Cartoons

Review: Constantine – City of Demons (Ep. 1-5)

Constantine: City of Demons is an American animated web series from executive producers Greg Berlanti and David S. Goyer. Matt Ryan returns to voice John Constantine, a demon hunter and occult detective linking the show to the live-action series Constantine and The CW’s Arrowverse as well as the 2017 animated film Justice League Dark.

For those worrying about the watering down of the character, fear not, our first meeting with John finds him hung over in his London flat surrounded by empty bottles and cigarette butts. He is soon surrounded by miniature trench-cloaked projections of his inner demons who start attacking him until he uses magic to absorb the demons back into his subconscious.

A knock at the door turns out to be John’s old friend Chas Chandler, whom he hasn’t seen in a decade. Chas asks John to help his daughter Trish, who has unexpectedly fallen into a coma, which Chas suspects to be the result of dark magic. John uses magic on Trish and discovers that her aura is tainted. He summons the Nightmare Nurse (aka Asa), to help pinpoint a diagnosis but Asa can’t find Trish’s soul. Trish is briefly able to communicate through Asa before a demonic entity takes over and gives John an address in Los Angeles.

As John and Chas travel to Los Angeles to get Trish’s soul back, Asa and Chas’ wife Renee stay with Trish. Asa magically compels Renee to tell the story of Newcastle that John won’t talk about. Renee reveals that John and Chas had been best friends since they were kids and even formed a band together as young adults. When they found out that their mentor Alex Logue was using his daughter Astra to enact a dark spell below his Newcastle night club, John, having practiced occultism since he was a boy, attempted to save Astra by conjuring a real demon. The demon Nergal killed Alex and his followers, but also slaughtered the club-goers and took Astra with him to Hell. However, Renee doesn’t remember sharing this information with Asa.

John has a dream of the worldwide whispers again and suspects that someone is messing with his mind. Chas drives them to the address and they are greeted at a mansion by an anthropomorphic pig butler. Inside the mansion, John stumbles upon a pool of decaying corpses before the monstrous demon Beroul presents himself. The demon explains that his soul-snatching scheme was just a ploy to enlist John’s services. Beroul reveals that he intends to create his own branch of Hell, but needs John to eliminate his demon competitors…

Verdict: 9/10 Once again DC nails it with their animation and storylines. With John Constantine you have a character who has many risky traits, especially for a cartoon series, but they have pushed the envelope a lot further than I thought they would. Apparently when the DVD/Bluray is released there will be even more additional material, hopefully that will push the envelope even further.

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