Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hellblazer - Damnation's Flame (Ennis Vol. 5)

Hellblazer - Damnation's Flame
By Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon

So, Damnation's Flame. Or Damn Nation's Flame. Clever, huh? Little bit of subtle commentary, right? Goes right along with the whipsmart political and social commentary of the story, yeah?


No, not clever, or subtle, or smart, or any such thing. It's not that Ennis' political commentary is offensive or wrong or anything like that. That's not the issue. The issue is that it's clunky and heavy-handed and so blindly obvious as to be insulting to the reader.

Look, JFK has a hole in his head! Look, Uncle Sam is an evil Devil guy! Look, people are eating one another in the streets! Yada yada yada and blah blah blah.


Again, it's got nothing to do with what Ennis is saying or the message he's delivering, it's got everything to do with how he's saying it. And how is "not very well." Clumsy and ham-fisted does not make for good political commentary.

I love Ennis' run on this title, I really do, but Damnation's Flame was a misstep from the word go. It was an adequate, and nothing better than adequate, step away from the overarching narrative Ennis had until this point been telling. Not necessary, and in retrospect not overly enjoyable, either.

An earlier version of this review was originally posted at

Read my regular, everything-and-anything (usually on writing and music) blog right over here.

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