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review 2016-10-17 00:47
Wonderfully Offensive!
Gone to Texas - Steve Dillon,Garth Ennis

I originally read Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher about 15 years ago. It was of one of the original printings of the first trade collection and I realise now that I was too young to understand it.

 

Now, a little bit older and (hopefully) a little bit wiser I “get” the story, and what Ennis is trying to say with it, much more. I also understand and appreciate Dillon’s art in a way I didn’t those years before.

 

I can certainly understand why people were - and continue to be - offended by this book. It’s crass, it’s violent, it’s characters are sexist and racist. America is made to look like a country of inbred idiots and not much else. Every character is, for the most part, decidedly unlikable. Even the hero, Jesse Custer, is a bit of a bastard. 

 

Angels swear and get pissed. Demons and angels fuck, Heaven has the biggest murder in creation on it’s pay role and, oh yeah, God’s quit. 

 

While all of this can seem like just an excuse to piss off the religious and more moral readers, if you look past that you can see Ennis is really critiquing ourselves, not religion. Preacher isn’t saying that religion makes people crazy bastards, he’s saying that we make religion crazy. And, maybe, God’s had enough.

 

I loved reading this, properly understanding it for the first time. I’ll certainly be getting the rest of the volumes and I can not wait to see where it all goes!

 

(Originally posted on Collectorize blog.)

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review 2015-09-06 19:10
The Preacher,vol 1 by Steve Dillon and Garth Ennis
Preacher: Gone To Texas - Garth Ennis,Steve Dillon

I may be a little late jumping on the Preacher bandwagon but thankfully I'm on it and this is yet another one I should have read a long, long time ago.

 

Jesse Custer is our faithless priest who gets possessed by Genesis, the powerful offspring of a forbidden relationship between Angel and Demon. So the story takes place mainly on terra firma with interludes to heaven, where the powers that be don't really want Genesis around, too dangerous and too powerful. So they send the mean old saint of killers down to take out our hero.

 

Jesse is a pretty cool character and tagging along we have his ex-girlfriend Tulip who didn't really push any buttons for me and the vampire Cassiday who was a little more interesting in typically violent blood sucking fashion.

 

The artwork was ok, the story was the clincher for me, ending in our three heroes setting out to find the one and only, God, who has forsaken mankind and is apparently wandering about somewhere after acquiring a suitable disguise. So that's the endgame find the all-powerful, who probably doesn't want to be found, so let's get on it. And I've found God by the way, he's on Twitter and often professes words of wisdom for us mere mortals.

 

Next up The Boys & 100 Bullets, can’t wait.

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review 2014-11-24 13:18
Red Adept Tour ~ It's a keeper!
To Hell and Gone in Texas - Russ Hall

*Book source ~ A review copy was provided in exchange for an honest review.

 

Recently retired detective Al Quinn gets a call from the Sheriff letting him know that the brother he hasn’t talked to in twenty years is in the hospital under suspicious circumstances. After debating with himself he decides to go see what’s going on with Maury. Al has no idea that his estranged brother has so much more on his plate than even he could believe and now he’s caught right smack in the middle of a shitstorm of Maury’s making. Should the two of them survive, will they bury the hatchet or go their separate ways again?

 

Hooking me from the beginning, Russ Hall’s writing picked me up by the scruff, stuffed me into a 4x4 truck complete with gun rack, locked the doors, tore off down the road at high speed and didn’t let me go until the ride was over.  I read this in one sitting and while my ass didn’t appreciate it, my brain loved it. The writing is smooth and the characters are interesting. The plot wasn’t beyond the realm of imagination, the mystery was just right and the suspense kept me on the edge of my seat. I have to say I love Al. I would love to see more books involving him though I’m not sure how since he’s retired. He’d make an excellent PI and he could take only the jobs he wanted since he’s technically retired.

 

Anyway, Russ Hall is new-to-me and I am now compelled to see what else he has out there. Overall, a great mystery with plenty of suspense as well as some humor, excellent characters and wonderful writing. I highly recommend this one.

Source: imavoraciousreader.blogspot.com/2014/11/red-adept-tour-to-hell-and-gone-in-texas.html
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review 2014-11-01 15:03
Comic Book Review: Preacher Volume 1 - Gone To Texas by Garth Ennis
Preacher, Book One - Garth Ennis,Steve Dillon

The Basics

Jesse has just recently found himself imbued with intense power that kills his entire congregation. This power is the result of being possessed by Genesis, a rogue half-demon, half-angel that is being hunted down by the Saint of Killers. With the help of Tulip (Jesse’s ex-girlfriend) and Cassidy (a vampire), Jesse goes on the run…

My Thoughts

You have no idea the amount of dread I feel right now. Or how long I’ve put off this review. This series is beloved, and the scope of the story, the weight of it, does make me see why. That is some praise I can readily heap onto this comic. It has a fantastic story. It’s different and irreverent. It’s dark, and I can already tell it’s going to go to some big places.

Then I start getting critical. The point of much of the comic is satire. I understand that. The idea of angels and demons and heaven is all handled in a very “blasphemous” way, and Ennis revels in it. These aren’t the parts that bother me, though I guess this is me also warning you that if you are offended by anyone taking religion and treating it this way, you should steer clear.

