Hellblazer Ends, CONSTANTINE Begins - In The DCU!

 

Hellblazer, the long-running Vertigo series that follows occult detective John Constantine through his darkest adventures, is coming to an end with February's issue #300, the AP reports. The series finale will be handled by writer Peter Milligan, who has been with the title for several years, and drawn by Giuseppe Camuncoli and Stefano Landini.

But the bigger news, at least when it comes to reaction from the fans of the character and series, is that Robert Venditti and Renato Guedes will be launching Constantine, a new solo series for the character that takes place not in the mature subset of DC Comics, but instead in the "New 52" DC Universe. That means his solo adventures will now take place alongside characters like Superman and Batman, instead of being isolated to his own little corner of the world.

John Constantine rejoined the DC Universe shortly before the relaunch that reset the entire line of titles to first issues, and has been a member of the Justice League Dark team of supernatural and magical characters since its launch in September 2011. Venditti said that he'll be drawing from both Hellblazer and JLD for his take on the character.

"He's going to be the same age that he is in Justice League Dark and the same character that people know and recognize - the drinking and smoking, the con man aspect of him - that's going to be very much part of the series," Venditti told the AP. He added that the character's depth will be a large focus.

 "I like the idea of him being so layered. There's always machinations going on underneath with Constantine and that's what makes him such an enjoyable character to read and write," said Venditti.

Venditti recently relaunched another character at the reborn Valiant Entertainment, X-O Manowar, which he says makes him uniquely suited to the job of handling Constantine's new series.

"The mission is very much the same," he said in the AP's article. "While I'm aware of all the rich history, I can't look at it from `How am I going to compete with that?' I am going to come to the book and tell the best stories that I can."

Presuming Constantine launches in February, the same month that Hellblazer ends (the launch date was not given in the AP article, and we've reached out to DC for comment), it would fill out the "52" titles after the hole left by cancelations in January. Vibe, Katana, and Justice League of America all launch February 2012, replacing Blue Beetle, Grifter, Legion Lost, and Frankenstein: Agent of S.H.A.D.E. DC Comics has indicated they plan to remain at the "New 52" line for the forseeable future.

Update: The series launches in March 2013, DC says, meaning there's either still one more to come in February, or a month with only 51 series.

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