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Hellblazer: Dead Boy's Heart

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After having killed the man who murdered his father, John Constantine was wracked by guilt. He took to drinking and wandered London. Eventually, he bumped into his old friend Errol, who informed him that Mercury and Marj


Synopsis

After having killed the man who murdered his father, John Constantine was wracked by guilt. He took to drinking and wandered London. Eventually, he bumped into his old friend Errol, who informed him that Mercury and Marj were staying nearby.

As John approached their van, Merc began to feel a sense of foreboding. She understood that something was wrong with him. He had been tainted by guilt and self-pity. Marj still loved him, and wished to go to him, but Mercury warned that he would only abuse her love and hurt her. Even so, there was nothing Mercury could do to stop her mother, and so she angrily left the van while her mother took John in and tried to care for him. John behaved as though the only thing that could make him feel better was sex, but Marj resisted. Her resistance did not last long, however. From outside, Mercury tried to ignore the sounds of their desperate lovemaking, and found herself sucked into John's unconscious.[1]

As a boy, John had once been dared to steal nudie magazines from the alcoholic caretaker of a nearby quarry. Though he had been successful, he was discovered, and he hid in some nearby bushes. There, he found a skeleton which he assumed was that of a young boy like him. Embedded in the rib cage was a stone which he fancied was the boy's fossilized heart. After taking it, John felt that the heart was making him do evil things. He resolved to throw it back down into the quarry. When he tossed the stone, it hit the roof of the caretaker's cabin. When the man didn't come out, John assumed that the stone had smashed through the roof and killed him - the stone's final manipulation.[2]

After waking up beside Marj, John went out to look for Mercury, and found her outside. She accuses him of suppressing his emotions, having already gleaned his guilt about the deaths of all of those around him, from his own father just recently to his mother and twin brother at his birth. It was not any one person that John feared most, it was his future - his death. She delved into his psyche and forced him to face his future. There, he was an 80-year old man, deserted by his friends and family. He was thrown out of the home he was staying in, and ended up drowning in a river. Mercury realized that he was drowning in reality as well as in his psyche, and had to call Marj for help. After coming to, John didn't want to hear an explanation as to what Mercury had done to him.[3]

John travelled with Marj and Mercury to East Anglia at Mercury's request. There, they encountered a young vegetarian boy whose father was a violent and abusive butcher. The boy was soon collected by his father and taken to a slaughterhouse where he was forced to watch as his father gutted several pigs.[4] Mercury went to the boy's rescue, but arrived too late to prevent his father from humiliating him. Using her abilities, she played with the butcher's psyche, and showed him what he feared most. He went home, intending to rape his own wife, but was found by her the next morning attempting to make love to a frozen pig carcass in the cold room.[5]

John, Marj, and Mercury rejoined the Pagan Nation with Errol and Zed. There, John realized that there was something in his past that he had repressed. As a baby, he had killed his own twin brother in the womb. That brother was meant to become the magus, the pinnacle of the potential that John had squandered. Determined to suss this out, John took a heavy does of psychedelic mushrooms, and then wandered into a cave below a ruined tower, imagining himself swimming into his mother's womb to face his lost brother.[6]

In a parallel universe, John's brother grew to become a powerful magician. But he was haunted by the guilt of having murdered his twin in the womb. In his attempt to deny his complicity, he was struck by lightning, and nearly died. Seeing this as a sign, the Magus entered the astral plane and encountered his twin. John had been waiting for him there for decades. Eventually, the pair realized that it was not a case of one or the other being the better option. They would be best as one. They attempted to merge, swimming deep down into the darkness together.

In the morning, Zed, Mercury, and Marj discovered that the cave John had entered the night before had collapsed. From the rubble, a set of footprints led to a rock, on which had been carved an epitaph for John Constantine. His trench coat was draped over it. Zed mused that in order to become a real magus, one might have to live and die a thousand times.[7]

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