"Royal Blood, Part I: The Players": On New Year's Eve, Mickey Foster offered a man who looked strangely familiar some company for the evening, in exchange for money. In response, that man had sliced open Mickey's throat, and left his mutilated corpse out in the cold air for a drunken young woman

Quote1 I've had enough of this, Marston. Either you tell me what you want me for right now, or I send you straight to hell. What's it to be? Quote2
John Constantine

Hellblazer #52 is an issue of the series Hellblazer (Volume 1) with a cover date of April, 1992.

Appearing in "Royal Blood, Part I: The Players"

Featured Characters:

Supporting Characters:


Other Characters:

  • Andrews
  • Brendan Finn (Mentioned only)
  • Mickey Foster (Appears only as a corpse)




Synopsis for "Royal Blood, Part I: The Players"

On New Year's Eve, Mickey Foster offered a man who looked strangely familiar some company for the evening, in exchange for money. In response, that man had sliced open Mickey's throat, and left his mutilated corpse out in the cold air for a drunken young woman to find. She screamed for a full two minutes before she fainted.

John Constantine has been doing rather well, lately. He wakes beside his lover and best friend Kit Ryan, gets dressed, and heads out into the street, smiling. He's been smiling a lot more lately.

Sir Peter Marston knows who killed Mickey Foster, and he is none too pleased that the man he will have to contact to deal with it is John Constantine. One of the things he likes least about Constantine is how difficult he is to find. After spending all morning driving around Camden looking for him, Marston finally spots John talking with a burly thug type. When he steps out of the car, though, the man he thought was John transforms before his eyes into a drug dealer offering him speed. Moments later, John Constantine appears, demanding to know what Marston wants. As it happens, John was the one who created the illusion, just to mess with his quarry.

Marston trudges through John's volley of insults before admitting that he has come regarding an item of mutual interest. John considers that there could be little of mutual interest between them, and he's in no mood to talk, given that his good mood was spoilt this morning by news of a brutal murder. Marston responds that the murder is the item of mutual interest that he spoke of. Marston passes John his card, and arranges to meet later at four, warning that if they don't do something, there'll be more than just one dead male prostitute on the streets. When he returns to his car, he finds that the car keys have gone missing without explanation.

John had planned to flush the keys down a toilet somewhere, but he allows Kit a chance to offer her input. He explains that he and Brendan Finn had once fleeced Sir Peter out of a few thousand quid, years back, using some compromising Polaroids. He wouldn't mind pulling another on the old man, either.

Kit points out that John has been staying with her for nearly a week, and wonders if he hopes to move in. John is amused by this thought, and wonders if she might like him to. While Kit would be happy to have John Constantine move in with her, his baggage is another matter - and by baggage, she means the ghouls and ghosts that he can't seem to help but attract. John admits that he would like to move in, without the baggage, and Kit agrees to give it a try. However, at the first sign of something going bump in the night, she will not hesitate to kick his arse.

Elsewhere, the man with a demon in his head considers his next victim. This man does not deserve to live, he thinks. The demon cares not for who he kills. The man the demon possesses still has memories. He is a prominent man; a famous man. The demon has memories too, though, and the man can see them too. The demon takes hold, and takes another victim. It has learned how to keep its victims conscious while it strips the flesh from the bones, and it savours each moment of pain.

John attends his meeting with Sir Marston, refusing outright to return his car keys. Marston takes John onto the premises of the Caligula Club - surprisingly unheard of by John. When they enter, John's eyes adjust enough to see several prominent British figures engaging in untoward acts. It is something of a sex dungeon - a club for rich sickos, as John puts it. Marston explains that the more powerful a person is, the more bent his passions. Tension demands release; great tension demands release in some of the more appalling ways.

Marston explains that five years ago, a bright journalist infiltrated the club and carefully photographed everything - and then he was caught. Marston had said to the journalist then that it is better that their perverse energies should be applied in the club than in affairs of state. The journalist had burnt the film himself, before Marston shot him through the head. To illustrate the very depravity of the club, Marston makes John watch as two mangy cats are locked into a box together, and forced to fight to the death. John is naturally disgusted.

John turns on Marston and warns that if he doesn't explain himself immediately, he will send the man to hell with equal immediacy. Begrudgingly, Marston obliges showing John to a room where a major summoning occurred with a prominent figure. The two other guests who accompanied him are dead, on the floor of the room. The prominent man - he appears to have been possessed. John correctly assumes that he's to be the one who hunts down and exorcises the unwanted guest, but he wants to know who he's to hunt. Awkwardly, Marston splutters that the possessed man is a member of the royal family.


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