If Ragdoll existed in real life, he probably would look just that creepy.

§ May 5th, 2011 § Filed under batman, superman, swamp thing § 12 Comments

So hey, the final cover by Ardian Syaf and Vicente Cifuentes for Brightest Day Aftermath: The Search for Swamp Thing #1 has been revealed with the previously blacked-out figures now not blacked-out, and they are revealed to be…

…John Constantine and Zatanna! Well, I can see why they blacked out Constantine, since he was the big surprise reveal at the end of Brightest Day #24 (er…SPOILER), but not so sure why Zatanna was kept under wraps. Ah, well, I’m sure they had their reasons.

And in DC’s ongoing quest to part me from my money by forcing me…yes, forcing, at gunpoint…to buy two copies of the same damned thing, here’s the limited retailer incentive variant cover by J.G. Jones for said #1:

Well…okay, that’s pretty good. Kinda prefer this one to the regular cover. But it doesn’t matter because I’m getting both, regardless.

That first cover is fairly amusing, though, with dour ol’ Batman, Superman and Zatanna pulling their best sourpuss faces, with John lightin’ up a smoke right there in front of them. Just the idea of Constantine pulling his irreverent “I’m gonna jerk you guys around and you won’t even realize it” routine on DC’s superfellas (and gals) sounds like fun. Let’s hope it is.

This put me in the mind of other times Constantine kinda sorta met Superman and Batman…he’s met Zatanna plenty of times, of course, since she’s a bit easier to fit into Constantine’s milieu. But to squeeze Batman and Superman together with our favorite Hellblazer, one must look back to the mid-1980s and Crisis on Infinite Earths:

That’s from Swamp Thing #46 (March 1986), and I think this is the only time Batman, Superman and Constantine appear together in the same image ’til that cover up above. I’m sure someone will correct me if I’m wrong.

Of course, they’re not really interacting there at all. They just happen to be in the same room during that scene shown in Crisis on Infinite Earths #5, where several dozen characters are gathered together on the Monitor’s satellite. (Constantine doesn’t seem to actually be in that two-page group shot in Crisis #5, though Swamp Thing is. NOTE: I’m also bad at “Where’s Waldo,” so don’t take my word for it.) However, a couple of issues earlier, Constantine and former Doom Patrol associate Mento (whom Constantine is manipulating toward his own ends) run into a familiar Caped Crusader during the early stages of the Crisis:

I don’t know why I find this funny, but after Batman makes his “well, nice to meet you, but I gots things to do, kids” parting remarks, there’s this great panel of Batman running away:

That shot of Batman putting on his “I’m thinking really hard” face is a good one, too.

UNRELATED except for the fact that this is from one of the Swamp Thing comics I was scanning pics from: in #46 we see all the heroes (plus Swampy and John) called together by Alexander Luthor, the son of the Earth-3 Luthor (and if you don’t know what I’m talking about, ask someone old to explain it to you), and Swamp Thing has this reaction to hearing the name:

Now, I don’t know if this is one of these things I’ve noticed before but it’s been so long since I’ve reread these I’ve forgotten, or that I just picked up on it now, but Swampy’s “premonition” is apparently of his seeming “death” a few months later in #53, in which Lex Luthor (of Earth One, or Post-Crisis Earth, or whatever you want to call it) was involved.

Or possibly the premonition was foreshadowing that, 20 years later in the Infinite Crisis crossover event series, Alexander Luthor would turn into a complete asshole. …Hey, given Alan Moore’s dabbling in the magical realms, I wouldn’t put it past him foreseeing this.

panels from Swamp Thing #44 (January 1986) by Alan Moore, Steve Bissette, Ron Randall and John Totleben; and Swamp Thing #46 (March 1986) by Moore, Bissette and Totleben

12 Responses to “If Ragdoll existed in real life, he probably would look just that creepy.”

  • My favorite bit of Constantine interacting with “regular DCU” peeps is the issue of his own title where he was celebrating his 40th b-day (issue # 63) and he goes outside to take a whizz in the alley, but he hears someone call his name, so he turns around and ends up peeing on the shoes of the Phantom Stranger.

    Then, as the Stranger takes his leave (taking the urination as a sign he’s not wanted) Swampy shows up and gives John a pot plant.

    Great issue.

  • David B says:

    In that cover Batman is looking at Constantine with eyes of hate… and love, then hate. Which is more comforting than the cover above it, where only Batman seems to have a shadow.

  • Alex says:

    “Pretty good”?

    That variant cover is all kinds of awesome. It’s begging to be a full-size poster… and I don’t even buy comic posters. Hell, it could be a poster for the new Batman movie!

  • I seem to recall, at the time, a lot of people being really amused that Constantine addressed Batman as “squire”, in its less reverent usage. I think that added a bit to the character’s mystique and helped make him popular as he turned out to be…

  • Andres says:

    Yeah, why is it Batman is the only one with a shadow?

  • The light-sources in that cover pic are ALL OVER the PLACE.

    Zatanna has highlights on her upper right (our left), Supes is lit from slightly above center, and Bats is lit from the upper left (our right).

    They can’t be lit by Contantine’s lighting of his “Silk Cut”, because he is “below” the point of the illumination, and if that match WAS bright enough to cause those highlights and shadows, his shadow would be placed over them.

    Batman’s shadow shouldn’t be placed where it is, at all, judging by the highlight on his shoulder and cowl.
    Especially, since his body is shaded on the enderside of their surfaces (his abs and such).
    (Unless Batman carries a portable spotlight (Bat-light) that casts him with a perpetual shadow.

    As for the others… maybe Superman could have a shadow, since it MIGHT fall on the wall near batman’s, but Zatanna’s shadow, should either fall the other way, and/or be cast on the shrubbery, not to be clearly seen.

    The whole thing’s a mess.

  • Obviously you’re not aware of DC’s mandate to their colorists to highlight Zatanna’s chest area at all times…

  • Tim O'Neil says:


    But seriously, folks, it’s great to see that the dapper John on the last page of Brightest Day was just an artistic choice and not a new mandate – seeing the rumpled John on that cover just feels a lot more normal.

  • CW says:

    I’m waiting for the anti-smoking zealots to freak out over the fact that Constantine’s lighting up in those cover images.

  • Dean says:

    I love that bit with John, Batman and Mento. “You should get inside, it’s pretty dangerous out here. Oh, you used to be in the Doom Patrol? OK, fine, carry on.” I guess that since Mento has his superhero union card, he’s allowed to take part in the Crisis.

  • Smicha1 says:

    Agreeing about that cover being a mess. Not to mention, has the artist ever actually seen someone light a cigarette? Who stands perfectly straight with their chin up and their arms out like that?

  • Dav-El says:

    I wonder if that whole “John Constantine & Zatanna slept together” thing will come up? That was always a fun bit of character development. Daddy Zatara did not have much use for John. Remember that bit in Swamp Thing#50? Even as he’s getting zapped by some weird demonic energy hoo-ha (whoops! Spoilers), he’s threatening to haunt John’s ass if anything happens to Zatanna. Stuff like that is why it’s good to have John Constantine back in the DCU.