Hellblazer Presents: Chas – The Knowledge #3

Hellblazer Presents: Chas – The Knowledge #3 (of 5) (Vertigo – Oliver / Sudzuka)
Those who forget history…Well, let’s just say that some parts of the past are better left buried. London is about to learn that lesson the hard way – but John Constantine has picked a bad time to go the beach. And the one man who could unlock the mysteries of “The Knowledge,” Francis “Chas” Chandler, is having enough trouble solving the puzzle of his own middle-aged life.

“Cab driver Francis “Chas” Chandler’s greatest moments have come tagging along with John Constantine — as a chauffeur. His home life is nothing special, and his beloved London is becoming a soulless metropolis. In middle age, Chas is stuck in a rut.

But Chas is a master of “The Knowledge,” the elaborate system of routes and landmarks which every London cabbie must memorize. Until now, The Knowledge has been just a tool for Chas. But now, he’s about to discover a more sinister significance of The Knowledge.

Hellblazer is hit and miss really, depending on the story arc’s writer and artist, and this arc is a hit. I wanted to like Simon Spurrier’s ‘Gutsville’, ‘Silver Surfer: In They Name and ‘Wolverine: Dangerous Game, they were cool ideas, but in the end the characters failed to engaged me. “Chas” is the complete and bloody opposite. “Chas” started out a little gimmicky with the reliance on the “Knowledge”, and I was a bit worried, but it quickly outgrew that crutch. Everything is lookin’ good in London! Even the most minor of characters in this book are engaging. The story moves along at a good pace, but doesn’t belch out it’s plot points like a grocery list. It is evenly paced, expands outward in an ever intriguing circle. New subplots are consistent with the story so far and inserted seamlessly. As with any good book each revealed secret only adds to more intrigue. Each scene is well crafted and naturalistic. Nothing seems forced or contrived or driven by plot necessity. It is a wholly satisfying story that exceeds the expectations you have when you read it.

Goran Sudzuka’s art is standard Vertigo style. Very naturalistic, there’s nothing particularly flashy or exaggerated about it, but it is very precise and meticulous. Very classic newspaper strip, understated style, and so damn competent. His visual storytelling is flawless. It doesn’t interfere or clutter the story. The action flows easily from one panel to the next, the characters distinct, making the story easy to follow.

Overall this book has no flaws. I give it an “A”, depending on the ending it could hit an A+. If you can’t find the issues, look for it in a trade soon, it’s worth every penny.

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Updated: September 28, 2008 — 10:26 am

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