Saturday, August 28, 2004


Written by Garth Ennis and illustrated by Steve Dillon

This is a series of comic books. I read the first collection over a year ago, and I just finished the last one a few weeks ago, so I figure I'll write about the whole thing now.

Preacher is the story of Jesse Custer (Oooh, look at his initials!) who is possessed by a divine entity and gains the Word of God, which gives him the power to command anyone to do anything. Well, almost anyone. He teams up with his ex-girlfriend Tulip and an alcoholic Irish vampire called Cassidy, and goes in search of God to make him explain why there is pain and suffering in the world. Along the way they have lots of crazy adventures, and give the artist lots of opportunities to draw big two page spreads of incredibly gory scenes.

This is one damn cool series. There are lots of original, interesting characters, philosophical musings, and above all lots and lots of violence. However it does drag a bit at times, and it does devote too many pages to violence that could have been better spent on the story. (Needed fewer frozen zombies, in other words.) Still, it gets far more mileage than it should out of a superhero with one of the cheapest superpowers imaginable.

One other thing that bothered me a little was a speech by a certain character at the very end of the series, where he's pretty much describing the author's thoughts on completing the story. It's a trivial complaint and I wouldn't mention it, but I just remembered that Kim Stanley Robinson did something very similar in The Years of Rice and Salt. It's cheesy, it's indulgent, it breaks the readers immersion in the story, and I don't like it.

Other than that, it's a pretty fine series. I find almost all comics have pacing problems (with the exception of most of Alan Moore's work), but I assume that this is just a side effect of it being compiled into a collection so you can read it all at once, rather than reading one issue a month as they are released.

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