Review: Constantine #10
There’s quite a puzzling front cover on this book, as it gives the impression that the most important thing happening within is that Constantine has to deal with a Dr Doom inspired giant. But when you actually open the book, and read a couple of pages, you are confronted with the sight of Constantine travelling to Heaven and getting lippy with God.
Yeah, I said that correctly. Constantine goes to heaven in this book, confronts the big androgynous one and gets all lippy with him/her/it. You’d think that would be the big seller here wouldn’t you? After all, how often does the average comic book hero get to go to heaven and have a chat with the divine presence?
I tell you one thing though, it shows the waning influence of Christianity in western countries today that a comic book character can 1- Talk to God in such a disrespectful and arrogant way 2- Have God portrayed as a yappy little dog. 3- Have the writer happily do this in a light and silly tone, safe in the knowledge that nobody will even comment about it.
Seriously, what I’ve just said here will be the beginning and end of it. I’m not a Christian, so I’m not personally offended by a comic book that features a man with the initials J.C as an arrogant con man, Judas as a guilt wrecked superhero and God as a silly little dog. All I am doing here is commenting on the declining role that Christianity now plays in the lives of people who live in western, faux-democratic countries.
But are we really living in faithless times now? No, we are not. Religion still plays a huge role in countries all over the world, just not in the world of comics apparently. Is this good, or bad? What happens to a culture when religion is taken away? Do you even need religion to have a relationship with God? Big questions, but back to the comic.
Constantine as a stand-in for the cool, atheist/agnostic modern, western reader dismisses God in this issue, but the writing is a little bit cleverer than that. God has a plan, so no matter how much Constantine deludes himself that he is in control, all he is really doing is following the divine plan and playing his pre-determined role within the larger story.
The book concludes with Constantine doing what Constantine does. Making out that he’s in charge, that he’s above the silly little dog in heaven, but we know it’s all a bluff. Constantine being the ultimate con man sometimes even manages to con himself, but somewhere, deep inside he knows how things really work.
Am I talking about Constantine now, or am I talking about writer Ray Fawkes? Because what he has done here is demonstrate that the arrogance of mankind is just a self-delusional Constantine bluff. We might think we are in control, might think we are above God, but who are we kidding? God is still God, and we are all following the divine plan.
The more we kid ourselves that we are in control, and the more we laugh at the silly little dog, the more we are fooling ourselves about what we really know in the deepest, most secret, yet honest places within our collective souls.
This is a Godless comic, yet it’s a comic about God. How clever is that? Constantine is all of us, and that’s why he’s the most vital character in contemporary comics. Raw Fawkes understands this, and his writing in this issue is top notch, demonstrating just how philosophically deep you can get whilst writing what is ostensibly just a childish book about superheroes. It really isn’t, there’s so much more going on here, and I for one really appreciate what he is doing.