By Mat Johnson, Tony Akins & Dan Green
(Vertigo) ISBN 1-84576-265-7
Papa Midnite was a character first seen in the premier issue of John Constantine’s own comic, but it was really the movie that sealed the deal on this solo outing for the Voodoo lord. Despite all that, however, this is vintage Hellblazer material, as a ghostly visitation leads to a trip down memory lane and we discover the deeply disturbing early life of the slave and his equally gifted sister, Luna.
As ownerless slaves they scrounge out an existence in 18th century Manhattan, surviving on wits, bravado and a smattering of magic learned from their mother. Always seeking the main chance, they become agents provocateur in a slave uprising, the repercussions of which still challenge Papa Midnite three centuries later. The resulting climax of three centuries worth of bad karma and blood debts provides a good, old fashioned supernatural revenge thriller pay-off.
Although no masterpiece, this is a solid addition to the Hellblazer canon, so followers of the franchise and horror fans in general should applaud another mystic anti-hero strutting his street-wise stuff in our grim and gritty modern world. He’d probably look better on screen, too.
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