Hellblazer #280
HB280 cover
Story title(s)
'Phantom Pains, part four: Gemma's Story'
Trish Mulvihill
Sal Cipriano
Shelly Bond (editor), Gregory Lockard (asst. editor)
Cover date
August 2011
Collected in
Previous issue

John Constantine: Hellblazer #280 (August 2011) continues the 'Phantom Pains' storyline. While John races to save Gemma from the demon she's summoned, Gemma muses on the changes she's been through.

Solicitation textEdit

When John Constantine gets a call from his niece Gemma telling him she's summoned a demon, he hurries to her aid. But Gemma is nursing a grudge against her uncle, believing him responsible for an assault. The truth is, Gemma Masters has always felt like a Constantine – and now she plans to kill off that Constantine part of her for good.

Plot summaryEdit

The issue opens in media res with Constantine trapped in a warehouse with the demon that Gemma has summoned, while Gemma slopes away into the night, lighting a cigarette. As she does so, she thinks about how she spent most of her life trying to be 'Gemma Constantine', not 'Gemma Masters', and how she's finally found a way to cut the Constantine part of herself away for good.

We then flash back to earlier that evening: Gemma calls John, scared out of her wits by the demon she'd summoned. As he gets up to rescue her, Epiphany mentions that Gemma kissed her earlier. John recalls that Gemma stole his coat, too, and - still unaware of what The Demon Constantine did - thinks that Gemma is reacting extremely oddly to his marriage.

Gemma thinks back to when she was a little girl, how John would reassure her when she had nightmares, and wonders whether he wanted to rape her even back then. She winces, thinking how her entire past has now been 'poisoned'. She's woken from her thoughts by the demon, which is upset that John still hasn't arrived. The demon threatens to rip out her heart, or bite her flesh to make them blood sisters, but Gemma - heeding John's advice not to make any deals - slaps the demon down and says that she is in charge. Gemma says that she wants her uncle dead, but the demon detects a degree of uncertainty in her voice.

HB280 attack

Gemma and her trusty brick

She thinks again about the time before the wedding invitation arrived; how she'd got into a relationship with a nice, uncomplicated boyfriend and had put all of her time wanting to be a Constantine behind her. Then she remembers The Demon Constantine raping her after the ceremony, and thinks about how the man who used to save her from monsters became a monster himself. After the attack she walked the streets in shock, eventually hallucinating that a passer-by was John. She hit him in the face with a brick and fled.

Just at that moment, John arrives. He enters the warehouse, reassuring Gemma that she's safe, and asks why she got back into magic. Gemma approaches him with a brick held behind her back, angrily demanding to know why he's acting like he hasn't done anything wrong. John still thinks she's talking about him getting married, and tells her to calm down. She goes into a rage and tries to bean him with the brick, but he manages to catch her hand before she can hit him. And just at that moment, the demon pounces.

John tries to throw up a barrier but is swatted down quickly. As the demon bears down on him, she heads out to the elevator. She thinks about how she tried to replace her own father with John; how she tried to become Gemma Constantine, and wonders whether she's now finally become Gemma Masters.

Continued in Hellblazer issue 281.



  • The stuffed toy by Gemma's pillow is a Moomin, from the Finnish comic and TV series of the same name. The TV series of the Moomins was shown in the UK in the late 1980s and early 1990s - at about the right time for Gemma to have seen them as a child.

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