Story: Keith Giffen, John Layman
Art: Andy Clarke, Priscilla Petraites
Colors: David Baron, John Rauch
Letterer: Travis Lanham
What They Say:
Story 1 – John Constantine discovers that nothing is ever what it seems, especially inside a haunted house…
Story 2 – A young girl on the run finds more than she bargained for when she takes cover in a house occupied by none other than Gentleman Ghost!
Content: (please note that content portions of a review may contain spoilers):
The second installment of this series pulls from two different areas and I definitely appreciate that. The opening tale has John Layman working with artist Andy Clake to deliver a good Constantine story in brief, which is something that the character definitely allows for. The second has Keith Giffen scripting it, which delights me as I always enjoy his work, with the excellent Priscilla Petraites handling the art duties here. That it delves into the Gentleman Ghost just makes it all the more enjoyable as I’ve read a number of shorts about the characters over the years that have made me really like what can be done with him.
The opening tale is a good bit of fun with its focus on Constantine doing a job for his friend Chas. He’s been sent to Hampstead to help out a young woman friend of his – who is frustratingly never named here – as the house she bought is haunted and she needs help with it. It’s a nice one in that he relates the kinds of ghosts that exist in house hauntings but the reality is that it’s the young woman herself who is possessed, leading him to working his magic there. Layman has a really good flow for this with great pacing for a short story that lets us connect with Constantine and enjoy all the permutations of ghosts in the house. And Clarke delivers on the visuals, though sometimes his Constantine isn’t to my liking, but more often than not he looks right here. The house details and the spirits within look fantastic and that’s a big sell for me.
The second tale introduces us to a young girl named Zoe that has apparently seen something she shouldn’t have, hence a trio of older men racing after her to silence her. Luckily for her, she ends up crossing paths with a derelict house that happens to be hosted by the Gentleman Ghost. We see him politely engage with her once inside in a way that’s utterly charming and also deal with the guys when they finally come around to investigate there. I love the dialogue between him and just about everyone here as there’s an easy confidence and mocking tone to parts of it that delights. Of course, there are twists along the way that changes things up but it’s all got a natural flow and great pacing coming from someone that knows all about writing for different lengths in order to compact it properly here.
I’m a big fan of the stable of characters that DC Comics has under its supernatural wing and this series is delivering some good stuff right off the bat. With Corrigan and the Spectre getting some time previously, the teams here bring out the goods for short Constantine and Gentleman Ghost stories that delight. They’re paced well, they look great, they’re smooth and enjoyable reads, and they’re easily accessible so that you can just drop right in and maybe discover something you didn’t know you might like before. And at just a buck an issue, an easy buy-in.