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Hellblazer issue 186

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Hellblazer #186
HB186
Story title(s)
'Third Worlds, part 3: The Pit'
Script
Colours
Lee Loughridge
Letters
Clem Robins
Editor
Will Dennis (editor), Zachary Rau (asst. editor)
Cover date
September 2003
Collected in
Previous issue

John Constantine: Hellblazer #186 (September 2003) Solicitation Text : "The Third Worlds" trilogy reaches its climax in "The Pit," with John and Angie traveling to Tasmania to nail down the details of the shadow dog's last appearance on Earth. But when John becomes trapped in the nightmares of the dead, an ancient warrior queen rises with a deadly agenda of her own and Angie is left alone to pick up the pieces.

Plot summaryEdit

Two hundred years ago, Tasmania. Aboriginal prisoners are herded at gunpoint into a deep pit lined with crude stakes by British troops. Man, woman and child alike huddle together in the cramped confines of the hole as the British fire indiscriminately down into their ranks.

Port Adams, Tasmania, now. John Constantine (sporting a bandage on his arm following recent events in Iran ) and Angie Spatchcock sit amongst the decaying ruins of an old prison camp. Constantine gives an agitated Angie a small history lesson on the area, explaining how it was used as a concentration camp back in 1833. when the powers that be decided to wipe out the Aboriginal natives. Acting on the information given to him by the Swamp Thing, John has travelled half way across the world to talk to a Tasmanian about the Shadow Dog. An impossible feat given that the last true Tasmanian died over two hundred years ago. Constantine looks to the local fauna, and some dodgy looking mushrooms in particular, to help him embark on a Dream Walk. An unimpressed Spatchcock sits by a small camp fire and watches on as John consumes the mushrooms and lapses into a trance...

....only to be rudely awakened by an enraged British Corporal who's not happy with having found Private Constantine asleep at his post. A disorientated John realises that he's wandered into the long forgotten dreams of the British soldiers who used to serve at Port Adams. Constantine approaches the stockade he's supposed to be guarding, a wire ringed area sparsely populated by the last of the surviving Tasmanians. When John asks them about the Shadow Dog, they turn to face him, staring him down with hollow white eye sockets.

Angie suffers her own rude interruption when an Aboriginal woman wearing the jacket of a British Corporal steps from the flames of the now roaring fire in front of her. Flanked by spear wielding men, and armed with a rifle herself, the warrior woman tells Spatchcock to share stories with her.

Constantine comes to terms with the fact that he's made a terrible mistake - that the last place the spirits of the dead Tasmanians would want to hang about in is the spiritual incarnation of the camp in which he now stands. John confronts a soldier by the name of Maine, taunting him with the fact that the people he thinks he's guarding are in fact ghosts and not there at all. Angered by John's words, the soldier jumps the Englishman.

The warrior woman tells Angie a story. She speaks to Spatchcock of how the settlers came and murdered her people for the slightest of perceived indiscretions, of how the native Tasmanians were killed by Smallpox infected blankets given to them by the settlers. Finally she tells of how one man murdered her husband so that he could have her for his own and how she killed that man before leading her people in war against those who sought to wipe them out. Her tale told, she demands the same from Angie.

Attracted by Maine's shouting, the rest of the soldiers arrive on the scene of his fight with John. The assembled men are shocked to find the stockade now empty and the corporal accuses Constantine of having helped the Aborigines to escape. John tries to force them to accept the truth - that they're dead men trapped in their own dreams but they refuse to believe him.

Faced with no real choice, Angie tells a little story of her own, the story of her brother Jason's life. She starts with the close bond the pair shared as children before detailing Jason's gradual descent into mental illness and the toll this took on the Spatchcock family. When confronted by two policemen while trespassing on an old closed railway track, Jason lashed out, earning himself a swift kicking and eighteen months in prison for assault. Jason was unable to deal with life in prison and tried to take his life on several occasions before totally breaking down, convinced that the voice of Satan was coming from the prison's showerheads. It was then that Angie knew that her brother was a schizophrenic but the prison doctors were unwilling to acknowledge this as doing so would give Jason grounds for appeal. In tears, Angie grabs the warrior woman's gun and pulls it to her chest.

Unmoved by Constantine's words, the British soldiers toss him into the stake-lined pit. Time comes to a stop as the men fire their rifles, their led bullets hanging dead in the air. The familiar figure of the Aboriginal woman in the Corporal's jacket comes into view behind the frozen soldiers and offers a hand to John, helping him out of the pit. The woman agrees to tell Constantine all she knows about Kua I'ipa, the Shadow Dog before leading him back to this mortal form.

Back in the land of the living, John and Angie take their relationship to a more physical level.

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