Preacher, Vol. 1: Gone to Texas by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon (9781848563216): Titan Books, Ltd./Vertigo (2009)
Gone to Texas begins when a powerful creature known as Genesis, the result of the coupling an angel and a demon, escapes from its heavenly prison. It flees to Earth and possesses hard-drinking, small-town preacher Jesse Custer in a destructive blast that destroys his church and his flock. The possession imbues Jesse with the power of the Word of God and the ability to command others to do his will. Soon after encountering his ex-girlfriend Tulip and the hard-living Irish vampire, Cassidy, Jesse finds he’s on the run from the unstoppable Saint of Killers, tenacious law enforcement, and his own insane family. Jesse decides to use his new-found power and knowledge to find his absentee Lord and force Him to answer for the neglect of His creation.
In movie-pitch speak, Preacher could easily be billed as “John Milton-meets-Quentin Tarantino”. But in reality, it’s all Garth Ennis. The writing is tight and often darkly comic–a perfect example of the gonzo-comic writing from Vertigo’s heyday. The characters are well-drawn (in both senses) and interesting. The storytelling is excellent, drawing the reader into the stories despite the repellent characters that often occupy them.
And there are plenty of repellent characters. And repellent situations. And repellent language. The violence is graphic, disturbing, and often combined with homophobic and racist epithets and conversations. But it is fitting, because this is a dark and disturbing world that Jesse inhabits–a Godless world, a purgatory that Jesse must cross to find the goal of his quest.
Profane but intelligent, violent but human, Preacher is definitely not for everybody, but still well worth the read.