First the good news. This volume reprints the Rebirth issue that was also published at the end of the previous volume. When I first read that, I kind of breathed a sigh of relief. DC has cut the balls off of John Constantine, realized that they did a bad thing, and have been working on trying to reattach them. The Rebirth issue showed a lot of promise. This volume starts with that issue, and I'm afraid it might be the best issue reprinted here.
This is John Constantine's third relaunch since cancelling his Vertigo book. The New 52 launch was awful. They completely neutered him. Alfred Pennyworth had more of a sharp edge to him than John Constantine did. They really tried to integrate him HARD into the regular DCU. Guess what? I didn't work. That book was eventually cancelled (along with Justice League Dark, which went from being a great book to absolute unreadable garbage in a short span of time) and replaced with a second go round. That book was better, but it still wasn't quite John Constantine. He was still a little too kind, a little too gentle, but heading in the right direction. Maybe the phrase I'm looking for is "user friendly." He was a little too user friendly. He's not supposed to be likable. He's supposed to be a bastard who happens to do good along the way. His heart would be in the right place if he had one. This John had too much heart still. And now we have our third launch. Maybe it's going in the right direction, I don't know. Why? Because this is almost more of a Swamp Thing (and don't get me started on what a walking disaster that is) story than a Hellblazer story. Aaaannnnnndddddd, it's only the first half of the story.
I love John Constantine. I'm eating up the remastered series of Vertigo Hellblazer trades. The last three runs, though, not as much. DC, you can do better. You really can. I don't know why you won't.
The Hellblazer Vol 1: The Poison Truth
Writer: Simon Oliver
Artist: Moritat, Pia Guerra, Jose Marzan Jr