Constantine realises that some powerful magic is at work, and he’s not wrong: the disease is the […]

  5. […] cure her, Chas will be ready to sacrifice it all, despite his all-time friend (and pain the back) John Constantine strongly advices him against it. Geraldine also appears in the comics, but as it happened with […]

  6. […] another pretty entertaining episode. In The Saint of Last Resorts, we see our truly John Constantine investigate on the disappearance of a newborn baby, called in by his (ex) friend Anne Marie Flynn. […]

  7. […] of Constantine, but in the trailer from the next one we have one. In The Saint of Last Resorts, John Constantine will be summoned by an old friend to take care of some supernatural problem in a church. The old […]

  8. […] come back to the very first episode, Non Est Asylum, to speak about one that I missed. When John Constantine goes up a roof to try and send back to Hell the electric demon Furcifer, the latter tries to […]

  9. […] appear in flesh and bones, at least not in flesh. In Danse Vaudou, when Papa Midnite is told by John Constantine that his spells are having catastrophical side-effects, the voodoo sorcerer goes to his informer […]

  10. […] to speak about. The first one, obviously, is one of the new recurring allies of our truly. When John Constantine arrives in New Orleans to investigate murder cases involving a ghost, he’s immediately […]

  11. […] character appeared this week in Constantine, another unexpected one. In A Feast of Friends, when John Constantine wants to identify the demon he’s after, he asks a friend for help: the friend is a shaman […]

  12. […] demon, a pretty powerful one whom he bottles up and brings to the United States to his friend John Constantine. Unfortunately, the demon is freed by an unaware airport guard and starts spreading chaos, […]

  13. […] episode of Constantine, and this time a pretty decent one, in which we learn what a nice guy John Constantine really is (no illusion: he’s not at all). In A Feast of Friends, the entire story turns […]

  14. […] he led his illegal operations. Nobody dared to challenge Midnite, until an amateur occultist named John Constantine tricked him twice in a row: first, he stole from him a powerful artifact, the Ace of Winchesters; […]

  15. […] if briefly, in the first episode of Constantine, Non Est Asylum: when Furcifer attacks the cab John Constantine, Chas Kramer and Liv Aberdeen are traveling on, the exorcist is knocked out, and has a […]

  16. […] human character appeared in Non Est Asylum, the first episode of Constantine. When we first meet John Constantine, he’s a patient in Ravenscar, a mental asylum in which he mainly wants to punish himself for […]

  17. […] in Constantine‘s first episode, Non Est Asylum, is another one of the good guys: when John Constantine realizes he’s fighting Furcifer, a demon who feeds on electricity, he decides he’ll […]

  18. […] comics, first one being Astra Logue, portrayed by Bailey Tippen. In the show, little Astra is John Constantine‘s greatest sin and regret, a girl he unwillingly damned to Hell in a clumsy attempt of […]

  19. […] a little while before. Immediately attracted to him, Zed approached him, and found out he was John Constantine, a free-lance exorcist and occult detective who was at the time on a search. Zed invited […]

  20. […] future recurring characters, Chas Chandler, portrayed by Charles Halford. Chas will be John Constantine‘s best (and longest living) friend, who accompanies him in his anti-demon crusade with a […]

  21. […] about her parents, and she started looking for her father around the world. In her travels she met John Constantine, a British occultist who she started an affair with, and who helped her discovering her true […]

  22. […] history and life, especially when extraordinary individual beings such as Timothy Hunter or John Constantine were involved. Then, the entire creation suffered a major blow, that created a devastating chain […]


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