Comic Review: Preacher: Book Six

Published: 1999-2000
Written by: Garth Ennis
Art by: Steve Dillon, Glenn Fabry (covers)

Vertigo Comics, 377 Pages

Review:

Well, here we are… the end of the road.

And man, what an end this was.

I was half expected the series to end with a whimper because everything I truly love never seems to know how to properly end itself. But Garth Ennis penned a worthy story that channels back to a lot of what he built this series off of and gives us a pretty satisfactory conclusion to not just the series but to all the plot threads involving the key characters.

Having also just finished the television series, I can say that the comic is, by far, the superior version of the story with the better ending for all parties involved.

This moved by at a brisk pace, pushed the envelope as it always does but it gave us a real slice of humanity amongst all the rubble and edgy boi ’90s shit.

I didn’t really know how much I loved these characters until their stories concluded.

It’s really hard to talk more about it other than my actual feelings because to delve into the plot, at this point, would kind of spoil the whole thing.

Frankly, just read this series if you haven’t. It’s one of the best long running series ever created for the comic book medium.

Rating: 10/10
Pairs well with: the other Preacher stuff, as well as ’90s Spawn and Garth Ennis’ run on Shadowman.

Comic Review: Preacher: Book Five

Published: 1998-1999
Written by: Garth Ennis
Art by: Steve Dillon, Glenn Fabry (covers)

Vertigo Comics, 368 Pages

Review:

At first glance, Preacher‘s fifth volume may seem like filler. The reason being is that it diverts from the main storyline for almost its entirety and only comes back around to the primary plot at the very end.

In this chapter, Jesse Custer is basically on his own after somehow surviving death, a confrontation with God and having his heart broken by seeing the love of his life and his best friend sharing some romantic gestures.

Very late in this book we do catch up with Tulip and see her leave Cassidy behind, as months after what she believes to be the loss of her love has left her broken.

The first two-thirds or so of this follow Jesse as he becomes the sheriff of a small town, goes to war with new villain Odin Quincannon, a character I didn’t know was in the comics and thought was created just for the first season of the Preacher television show.

Jesse must free the town from the tyranny of the supremely fucked up Quincannon, as well as his Nazi lawyer that has the hots for him. During this plot thread, Jesse also discovers that his mother is still alive and they are able to reunite and find some peace with the loss they both suffered from each other’s absence.

In the last third of this volume, we catch up with Tulip and see how shitty her life with Cassidy has become. Mostly, we get her origin story told over a few issues, which added so much context to her character and her harsh life.

Honestly, if I knew what the gist of this book was beforehand, I might have been apprehensive, as the main story was rocking along at a great pace. However, this book gave us so much more character development and context that it only makes the series stronger and has thus, built up my enthusiasm for the sixth and final book.

Rating: 9.5/10
Pairs well with: the other Preacher stuff, as well as ’90s Spawn and Garth Ennis’ run on Shadowman.

Comic Review: Preacher: Book Four

Published: 1998
Written by: Garth Ennis
Art by: Steve Dillon, Glenn Fabry (covers)

Vertigo Comics, 365 Pages

Review:

Man, this series hit its stride from the get go but it hasn’t lost it and it actually comes even harder in this book.

Where the last collection was sort of the start of the second act of the entire series and didn’t have as much of an impact as the two volumes before it, this book really puts things back into a roaring motion with a pretty immediate bang.

The first issue in this collection is actually the origin story of Herr Starr. It lets you understand the villain more intimately, as well as his motivations and his hunger for power.

After that, this gets right back to the main story where the added context of Starr’s backstory really gives this string of issues a lot more depth.

This book is action heavy and a lot happens. This changes the game quite a bit, shuffles the deck and puts our heroes into positions they haven’t found themselves in yet. This is just great storytelling that feels like it is leading to something big. It’s as if Garth Ennis had a vision when he started and he’s fulfilling what that vision was.

Now I’m not sure how carefully planned this series was from its beginning but Ennis has created a rich, lived in world that only seems to get better. Most comic book series that run for a long time lose their momentum and the story gets lost.

