Page 45 Review by Stephen
"Remember Newcastle, he said, and slapped me with a sudden chill of anger which now grows tentacles through me, like cancer, or death.
"Remember Newcastle. I wouldn't have given him credit for such subtlety -- but these words touch me as precisely as a dentist's steel probing the exposed pulp of a molar nerve."
Memory is very much at the forefront here for the second HELLBLAZER book from the late 1980s.
In the first chapter here, "Newcastle: A Taste Of Things To Come", the demon that arises is subconsciously triggered by a little girl after months or even years of routine sexual abuse at the hands of her father and his friends, and the demon's developed a taste for it himself, sodomising one of John's friends. The one Constantine attempts to summon as a countermeasure is born of arrogance and naivety, and for his sins (it doesn't go well for his mates or the girl) John is condemned to two years in Ravenscar's Secure Facility For The Dangerously Deranged, and hell thereafter. Set years before John's first appearance in SWAMP THING, we see his mates, who we know from Moore are already dead, drift across the page like living ghosts, doomed to meet their grisly ends before so very long.
After that we look back at the days of the Falklands War... remember British holidays at the seaside... and arre taken all the way back to ancient Britain as a mad, diseased and vainglorious abbot is told a tale by Merlin, his head-on-a-spike, and we discover said abbot's relative connection to thrice-born, Christian-killing King Kon-Sten-Tyn of Ravenscar, who was a total bastard too.
Not having read this material for some time, I was taken aback at how imaginative and vivid Delano was, particularly when daydreaming about the meltdown of a coastal nuclear reactor or flying the astral plane. He really does give the English language a damn good theatrical outing, with demons as loquacious as they repulsive. Rayner and Bucky's line are crisp and clear, and Vertigo's colourists hadn't yet blown out all the candles and left us choking in the post-snuff waxy vapour of more recent years.