Book Review: Constantine – Volume 3: The Voice in the Fire by Ray Fawkes, ACO, Jay Leisten, and Edgar Salazar

Image Description: the book-cover of Constantine, Volume 3: The Voice In The Fire. The cover focuses on Constantine kneeling on the ground, screaming, as he is currently on fire.

Title: Constantine, Volume 3: The Voice In The Fire
Creators: Ray Fawkes (writer), ACO (artist), Jay Leisten (artist), Edgar Salazar (artist)
Social Media: Goodreads
Publisher: DC Comics
Format and Price: Paperback from my local library
Stars: 3 stars out of 5

About The Creators:
Links are provided above.

About The Book:
Lost and confused in the face of the fallout from his actions in Forever Evil: Blight, John Constantine has sold himself out to the Cold Flame and is vulnerable to attack by Spellbinder! How will DCU’s con man deal with the repercussions of this universe changing event? Written by Eisner Award-nominee Ray Fawkes, John Constantine continues his reemergence as DC Comics’ most infamous magician!

General Observation:

~Narrative Structure: While the narrative structure is more cohesive in this volume, especially in comparison to Volume 2, the narrative is still a hot mess. At the end of Volume 2, Nicholas had all of Constant’s rag-tag bunch of misfits team captured and had cast Constantine into “Hell” (presumably). Then the narrative starts exploring what had happened previously with The Cult of Cold Flame before they were captured(?).

I honestly don’t know what’s going on anymore. I can’t help but feel that the events of this volume should have been in Volume 2. The storyboarding of volume 2 and 3 does not feel as though they were planned out well, and I keep hoping that the next volume will make more sense. In saying that, time-travel has been introduced into the Constantine mage-verse, so it’s possible that’s why the narrative seems a little confusing (maybe?).

~Magic A Is Magic A: I still haven’t figure out all the rules with Constantine-orientated system of magic just yet. Constantine has made some vague allusions to The DC-Universe Magic System over the last three volumes but nothing specific. I’m unfamiliar with the Hellblazer Vertigo comics, so I’m not sure if the Magic system depicted there is similar, or vastly different.

One of the big components or DC-Universe Magic is Power At A Price, which isn’t a problem for me, I quite like this trope with regards to Magic. Another trope in use with the DC-Universe is Cast From Hit Points.  The problem that I’ve seen this all before and I want to know what makes DC-Universe magic different from all the others.

For Example: Before the events of Volume 1 (presumably), off-screen Zatanna casts a Motivation Spell on Constantine. Putting aside the problematic implications of this, as this was not done with Constantine’s permission, how does that work exactly?

Did Zatanna actually do this on purpose or was it a possible accident? Honestly, Zatanna doing something like this by accident is scarier, or at least it is to me. What did Zatanna have to “pay” to cast a Motivation spell that powerful? Then there’s the fact that spell can be removed (supposedly) but at what price? it’s not explained to my liking.

~Show Don’t Tell: I keep being told that Constantine is a bastard who will sacrifice his friends and allies to achieve his goals, that he’s a terrible person, however, I’m not “seeing” a lot of evidence to support this claim in this series.

All in all, I’m getting some answers to the questions the narrative is proposing, however, the narrative is still incoherent. I’m seriously questioning the artistic choices that DC Comics are approving of with this series. Let’s hope volume 4 wraps all of this up.

Available for Purchase: Amazon | Book Depository

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