Friday, June 26, 2009

Preacher: Gone to Texas

Preacher Volume One
(Gone to Texas)
Written by: Garth Ennis
Illustrated By: Steve Dillon
Hardcover: 200 pages
Publisher: Vertigo
Language: English
Marchl 1996, $14.99
Genre: Comic/Graphic Novel

At first glance, the Reverend Jesse Custer doesn't look like anyone special - just another small town minister slowly losing his flock and his faith. But he's about to come fact-to-face with proof that God does indeed exist - and that He's one mean son of a bitch.

In one explosive instant, Jessie's lilfe is changed forever - and he aims to find out why. Together with his trigger-happy ex-lover Tulip and a hard-drinking Irish vampire called Cassidy. Reverend Custer begins a journey that will lead him from the heart of Texas to the bitter soul of New York City and beyond in search of answers from the elusive deity. But those answers are going to be hard-won - especially considering what Heaven has sent to stop them.


+++++++++++++

For years a friend of mine has raved about Preacher and despite how much I enjoyed Garth Ennis’ run with Hellblazer I never managed to pick it up until now. Of course I had high expectations considering where people usually put the Preacher series. In fact a lot of people put it in with the ‘you have to read this’ lists. I certainly like the ideas behind it and anything that might have a snarky, irreverent look at religion is kind of a must read for me.

Preacher follows Jesse Custer, who isn’t exactly the kind of preacher you would expect to meet. Not only has he lost his faith, but he also has a gun toting ex girlfriend and has no problem speaking his mind, even if some may find it blasphemous. But Jesse also has a sense of right and wrong. When the divine creature Genesis (the offspring of an angel and a demon who may have the power to rival God himself, if anyone knew where He was) escapes Heaven and possesses Jesse it not only kills Jesse’s entire congregation but destroys his church.

If Jesse had begun to lose his faith before, he loses it even more when through Genesis’ eyes discovers that God has left Heaven and disappeared. He also discovers that he has been given the power of the Word of God which makes his commands irresistible. So along with Tulip, his ex-girlfriend who has her own past and quirks, and Cassidy a 100 year old Irish vampire he decides to go find God and make him answer for his abandonment.

Meanwhile, Heaven is panicking and they send the Saint of Killers, an immortal and ruthless killing machine whose sole order is to reclaim Genesis at any cost.

Things I loved: I like the controversy. I like the irreverent look at organized religion. Its warped. It’s twisted, but I like it. While this disdain for organized religion is nothing new in Garth Ennis’ work, I think it is important to take everything with a little bit of salt. You will probably be offended at some point whether through the mocking approach to Christianity, the violence which can be a bit over the top or the excessive use of profanity. Was I offended at some point? Yeah. But did I care? Nope.

* Steve Dillon’s artwork was great. It worked with the story and complimented it well.

* I like the characters. I want to know more about them and I want to see how Ennis is going to deal with Jesse being extremely powerful. More than that I want to see how these characters will change over time. How will Genesis change Jesse? Will it? What happens when they do find God? Will it matter? I love that Jesse wants to get back with Tulip that some may find his profanity or viewpoints less than Preacher like, but it is very obvious that he has a distinct sense of right and wrong. Take Cassidy for example. Jess is conflicted about the vampire and I am curious to see how that relationship unfolds.

* Sam Mendes is said to be directing a film version of the series which you have to admit could be interesting and yet somehow I think that things will be so toned down it might ruin it. But you have to enjoy the breakneck pace at which it all runs and personally I dig the gore but then again I am a horror movie junkie so this should be no real surprise.

Things I didn't love so much: Arseface. Yep, that was the one part where I not only rolled my eyes, but was asking myself really? Why?

* While it is not so much a thing I disliked, I found myself a little let down. There was so much hype surrounding the series I expected to be immediately smitten and I wasn’t. It wasn’t a bad first outing and it was enough that I want to pick up the next volume, but I wasn’t blown away. It was no V for Vendetta or Sandman and in truth I found Ennis’ Dangerous Habits with Hellblazer more fun. However, I am interested to see where the series goes and how it ends and will be picking up more.

Buy or Borrow: I am up in the air about this one. Will get back to you on the rest of the series.

Part of: The Preacher Series
Gone to Texas (Volume One)
Until the End of the World (Volume Two)
Proud Americans (Volume Three)
Ancient History (Volume Four)
Dixie Fried (Volume Five)
War in the Sun (Volume Six)
Salvation (Volume Seven)
All Hells A Coming (Volume Eight)
Alamo (Volume Nine)

Also Recommended: Hellblazer: Dangerous Habits by Garth Ennis.

3.25 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks

Have your own review? Let me know and I will post it.

1 comment:

wiec? said...

i read the entire series last summer. it has it's ups and downs but trust me stick with it. Arseface is a bit over the top but like all the main characters he has an arc and a pay off. to fully enjoy this i think you have to be an athiest. let's just say i fully enjoyed it. Violence wise it gets a A+. i gets funny gorey points galore.

Saint of Killers seems pretty one dimensional at 1st but ended up being my favorite character. Ennis really takes his time developing the mains and when it comes to fleshing out their backgrounds you really start to feel for them.

glad to hear this is being made into a movie. might work better as a mini series but in the right hands it could awesome. looking forward to hearing yer thoughts on the other volumes.