TNTM Trade Of the Month Preacher Book One

Book One
Garth Ennis Writer Steve Dillon Artist
Matt Hollingsworth Pamela Rambo Colorists

Preacher is one of those books that if you're hardcore into comics you've definitely heard of it. Anybody who has cable or satellite is more likely to know of it as it is now a show on AMC. The infamous writer, Garth Ennis, and artist, Steve Dillon, created Preacher together. Matt Hollingsworth performed the duties of colorist. Garth Ennis wrote the introduction. Now it's time to find out about the art, writing, and story.
I feel like this is one of those books that's a perfect description of a story in which the writer had something in mind but it ended up becoming something else, something better, something the story, itself, had to tell. Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon created Preacher. For hardcore comic book readers Garth Ennis is a household name. I for one have known of him for a while but not from any of his works. He's mostly know for, by, and because of Preacher. Whereas I have seen Steve Dillon's art in many a Marvel comic book. The work he did in Preacher apes anything else he's ever done. I've heard so many remarkable things about Preacher yet I've only read it recently. Part of the reason is that AMC has made it into a show. The other reason is because I despise Dillon's art. In almost every single Marvel comic I have read that has his art the characters tend to look the same whether it's the Hulk, Punisher, or Elektra. They all have the same face and square jaw structure. For an amateur that's fine but that's not what I expect from Marvel comics or what's been called one of the greatest comic book works of all time.
Thank God I was wrong because Dillon's art in Preacher is almost nothing like his Marvel work. I swore up and down that Preacher was not illustrated by him but if you look hard enough you'll find that one square jawed character that a lot of his Marvel characters are based off of. The characters in Preacher all look so unique, different, deep, dark, and realistic. Body types vary as well as hair styles and that includes facial hair. Each character visually has their own concrete voice. It's like someone put a comic book film/layer on real life. It's the superbly and supremely top notch realistic touch and tone of the art that makes you buy into the sometimes ludicrous story.
The story starts off pretty far out there. There's angels and some thing called Genesis that has escaped heaven. The Angels try to capture Genesis before it attaches itself to a human. Then all of a sudden this preacher is fused with Genesis. The preacher, Jessie Custer, ex-girlfriend, Tulip, shows up with an Irish guy, Cassidy, that ends up being a creature of the blood sucking variety. Somehow it continues to get weirder. There's a serial killer, macho cop that likes getting railed, psychotic evangelical inbred family, and God gone rogue. Jessie is also imbued with this godlike entity that gives him the ability to command people by spoken word and access to heavenly knowledge such as the fact that God has been missing from heaven. This sets him on a path to find and confront God. For some reason he goes from Anniville, Texas to NYC back to his home state of Texas to do so. This first half of the first volume was crazy nonsense. It does serve as a way to get to know who these characters are and the world they live in though. It wasn't until it got to Jessie Custer's insane and extreme religious family that it got good. It's the hearty meat and potatoes part of the story and book. Jessie's ex-girlfriend's past catches up with her too. She couldn't follow through with a hit job that she took up. I feel like the story could have just as easily started at this point. I wasn't really invested in the characters until they were put in these dire straights anyway. Jessie's past with his mother, father, psychotic grandmother, and her deranged goons are revealed as well as why he's a preacher. You see Jessie get beaten, tortured, and brought to the brink of losing his mind. It felt so real. You could genuinely imagine something like this happening to them. They destroy his only shred of hope but then God intervenes. Once Jessie's hope is returned to him it is such a gripping and glorious moment when he smites his mortal enemies.
It's extremely difficult to judge this book. A good portion of this book seems almost pointless other than to establish the world and characters most of which they don't use for the rest of the story. Even the world changes to a much more realistic one. Unless it serves a larger purpose down the road it just seems like a waste. The rest of the book is so maddeningly brilliant and supremely phenomenal. One thing that I can't complain about or give enough praise is the art. Steve Dillon was in top form from beginning to end. His visuals were so raw and realistic that even the ridiculous and mundane were equally believable and enticing. I can't give it the best grade but it is easily, definitely, without a doubt worth a BUY and deserves to be the Trade Of the Month.


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