Preacher is damn near perfection, which is pretty incredible considering that after this chapter in the saga, you’re more than forty issues into the story.

Rating: 9.75/10
Pairs well with: the other Preacher stuff, as well as ’90s Spawn and Garth Ennis’ run on Shadowman.

Comic Review: Preacher: Book Three

Published: 1996-1998
Written by: Garth Ennis
Art by: Steve Dillon, Glenn Fabry (covers)

Vertigo Comics, 349 Pages

Review:

The Preacher series reaches its halfway point with this volume and what’s great about it is that it is still rolling strong. This collection is a bit different than the first two, however, as it doesn’t just collect issues of the regular Preacher series but it also includes the Saint of Killers miniseries and the Cassidy starring one-shot. Both of these side stories add more context and some extra backstory to these characters.

Overall, this is still a fantastic chapter in Garth Ennis’ epic tale. It doesn’t flow as nicely as the first two volumes, as the inclusion of the other two stories gives it a somewhat disjointed feel but these stories felt necessary to the larger tale and I can’t really think of a better way to include them.

Once the main story gets going again, it picks up right where it left off. Some things come back into play that needed to be followed up on earlier in the series. For instance, Arseface returns for revenge but his story takes a pretty interesting turn.

While I love the version of Arseface that we’ve gotten with the television show, I like how the source material is so different and even if he’s not a main character, his material here is fun to read, I can see why they changed him for the show and gave him a bigger role in the scheme of things but I probably prefer this version of the character, as his arc works better and he seems more fleshed out, even though the comic used him less.

This is the first half of the middle act. So nothing huge happens but it moves forward at a good pace and drops some new things into the narrative to help build and enrich the plot.

In the end, this is the weakest of the first three collections but it’s still stellar and it just makes me want to keep on reading.

Rating: 9/10
Pairs well with: the other Preacher stuff, as well as ’90s Spawn and Garth Ennis’ run on Shadowman.

Comic Review: Preacher: Book Two

Published: 1996-1997
Written by: Garth Ennis
Art by: Steve Dillon, Glenn Fabry (covers)

Vertigo Comics, 369 Pages

Review:

A big chunk of this book in the Preacher series is the Crusaders story arc, which I already reviewed here. It takes up six issues of the fourteen collected in this volume but I wanted to also review this book as a whole body of work, as I am reading through Preacher in its entirety and in order.

Man, I fucking loved this book in the series and it would actually have been perfect, except for three of the issues that served as flashback/origin stories for Jesse’s dad and Cassidy. Now those stories are important but they kind of slowed things down a bit.

I guess reading this from month to month, the backstory issues were fine but it kind of gets in the way of the larger, more energetic story for the main characters. And I think that the main plot threads in this were just so damn good that even though the origin tales added context and depth, they just had a negative effect on the overall momentum.

This book is pretty important to the larger Preacher mythos, as this is where we meet supervillain Herr Starr, as well as learn all about The Grail and what their purpose is. For those that watch the television show, the events here sort of line up with the end of season three and the start of season four.

But the comic book and the TV show are very different. While they follow similar threads and have similar themes, the comic is way more over the top and intense than the show. In fact, until really reading this from the beginning, I guess I didn’t understand the depths that the comic would go, even for ’90s edgy boi shit.

While the first installment to the series was damn good, this one is close to perfect for what this story is and for Ennis’ style as a writer. I hope that momentum continues going forward as I don’t want to waste too much time before jumping into the third book.

Rating: 9.75/10
Pairs well with: the other Preacher stuff, as well as ’90s Spawn and Garth Ennis’ run on Shadowman.

Comic Review: Preacher: Book One

Published: 1995-1996
Written by: Garth Ennis
Art by: Steve Dillon, Glenn Fabry (covers)

Vertigo Comics, 351 Pages

Review:

Over the years, I’ve read several different story arcs from the Preacher comic book series. But never have I started from the beginning and tried to read the series in its entirety.

