Review by: daccampo

Size: pages
Price: 19.99

2009 has been a great year for graphic novels. Over the past month, I’ve read The Nobody and Parker: The Hunter, and it really feels like the “novel” aspect of the term is finally coming into its own.

The Vertigo branch of DC Comics has always been an innovator, but they tend to move slowly and deliberately. Well, they’ve made their move and this week we saw the release of two very handsomely packaged black-and-white hardcover graphic novels.

I love the design. Bold, visually striking, and even the details are fun. “A Graphic Mystery,” states the cover. And with Dark Entries, we are also told it’s “a John Constantine novel.” I love that. This is a mystery novel. This is a Constantine novel. That tells you everything. This is an iconic character suited for many mystery novels. And this one is complete on its own.

So, that’s the package. How about the content?

As mentioned, this is a stand-alone occult mystery. We are quickly introduced to John Constantine, and we learn all we really need from a conversation between John and a TV producer. John’s an occult detective. It’s not a very lucrative calling. The TV producer has money and need of John’s specialized services. The plot is a-go.

I won’t spoil the plot, but I will say this: the story is a haunted house plot that centers around a reality TV show. And author Ian Rankin delivers the goods. This is a real page turner. I will admit that this type of modern social commentary is NOT my favorite kind of Constantine story — but that’s just a preference. Rankin executes on what he sets up, and I credit him for that.

As far as I know, this is Rankin’s first comics work. He’s a best-selling author with an armload of books to his name, but comics are often the great equalizer. There’s no guarantee he’s going to be any better than an unknown writer with a passion for the medium. However, aside from a few small storytelling hiccups, Rankin does a great job his first time out. He doesn’t overwrite. He lets the action and dialogue tell the story, and it’s usually pretty clear.

The solid scripting is ably abetted by artist Werther Dell’Edera, whose lines are simple and expressive. It’s not the most detailed art, and there are a few spots where the linework seemed a little too sketchy or simplistic — but I never found myself wondering who was who and what he or she was doing.

For the story and the art, I have to give a pair of 4’s. They were very good. Not the best thing ever and not my favorite Constantine story, but very good.

However,  as an overall review of the package, the concept, the art and story? I really want to add an extra half-star and give Vertigo credit for taking this to the next level. I hope this series of novels continues. And I hope we get another “John Constantine novel” out of it.

Story: 4 - Very Good
Art: 4 - Very Good


  1. Oh, I totally missed that this had come out.  Cool!  I’ll be on the lookout for it.



  2. I  think you’ve pretty much summed up my thoughts too.  It was cool.  Not mind blowing.  Not the greatest thing I’ve ever read, but it was cool.. and enjoyable.  I will be buying more of these.   

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