Preacher (Book One) by Garth Ennis

details
Title: Preacher.
Book: 1.
Writer(s): Garth Ennis.
Artist(s): Steve Dillon.
Colourist(s): Matt Hollingsworth & Pamela Rambo.
Letterer(s): Clem Robins.
Publisher: Vertigo Comics.
Format: Paperback.
Release Date: June 18th 2013 (first published in 2009).
Pages: 216.
Genre(s): Comics, Horror, Fantasy.
ISBN13: 9781401240455.
My Overall Rating: ★★★★★.

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Life is filled with questions for which we are often unable to answer until we garner enough experience. Even then, as we age, we do not always end up becoming the wisest of them all and life often doesn’t always give everything we want on a silver platter, including those answers we desperately sought throughout our lives. However, religion, the oldest form of science that humankind has created, we were able to create a framework through which many have found their way, their purpose, and their answers. But what happens when the one entity you thought absolute turns out to be fallacious? Writer Garth Ennis (author of The Boys and Hellblazer) delivers one of the greatest comic book series that kicked off in 1995 with his magnum opus, Preacher, and explores one man’s journey through hardship and revelation.

What is Preacher (Book One) about? One day, preacher Jesse Custer is struck down by a powerful and strange spiritual force called Genesis, obliterating the vicinity, with multiple casualties, and changing his life forever. Once awake, he realizes that he now possesses the power of “the word”, giving him the ability to manipulate anyone with his speech alone. Dumbstruck and absolutely disillusioned with the beliefs he had vowed to his entire life, he’s now off on a righteous mission to find God, despite his loss of faith in Him. His goal? To bring Him to face the consequences reaped by his own creation. This first book out of six shares an introduction by Garth Ennis, collects Preacher issues #1-12, and presents a 15-page gallery of Preacher pinups by various comic book artists.

“I tell you, if absolute power was to corrupt absolutely, that is the first absolutely corrupt goddamn thing I would do.”

— Garth Ennis

There’s something completely counter-intuitive in the premise of this story yet it delivers one of the most thrilling and captivating adventures told with the comic book medium. Blending horror, fantasy, dark humour, ultra-violence, explicit verbal obscenities, this tale is an achievement in itself. It is even more impressive when you take into considering Reverend Jesse Custer’s pre- and post-Genesis life, as his character now faces his reality with an unprecedented level of cynism while still having both his feet sinking in an uncontrollable religious and supernatural war. Instead of walking away from this turmoil felt beyond Earth, in Heaven and Hell, he sets off on a mission to find the All Mighty God with a self-appointed duty to bring him to justice.

Throughout this first book, he is also accompanied by his ex-girlfriend Tulip and a mysterious Irish man who both deliver some of the most entertaining interactions that’ll have you grinning from ear-to-ear. Once each of their secrets is unveiled, the story also dives into Jesse Custer’s own troubled past by introducing some very terrifying sets of characters who push him to his limits and turn him in an unstoppable freight train with a score to settle with just about everyone, including God. If you thought most of the terror will come from Jesse Custer’s character, think again. There are some very odd and disgusting folks that appear in this story that will have you impressed by the atrocities in this world or completely disgusted.

To masterfully bring this story to life, Steve Dillon’s artwork plunges into the rawness of the violence and doesn’t fail to showcase it with the proper dosage to not tip into irrealism. Matt Hollingsworth’s and Pamela Rambo’s colouring also gives the story a pragmatic touch that almost makes you forget any of its fictional elements. From the sharpness of the outlining to the contrasts of colours that perfectly conveys the dark emotions instigated and felt by the characters, the artwork accomplishes a marvelous job in focusing on the terror rather than the occasional gore.

Preacher (Book One) is a striking and profane adventure following a disillusioned preacher on his quest for answers, accompanied by outrageous violence and unspeakable evil.


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The TV series Preacher (2016-2019) came to an end with its fourth and final season released this year. Have you seen it? Will you be reading or watching this series?

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