It’s a flashback to an Ennis moment from Way Back When. With Hellblazer #63, titled “Forty”, Ennis was approaching the 18-month mark on his scripting duties for the series that arguably established him in the popular imagination. By this time, his acclaimed collaboration with artist Steve Dillon was already well underway.
“Forty” was a just-kicking-back kind of standalone issue; hugely important to character development, but one that appeared between the major politics of two storyarcs. As to be expected from the title, this issue marks the fortieth birthday of John Constantine, the titular Hellblazer. And the issue tells the story of the rumpled, disheveled, curmudgeonly way in which Constantine accepts the surprise party hosted by his magickal compatriots (if not quite friends).