Thursday, September 17, 2015

Preacher: Book 1 – Gone to Texas – review

Author: Garth Ennis

Illustrator: Steve Dillon

First published: 1996

contains spoilers

Wow, I’m late to the party with these but better late than never. This collection contains the issues #1 to 7.

Preacher is a Vertigo comic that was gory, blasphemous and – based on the first volume – loads of fun because of that. A TV series of the comic is imminent.

The comic has three primary anti-heroes. Jesse Custer is a bad boy turned preacher who is disheartened by his flock. Having insulted several of them in a bar he finds himself with a full church. Unbeknownst to him, however, an entity called Genesis has escaped Heaven. It melds with him, killing the entire congregation as it does so.

Tulip is a hitwoman on the run from a botched hit when she meets Cassidy, an Irishman who gives her a lift. Their paths cross with Jesse and it transpires that Tulip and Jesse were an item (prior to him becoming a preacher) and he had walked out on her. As the story progresses Cassidy’s habit of sleeping under a tarp during the day is explained when he is injured, rips open a man’s neck and drinks his blood.

There is, however, an immediate connection on a friendship level between Jesse and Cassidy (despite the former calling the latter an abomination). Meanwhile the angels tasked to look after Genesis have released the Saint of Killers to destroy the one Genesis has merged with. Genesis in its turn has given Jesse the power of the Word – controlling people with his voice. Genesis is the result of a taboo coupling between an angel and a demon and, at its birth, God absconded from Heaven to Earth, whereabouts unknown. Jesse decides to find God and remind him of his duties – Tulip and Cassidy coming along for the ride.

We meet some bizarre characters. Arseface is a Nirvana fan who tried to copy Cobain’s suicide and has been left with a face like an arse. An upbeat young man until Jesse kills his morose, racist sheriff father by telling him to go fuck himself – which the sheriff does literally by ripping his own manhood off and using it on himself. Arseface names himself and swears revenge. John Wayne appears occasionally as Jesse’s conscience.

In this volume – on a vampire level – we only get a little bit. Cassidy is a vampire, sunlight burns him, blood heals him and that’s about it. But this is a strange and wonderfully offensive volume that I really rather enjoyed. 7 out of 10.

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