No, the bothersome part is the transparent, early 90s humor. The sort of humor that doesn’t hold up at all today. Pointing and laughing at the butch detective who turns out to be a gimp-mask-wearing homosexual. Making a joke out of the only character with a good heart because his face looks “like an arsehole.” Jesse trying desperately to turn Tulip’s “no, I will not sleep with you” into a “yes” simply by asking a thousand times. And lots of and lots of casual racism. You know. For laughs! It’s outdated. It’s disgusting in a way that isn’t fun. If it does anything, it reveals how awful and backwards we are that this passes for humor, and I’m officially side-eying everyone who suggested this book to me and called it “brilliant”.

I’m not even really sure the characters are worth it. Jesse is an antihero of the highest order, but in a way that seems contradictory. Preaching goodness one minute and then inciting violence over an insult the next. It made him hard to pin down, and I wasn’t sure how I felt about him. Cassidy is loads of fun. I can say that fairly easily. And Tulip… She is a strong woman as written by a man who seems to think “strong” is defined as being snotty and argumentative. He gave her a gun, and somehow that’s supposed to be enough for me. Surprisingly, it isn’t.

I’ve blasted this a lot. I am hoping the series somehow improves, but I’m aware of how Ennis operates, so I know to expect a lot more deeply offensive comedy. Yet he’s created a story here that I want to experience, even though I keep waffling about whether I feel like enduring more of his juvenile, sick humor.

Final Rating

3/5

 

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review 2013-10-08 00:00
Gone to Texas - Steve Dillon,Garth Ennis The first volume of "Preacher" is one of the most solid and fascinating stories that I have ever read. It is with this volume that I have begun my search of all of the good stuff that the Vertigo imprint of DC Comics has to offer.

What, exactly, is an unrepentant Atheist doing, reading something not only called, "Preacher", but also dealing in a very major way in the themes of religion, God and angels?

I would point out that on the cover of this volume, we get a blurb by Kevin Smith, the director of "Dogma". and I don't think that the fact that Kevin Smith was contacted to give his opinion on the series is not incidental. Although "Dogma" and "Preacher" are not the same thing - for one, both are stories told in different mediums and for another, their humor is derived from different places in both stories. Nevertheless, from now on, if I am ever asked to compare either of these to a similar story, I will say that "Preacher" and "Dogma" come from a similar place of cynicism and religious disillusionment - both place a great deal of value in the everyday person, who is seen as having more moral fiber, in many ways, than these immortal beings who have, in a very real manner, dropped the ball.

Oh, Preacher is a very dark story, and within it lies three main characters who are lost and trying to find a purpose, amidst the darkness and all of the uncertainty that is in their world. Some of what is presented, in a beautiful art style that does great justice to the characters by its artist Steve Dillon (and with the addition of highly stylized and very realistic full-page illustrations, which begin every one of the original issues of the comics, preserved in this collection) is shocking, even to a modern internet user and purveyor of such films like, well, Kevin Smith's "Dogma" and the films of Quentin Tarantino. Death - very much viscerally and starkly present at every turn of the story - is often the least of horrors that this book's readers are made privy to. In this universe, death may very well be a lucky thing to befall a person - it could, at the very least, save them from some dark fate that seems to be suggested at with every movement that comes from above, below and in the middle.

The story begins with our three main characters - "heroes" hardly seems appropriate, even though they are, chiefly, forces for good, despite how menacing Jesse Custer looks in the cover art of this volume - as they sit around a meal at a diner, trying to understand how they had come to where they were, in terms of the story. It is here that I found my only major problem with the story telling itself - the sharing of the main characters' stories feels more as though it is for the benefit of the reader, not because they are sharing much of this story with each other. It frankly felt a little shoe horned in, especially in the part where Jesse walks away from the table.

After that initial opening, however, the story and its characters come into their own and two questions are asked that are very important - what, exactly, is inside of the Reverend Jesse Custer and where is God in all of this?

Although the show down in Texas is exciting to read, it is my opinion that the part in New York really is the most entertaining section of the first volume, where they begin Jesse's journey to discover what part God has to play in what is occurring. The shocks and the entertainment value of what happens does not slow down one bit, and to the contrary, I would argue that it speeds up so that it rivals the pace of a Tarantino film.

Heavy, rough-around-the-edges and, amongst everything else, in my opinion, blazingly sincere, "Preacher" makes a tsunami-sized splash in the water of the usual fare of comic books, asking big questions and, at the same time, portraying humans, angels, demons and even vampires on a very equal level, all of whom are capable of mistakes as well as astounding acts of heroism and villainy. Even the pitiful is seen with a very sincere amount of understanding.

By the end of the first volume, I found myself eager to find where our three main characters would find themselves next, and what the repercussions of Jesse's bizarre capability would prove to be.

Certainly not for the faint of heart, (and I say, with complete sincerity, that you should read this with the expectation that anything could happen next - absolutely anything) the story of a small town Preacher who accidentally destroys his entire congregation in the span of a matter of seconds and who is trying to find the answers behind what is happening to him and his world is as exciting and violent as it is impossible to put down.
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