As Constantine and his allies try to stop a war, Etrigan is struck by a weapon that seems terrifyingly familiar to the Hellblazer.
WARNING: The following contains spoilers for the Future State: Justice League # 2 story “Propheties, Part 2” by Ram V, Marcio Takara, Marcelo Maiolo, and Rob Leigh, out now.
During the final battle of the Dark Justice League in Future State, John Constantine and the rest of the team are about to be defeated by Merlin when Etrigan rescues them. As the demon pierces through Merlin’s armies, he suddenly stops when a flaming sword pierces him in the chest in Future State: Justice League # 2. Constantine immediately recognizes that it is an angelic sword.
As he is best known for his dealings with demons and other less palatable magical entities, it is noteworthy that the notorious Hellblazer is so familiar with an angel’s weapon. However, this sword dates back to one of the forgotten members of the Justice League, someone Constantine previously encountered at Heaven’s gates.
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The fight with Merlin takes place in the backup story of Future State: Justice League # 2, where the Arthurian wizard has conquered the world and taken all the magic for himself. The Tower of Destiny has collapsed and the few remaining magical heroes in the world unite to stop Merlin, but most have already been defeated. As seen in the previous issue, the angel Zauriel was burned at the stake. While Etrigan is initially reluctant to join the fray, he eventually comes to the aid of his companions. He makes his way through Merlin’s forces, quoting poetry all the time, but when he challenges the wizard, his last word is cut off. An agonizing scream escapes his lips as a sword burning with crimson flame lodges in his chest.
While his occult knowledge would offer Constantine some insights into celestial weaponry, he has personally seen such a weapon before when Zauriel wielded it in battle.
Appearing for the first time in JLA # 6 by Grant Morrison, Howard Porter, and John Dell, Zauriel was originally designed to replace Hawkman as part of the Justice League, as a moratorium was imposed against using Hawkman in any story at the time due to the intricate continuity surrounding the character. . As a divine representative of Heaven, the angel served in the Justice League for a few years before falling back to the bottom of the DC Universe.
Much later, Zauriel appeared in the JM DeMatteis and Mikel Janin story of “Blight” in Always wrong. To defeat the entity known as Blight (a personification of human evil), Phantom Stranger led John Constantine to the Pearl Gates. Here, they were intercepted by Zauriel, who carried the sword with a hip scabbard while blocking their path, as the Strange Ghost was barred from heaven while Constantine’s soul was doomed due to a life of misdeed. Despite this, the angel agreed to join them in fighting Blight, as it was necessary to oppose such evil.
During the battle, Zauriel’s wings were ripped off by the wizard Felix Faust. Later, Constantine was thrown into hell, but at the last moment, the angel (still without wings) rescued him and plunged his sword into the heart of a demon.
Despite all the supernatural horrors Constantine has witnessed since, he seems never to have forgotten the vision of an angel with a flaming sword running to save his soul, or at least what the sword looks like when it pierces a hell spawn in the chest. .
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