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Hellblazer: The Family Man

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After returning to London from Scotland and his exploits with the Pagan Nation, John Constantine decided to stay with his friend Jehosaphat "Jerry" O'Flynn. Jerry's status as a legendary adventurer had reached mythical status, and he related to John a tale of


After returning to London from Scotland and his exploits with the Pagan Nation[1], John Constantine decided to stay with his friend Jehosaphat "Jerry" O'Flynn. Jerry's status as a legendary adventurer had reached mythical status, and he related to John a tale of how he had been accosted by Sherlock Holmes and other literary characters, who claimed that with various authors basing their fictional characters on Jerry's life, the line between fact and fiction had blurred to the point where he would need to choose a side - or else.

Even as John was there with him, Jerry began to encounter more and more fictional characters until finally, he was captured and put on trial. It was decided that his punishment would be to be relegated to fiction alone, and he was dragged kicking and screaming out of reality.[2]

Regardless of O'Flynn's disappearance, John decided to remain in his mansion for the time being. While there, he discovered a safe and decided to crack it. Inside, he found quite a bit of money and drugs. This was because Jerry was addicted to trading; trading in information, drugs, money, or anything. While counting the money, John heard the doorbell, and assuming that it was the police, he flushed the drugs down the toilet.

At the door was an elderly gentleman who explained that he had a longstanding appointment with Jerry in which he would be given certain information in exchange for a package, which he passed to John. The information he was owed was in an envelope on the hearth, and John obliged in giving it to him. Before leaving, the man used the washroom, which allowed John the opportunity to peak into the envelope. Inside was a photo of a family, their names, and their address. Confused, John simply returned the envelope to its proper place, and saw his visitor off.

Thinking it might be time to leave, John returned to the safe, where he found a ledger book containing information suggesting that Jerry was engaged in larger deals than just drugs and envelopes. As it happened, a movie producer named Reed Hackett had been contracting Jerry to find him souvenirs from serial killers. However, the deal grew even more sinister when Hackett began demanding souvenirs from an active serial killer - The Family Man. Unable to resist the urge to engage in trade, Jerry sought out the killer, and began trading for souvenirs with the only thing the killer wanted: victims.

Realizing the extent of his friend's depravity, John rushed downstairs to open the package he was given. Inside it was a child's thermos full of blood. John realized too late that he had unwittingly provided The Family Man himself with his next victims, and determined to do something to stop it.[3]

However, instead of doing anything about what he'd learned, John made a stop in the village of Thursdyke, where a nuclear missile facility had boosted the faltering economy. John had been invited by a friend to witness a parade which would occur at 4am. However, within the nearby hills was a facility experimenting with microwave technology. With dreams of greatness behind him, a Professor Horrobin unleashed the microwaves on the parading town, bringing out all of their subconscious desires.[4] John fell victim to the trance as well, until he was saved by his friend. He managed at the last minute to prevent a group of protesters from activating the bombs at the missile base, but he was too late to prevent the local preacher from flying a bomber over Thursdyke, and blowing the whole town up.[5]

Later, John decided to attend a party in honour of his departed friend Ray Monde, where he encountered a lesbian woman who attempted to use him to conceive a child. After leaving in disgust, John found a little girl whose mother had apparently been killed by something supernatural. John sent the girl to stay with the lesbian woman, and then discovered that the man who had killed the mother was actually the ghost of a homeless man, who had only been seeking someone to care about him. John gave the ghost a hug, allowing it to pass on, finally.[6]

Having left the problem of the Family Man to sit in the back of his mind for months, John begins having guilt-fuelled dreams of the murdered family whose address he himself had given to their murderer. Finally, he decides that it is time to act.

Similarly, the Family Man - a retired police officer named Samuel Morris - had been having dreams that reminded him that John Constantine was a loose end. The man had seen his face, and known what he was. He had an old friend from the police force do some checking, and he determined that John's father Thomas was living in Liverpool.

In the meantime, John tracked down Reed Hackett and pretended to be the Family Man in order to get access to the memorabilia that Hackett had collected. Though he found no information about how to stop the killer, he reported Hackett to the police, and then snuck into a press photo of the arrest, thereby notifying the Family Man that he was on the trail. However, a news report showing that the Family Man had killed again, near John's neighbourhood revealed that the killer was already aware of him, and out for blood.[7]

While John stayed at the upstairs apartment to his friend Chas' workplace, Morris checked around with local bookies for John's last location. John used Chas' connections to purchase a gun, but while he was out, Morris found and interrogated Chas, and beat him up. John returned to find his friend in bandages, and tried to warn him off of helping him any further.

Not long after, John received a call from his sister Cheryl, informing him that their father had been murdered. Speechless, John realized that the Family Man had killed Thomas Constantine in order to get to him. John broke down for a moment before making one last directive for Chas: to hook him up with his cousin Nora - a prostitute.

That night, John and Chas pretended to have a falling out, and then John went to spend the night with Nora. After Morris followed John to Nora's place, Chas followed him back to his own hotel, and warned John about when the killer planned to wake up and come for him.[8]

After seeing to Nora's payment, John snuck out of her flat early, and waited from a nearby hillock to watch the Family Man arrive. Even as he had a clear shot on the man who murdered his father, John couldn't bring himself to shoot him down in cold blood, and decided to go back into the flat, and come out the front, as the killer would expect from him.

John took a roundabout way through a construction site, on his way to Victoria Station, hoping to lure the killer to his death on the way. Morris became wise to John's plan, though, and disappeared, leaving John vulnerable. Without any kind of edge on his prey, John decided to stick close to a group of Liverpudlian football fans, and ride the bus to his home town for his father's funeral.

However, the Family Man had disguised himself, and also boarded the bus. When the bus' tire got a flat, Morris snuck up on John while he was pissing on the side of the road, and attacked him. John managed to run far enough away that they were out of sight, and aimed his revolver at the killer. Morris mocked his hesitancy, and in frustration, John pulled the trigger. The bullet only grazed the man's head, but the killer's life began to flash before his eyes. John wanted to know why Morris would kill all of those families, but the man told him that he would have to kill him to find out. Morris took the gun in John's hands and forced him to pull the trigger, killing himself. Horrified by what he had been party to, John vomited.[9]

Later, John was afraid to attend his own father's funeral, and instead stood outside. He decided to watch his father's body being cremated, but when the body's muscles dried and tightened in the flames, the corpse shot up in his coffin, and scared the wits out of John.

Meanwhile, John's niece Gemma had begun seeing her grandfather's ghost, and it was becoming a problem. She was especially upset that his funeral hadn't made the ghost's persistence wane. When she asked her uncle about it, he realized that the reason Thomas Constantine could not rest was because of something foolish he had done as a boy.

Thomas had burned his son's occult books, and as revenge, John had cast a spell that would drain his father of his life by tethering his soul to that of a decaying cat's corpse. When John had realized that his father would eventually die as a result, he placed the cat's corpse in formaldehyde. This effectively stopped his father's rapid deterioration, but it failed to reverse the process. In fact, the cat's continued preservation meant that Thomas' soul was unable to pass on. So, John dug up the cat's corpse once more, and set it ablaze on top of his mother's plot. In this way, John and Gemma were able to say goodbye to him at last.[10]


Paraphernalia Appearing

Items: None known.
Vehicles: None known.
Weapons: None known.


  • Three guest issues broke up the action of the story at the time of publication, with a two-part story by Grant Morrison in issues #25-26, and a standalone story by Neil Gaiman in issue #27. These were explained in later issues as a three month period where John did nothing about what he learned in issue #24.
  • The collected edition of this arc includes the two unrelated issues #32-33.


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