I’ve only read the second story arc that makes up this first book. So getting into the earliest Preacher issues was a real treat.

This kicks things off with a bang and for fans of the television show, the beginning of the comic is vastly different, even if there are some similarities.

As dark as the show is, this is bleaker, meaner and has a harder edge than anything that they can put on television, especially in 2019 where everything is deemed “too offensive”.

In fact, this is ’90s comics at its peak. But this was also from an era were Vertigo wasn’t complete shit. Say what you will about ’90s comics, good or bad, but this is one of the titles that defines the best parts of that decade. Everything in the ’90s was “extreme” and this encapsulates that like no other comic except for maybe some bootleg and outlaw comics of the time.

But this doesn’t feel like it’s a gimmick that didn’t age well, it feels genuine and authentic. That’s probably why it has stood the test of time.

Garth Ennis was on his A game right out of the gate and his fantastic writing is greatly enhanced by Steve Dillon’s art on every page, as well as Glenn Fabry’s stupendous covers.

Preacher is a perfect storm of hardcore, extreme, edgy boi shit and I mean that complimentary. It’s a product of its time and the culture around it. While I’m sure that is off putting to some, like easily offended snowflakes in 2019, this is still a comic series with merit and a lot of emotional turmoil that the reader can relate to despite how dark this world is.

It also examines a lot of religious taboos and criticism in a creative and exploratory way. As someone that grew up in a really religious environment, some of this was uncomfortable for me to read the first time but in retrospect, it’s good that it challenges these ideals and asks what the point to it all is.

Preacher is not a comic series for everyone. I can see where it would push away certain sects on the right side and left side of the political spectrum. For those of us in the middle, who want some of the answers to life’s mysteries, it’s a cool exploration into that backed up by badass characters doing badass things and killing off scumbags that deserve it.

Rating: 9.5/10
Pairs well with: the other Preacher stuff, as well as ’90s Spawn and Garth Ennis’ run on Shadowman.

Comic Review: Mad Max: Fury Road

Published: May 20th, 2015 – August 5th, 2015
Written by: Nico Lathouris, Mark Sexton, George Miller (story)
Art by: Peter Pound
Based on: Mad Max: Fury Road by George Miller, Brendan McCarthy, Nico Lathouris

Vertigo Comics, DC Comics, 151 Pages

Review:

Typically, movie adaptation comics aren’t very good. Sometimes one will surprise you. But I guess that this one is unique in that it isn’t an actual adaptation of Mad Max: Fury Road but is instead, an anthology prequel that follows some of the main characters, establishing their backstories before the events of the film.

Also, these stories come from George Miller himself. Now I’m not sure how involved he was with this, as he could’ve written a very detailed outline or this could have just been taken from his notes when he wrote the film. Either way, the finished product is damn good for fans of the movie and the franchise.

This also confirms that this Max is the same Max that Mel Gibson played and that all the films do share continuity. It delves into Max’s previous tales to add context to where the man is by the time Fury Road starts. And with that, his story here also comes with some extra tragedy to help set the stage for Fury Road.

What’s also interesting, is that this comic has ties to the video game continuity, as the big bad from the 2015 game is seen within the pages of this comic and is referred to by name. You even have an understanding of where he stands in the bigger picture alongside Immortan Joe.

The plots of all the stories here are intriguing and I’d say that this is a must read if you want a fuller experience than just what you get with the film. I love added context and none of this seems like it was done just to cash in on the film’s success, as the people behind this cared about the movie and the world its characters inhabit.

I really dug the art style too, as it felt in tune with the movie but also had an older, grittier pulpy feel to it. I liked the muted colors and the high contrast. Emotions were conveyed well on the faces of the characters and while it may feel somewhat understated, it’s pretty damn perfect and gets the job done.

Sadly, I bought and read this digitally, as I was unsure about it. Now that I’ve read it and loved it, I’m going to round up the single floppy issues.

Rating: 9/10
Pairs well with: the Mad Max movies, specifically Fury Road. Also, the 2015 Mad Max video game.