Hellblazer #70-71: Finest Hour

Bad memories bounce back to bewilder our buddies in Hellblazer #70-71 – while a brokenhearted Constantine battles the Blitz, his beloved Kit barhops in Belfast.


Show Notes

1:20 – Rick Veitch, who later became the regular writer on Swamp Thing, also contributed to the art during Moore’s run. The recolored pages can be found in Absolute Swamp Thing, which drops later this month. It does not receive our endorsement.

6:05 – A line in Hellblazer #68 confirms that John has been on the street “since summer,” so this issue does indeed take place right after the breakup, six months before the series’ “present day.”

6:50 – Brendan Finn appeared in my favorite, Hellblazer #42.

9:19 – The statue they’re discussing is apparently real, and was recent at the time of the comic.

10:56 – The funeral being presided over by a “Father” is another hint that the Ryans are Catholic.

11:11 – “Knock on Wood” is a song by M. K. Jerome and Jack Scholl. It is sung in Casablanca by actor and singer Dooley Wilson in the role of nightclub pianist Sam.

11:44 – The white Toyota Cresta was the prized possession of Great Teacher Onizuka’s boss, Vice Principal Uchiyamada. At least once per story arc, and usually in the course of some unassailably upright purpose, Onizuka somehow caused the demolition of the beloved car.

13:59 – “Funny oul’ world, innit?” is one of John’s common phrases, hence Kit’s annoyance.

15:29 – Tuborg refers to Tuborg pilsner, a Danish brew popular throughout Europe, especially in the early 90s.

16:25 – Changes to the World Cup rules, including increasing the size of the goal and preventing keepers from using their hands to receive in order to improve scoring chances, were appealing to sponsors but opposed by the European soccer federations. Apparently, the American team was not particularly clear on the eventual rules that were decided, leading to the suspension of midfielder John Harkes.

21:46 – In case it bears clarifying, “da” means dad.

28:20 – “The Mountains of Mourne” is an 1896 song by Irish musician Percy French, based on an older folk tune. It tells of an immigrant’s view of the quirks of London.

28:55 – Cassidy learned that there was “no fuckin’ ground floor in Hell” during his misspent years, as we discussed in our Preacher finale.

30:23 – Given the year, we can conclude that Jamie was fighting Hitler’s Luftwaffe as a part of World War II’s Battle of Britain. This issue’s title, “Finest Hour,” refers to Winston Churchill’s famous speech of June 18, 1940, in which he exhorted full resolve in the face of the offensive.

31:16 – “Yellow-nosed bastards” refers to the Messerschmitt Bf 109 fighters of the JG 26 German fighter wing, which had their noses painted bright yellow for identification. One is depicted on the cover of Jagers: Fighter Aces of the Luftwaffe, an apparently fictional historical work that played a significant role in the plot of Preacher.

32:09 – Yet again, Garth Ennis invokes drinking with the lads as everything worth living for.

34:03 – Mr. Banks is the uptight father character from Mary Poppins.

37:48 – This might be the first time we’ve seen that John has really defeated that black depression that’s always lurking behind him, instead of just rising out of it long enough to defeat one villain. That’s part of what makes this such a feel-good issue, alongside the fact that he did it out of a decision to live his life rather than an immediate necessity.

42:11 – Majestic 12, or MJ12, is a real conspiracy theory that also served as the villain for the 2000 role-playing shooter Deus Ex.

42:23 – Tom Bodett is a National Public Radio regular and spokesperson for Motel 6, on whose behalf he has been delivering the tagline, “We’ll leave the light on for you,” for more than 30 years. Sean’s talking about the D&D live-play podcast The Adventure Zone, which he recommends and I do not.