The CW Seed animated series has been anticipated by fans for quite some time, with fans eager to see how it continued on the events of NBC's short-lived Constantine series. But now that the first five episodes have been released, it's clear that things are being taken in a wholly new direction.
In a way, City of Demons ends up becoming a totally different take on the world established around Matt Ryan's Constantine, bringing in parts of John's comic history in a context Constantine viewers might not recognize. And to an extent, some fans might've seen this coming, seeing as City of Demons, as well as the Constantine episode "Quid Pro Quo", are both different takes on the All His Engines graphic novel.
While it sounds like the show exists outside of the main Arrowverse/Constantine continuity, there still are plenty of major similarities and differences between the two adaptations.
Major spoilers for Constantine: City of Demons beyond this point!
From the get-go, it's pretty clear that City of Demons does not fit right into the events of the NBC series, or of most of Ryan's other live-action appearances.
While some had assumed that the series would be a straight follow-up of Constantine -- albeit with a slight time jump of some sort -- that doesn't appear to be the case. Midway through City of Demons, a newspaper headline reveals that the events are taking place in October 2018, making the show not only years beyond Constantine, but months ahead of where the Arrowverse timeline currently is. (And, presumably, when Constantine would already be on the Waverider full-time.)
There also doesn't appear to be any addressing of John's past adventures, either with his cohorts on the NBC series or with the Legends of Tomorrow. At the start of this series, John appears to be pretty alone, working by himself before being approached by the Chandlers.
City of Demons also provides a completely different iteration of one of Constantine's frequent cohorts, Chas Chandler.
In the NBC series, Chas (Charles Halford) is an American taxi driver and old friend of John's, who has followed John on his various excursions around the country. Chas also possesses supernatural healing abilities (bestowed on him by John) which essentially allow him to have a finite number of extra lives. Chas also has an ex-wife, Renee, and a daughter named Geraldine, the latter of whom we meet near the end of Season One when she falls into a coma during "Quid Pro Quo".
In City of Demons, Chas (Damian O'Hare) is presented in a way that's somewhat more in tune with his comic book roots, as he is a British taxi driver and childhood friend of John's. As the pair mention in conversation with each other, Chas and John haven't seen each other in 10 years, since John had a rather unfortunate incident at Chas and Renee's wedding. The pair have a daughter named Trish, whose supernatural illness essentially kick-starts the events of City of Demons.
Another new element introduced into City of Demons is the presence of Asa (Laura Bailey), also known as Nightmare Nurse.
Asa is introduced as a reluctant ally of John's, who ultimately ends up helping guard Trish. But in a way, there's no frame of reference to base her involvement off of, seeing as she didn't appear in the NBC series or in the All His Engines graphic novel. If anything, her arrival mirrors her first comic appearance, which saw her helping the Justice League Dark keep Phantom Stranger alive, pretty perfectly, with certain lines even being said verbatim.
In a way, this adds sort of a fun unpredictability to City of Demons, as there's no telling what role Asa will have going forward. And we have to admit, we'd love to see her come to live-action in some capacity.
Throughout the first five episodes, Trish's coma triggers John into having a memory of a young girl falling into a hellish portal. As it turns out, this young girl is none other than Astra Logue.
If you kept up with the NBC series, or at least paid attention to his Legends of Tomorrow appearances, you're familiar with Astra in some way. And for the most part, the live-action continuity of Astra's death has been fairly consistent, with Bailey Tippen even reprising her role to voice Astra in this week's Legends.
But City of Demons' Astra doesn't share the same appearance, instead being presented as a young white girl. Again, if anything, this further argues that City of Demons exists as its own entity from Ryan's live-action appearances as Constantine.
Another thing that could argue towards City of Demons being its own separate entity is exactly how the Newcastle incident -- when John accidentally damned Astra to hell -- plays out.
In the comics and NBC series, Constantine tries to save Astra with a whole ensemble of supporting characters, including Gary Lester, Sister Anne-Marie, and the like. The group of magicians try and fail to save her from her father's sacrifices, accidentally damning her to hell in the process.
In City of Demons, a similar thing happens, but with a much smaller group. In the animated series, it's just John and Chas stumbling across Astra being abused, and John attempting to save her through magic while Chas protects him.
One thing that the NBC series and City of Demons seem to share is the presentation of Nergal, the demon who ends up dragging Astra to hell.
In NBC's Constantine, Nergal was represented as a sort of towering demon with giant horns, who was only briefly shown in dark silhouette.
In City of Demons, Nergal is sort of a combination of his TV and comic appearances, still appearing as a giant demon with horns, and now with grey-blue skin -- and a much deadlier sensibility.
And finally, both City of Demons and Constantine's "Quid Pro Quo" have drastically different foes for John to fight.
In "Quid Pro Quo", Constantine and company ultimately discover that the comas are being caused by Felix Faust (Mark Margolis), a pretty notable Justice League foe.
In City of Demons, things fall much more in line with the All His Engines graphic novel, with a demon named Beroul ultimately being behind them. This leads John and Chas to Beroul's mansion in Los Angeles, where Beroul is forming his own personal version of hell, and blackmails John into working for him.
Whether or not future episodes of City of Demons will continue that story, or take things in a whole new direction, is yet to be seen.7comments
The first five episodes of Constantine: City of Demons are now available on CW Seed.