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Two episodes in, and it’s nearly impossible to tell where NBC’s Constantine fits in with comic book fans and casual TV viewers, with ratings that are neither strong nor dismal. Perhaps Hellblazer readers will make a point to tune in for Friday night’s episode “The Devil’s Vinyl,” as it will be the first small screen appearance of the immortal badass Papa Midnite. We now know what he looks like, thanks to the first look images from NBC, and he's damned near perfect.
While it may look like the formidable Papa Midnite is alone in the image above, he’s actually got some company in John Constantine. Admittedly, Constantine probably doesn’t want to be there, but he’s kind of unconscious, so we can’t be too sure.
Relative newcomer Michael James Shaw has taken on the role of the voodoo practicing mob boss, and he’s pretty killer for the role. He’s got a face that could cut a rock in two and a sneer that could melt both halves. Papa Midnite has always been a fashionable guy, so it’s awesome that his jacket is so incredibly flashy here. (I think I found next year’s Halloween costume.) I liked Djimon Hounsou’s take on the character for Francis Lawrence’s 2005 film, but it wouldn’t take much from Shaw to get me to forget that movie entirely.
And you might not think an undying voodoo crime boss would need physical weapons to get shit done, but that doesn’t make it any less intimidating.
The episode synopsis doesn’t say much about how Papa Midnite will enter the story, as it just states Constantine will come “face to face with a new powerful adversary,” so I guess this will be their first meet up. In the comics, the two characters were mostly foes, although they offered each other assistance on the occasions when their interests overlapped. I’m excited to see Constantine continue bringing the comic universe in to counter the demon-of-the-week procedural aspects and to give the series a stronger footing.
The rest of the episode sees Constantine and new sidekick Zed getting into a troublesome situation while trying to save a woman from demonic forces, and the “job” brings Constantine up against some of his own darkness. He’s got a lot of darkness going on in his occultish life, so I wouldn’t be surprised if that’s part of every week’s episode synopsis.
Catch Constantine every Friday on NBC. Let’s get those ratings up to the sky, where Harold Perrineau’s angel Manny can bump into them on his way down to Earth.