Preacher: Gone To Texas
By: J.R. McNamara on March 11, 2009  |  Comments ()  |  Share 
Cover Art
Writer: Garth Ennis
Art: Steve Dillon
Publisher: Vertigo
Pages: 200
Some tales are just too hard to define - are they horror, crime, western…. or are they indefinable by the fact that they are a combination of all of them?

The Preacher was a comic printed by DC's mature imprint 'Vertigo' which has been the host of other tales of the more adult such as The Sandman, Y: The Last Man and the awesome Kill Your Boyfriend, and was published from 1995 to 2000. Thankfully to get the full story one doesn't have to spend one's life tracking down all 66 of the titles regular series, the various specials and the Saint of Killers mini series - no, one can go into their local comic or book shop and simply order one of the nine collections to get the full tale… and it is quite the tale!!!

This collection, the first, introduces our three main characters, and gives us a grand starting point for the horror and craziness to come.

The Preacher tells of Reverend Jesse Custer, who after a bender where he insulted the entire small Texan town he lives in, is possessed by a creature named Genesis, a half angel/half demon hybrid who has escaped from Heaven. When his body is first possessed, the force of being taken by such a creature results in the disintegrating deaths of the entire town. The explosion is seen by Tulip, Jesse's dumped girlfriend of five years earlier who happens to be in the vicinity with a man who has kindly offered her a ride. The only thing is, this man, Cassidy, never goes out in the sun, has an uncanny knack for healing and occasionally partakes in a feast of human plasma.

Heaven is obviously upset that the Genesis child has escaped, and releases the deadly Saint of Sinners to track him down. The Saint of Sinners is a killing machine that appears to be unstoppable…. except by Custer and his strange new power… the word. The word allows Jesse to make anyone do exactly what he says… literally (when he tells a police officer to 'Go Fuck Yourself', the results are both hilarious and terrifying at the same time).

Across this collection of the first seven issues, The Preacher Book 1: Gone To Texas gives his full detailed origin of Custer's power, and has Custer, along with Tulip and Cassidy, meet the aforementioned Saint of Killers, Arseface, the Reaver-Cleaver, Sherrif Root and Detectives Tool and Bridges, not to mention his own conscience, which manifests itself as the Duke, John Wayne himself.

The Preacher, as a comic, really appealed to me, mainly due to its writer Garth Ennis. As I have always been a 2000AD fan, and when the sister publication 'Crisis' came out in 1989, I jumped on it like a DVD reviewer on a new release. His writing really appealed to me, and I followed his career which thankfully led him to my already purchased (and aforementioned) 2000AD where he took on Judge Dredd. Eventually his skills led him to the good old US of A and he wrote several DC titles, including Hellblazer (which I have to admit to NOT purchasing), and my much beloved Etrigan The Demon. This all led to his creation of The Preacher character with artist Steve Dillon.

Ennis and Dillon's styles compliment each other nicely. Ennis plays his scripts hard hitting and two fisted, which is countered perfectly by Dillon's straight down the line semi-realistic style, which makes the comic all the more gritty, and I have to almost agree with Kevin Smith when he describes this comic as being 'more fun than going to the movies.'

DC Comics deserve kudos for this collection as well. Occasionally DC (and Marvel comics) cut a few corners and produce great comics printed on substandard paper. Not here though, semi glossy paper through and through, which is great as it shows of the amazing covers of the first seven issues that were produced by artist Glenn Fabry as well.

This comic is like a roller coaster ride, and the first collection is like being in the line waiting - the anticipation for the next collection is almost impossible to repress. When you finish this collection, you immediately want to jump into the next one, and you won't be disappointed!!!
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