Ah, Preacher. It’s a comic to make the censors’ heads explode: profanity (heaps), violence (extra-gory), sex (various flavors), blasphemy (but of course!), and other sins too numerous to mention. As its many fans will attest, Preacher also features intelligent writing, deft characterization, and an intriguing view of Heaven and Hell. The series works because its human characters have an essential sweetness; despite appearances, they all want to do the right thing. The Preacher in question is Jesse Custer, a minister whose faith has been eroded by the petty evil of his flock. His companions on the journey he’s about to begin are Tulip, an ex-girlfriend with a dark past, and Cassidy, a foul-mouthed Irishman with a mysterious aversion to sunlight. Jesse and his unlikely allies are on a mission to find God, who left Heaven on a trip a while back and never returned. How does Jesse know this? He’s just had his belief in a higher power restored in a dramatic way. While God’s AWOL, bickering factions in Heaven have allowed an awesomely powerful being escape. Genesis, the child of forbidden love between an angel and a demon, wants to bond with a human soul. Guess who it chose? Now Jesse’s got various forces of Heaven, Hell, and Earth chasing him. If Jesse ever finds God, God will have some explaining to do!
Gone to Texas introduces a host of interesting characters and subplots. I’m looking forward to reading further volumes; while the first book got my attention, it didn’t have time to develop all its intriguing ideas to their full potential. Like Transmetropolitan, Preacher pushes the boundaries of comics. Both titles appeal to teens and adults, and both will raise eyebrows.
Preacher, vol. 1: Gone to Texas
By Garth Ennis
Art by Steve Dillon
DC Comics/Vertigo, 1996