Inside, the first few pages of Ray Fawkes and Jeff Lemire's script try to reassure us that this is indeed the same character created by Alan Moore, but now living in New York rather than London or Liverpool. He visits seedy haunts and tries to help a friend in trouble of the mystical kind.
Then you get to page five, and an honest-to-goodness superhero-style mission statement ...
Dearie Lord! Soon he's having a magical tussle with a cheerfully chesty femme fatale named Sargon the Sorceress, a spin-off from DC's Golden Age hero turned Bronze Age villain. And by the end of the issue Constantine has sacrificed his pal in a way far more premeditated than anything I recall the Vertigo version doing.
The writing's not bad for what it is - a DC New 52 superhero comic by any other name. The best line reads: 'Magic is costly. You take what you didn't earn, but you pay for it.' Actually, it's not so much the best line as the only standout line - the rest of the dialogue and narration serve the story, but lack style, insight and mood.
The visuals of Renato Guedes are as splashy as the script, not unattractive but pretty generic 2013 DC, with none of the subtlety I associate with a John Constantine tale. And why does our hero's hair look like a moulded plastic wig?
There's not much more to say - a multi-part storyline kicks off and I'm jumping off. The John Constantine here has none of the sly wit, the likeability of the 'real' guy. Happily, there are 300 issues of Hellblazer to remind me who John is, I shall read them. I suggest someone in the land of the New 52 does the same.