For better or worse, a Preacher TV series is coming to our TV screens, having languished in development hell for decades. I used to think that Preacher was too long and too violent to make it to TV but there have been a lot of great series since the comics came out, and if they can make a good job of Game of Thrones I’m sure they can give Preacher the same respect.
It’s a difficult tale to squeeze into a nutshell, though this initial book in the series squeezes a lot of back-story into its seven parts. The story revolves around Jesse Custer, the Preacher of the title. Custer is quite unlike most reverends you may have come across, not least because he can speak the word of god, so is capable of commanding anyone to do his bidding. Trouble is, Custer doesn’t particularly like this state of affairs, is in trouble with the law because of a slight problem he had with his church and congregation, and he needs to get it all sorted out. Perhaps embarking on a road trip with an old girlfriend and a bloodthirsty Irishman with some odd personal habits wasn’t the best way to find the answers.
Top billing in this story goes to the dialogue. Some critics have complained that the voice of Jesse is not American enough, but you will be able to forgive Ennis any flaw in vocalising accents. The words are scattered with memorable one liners, copious swearing that somehow manages to avoid being totally gratuitous and the kinds of conversations you can hear the characters having long after you’ve put the book down.
One of the other reasons Preacher has garnered attention is that it’s seriously gory. Ennis’s America is a violent gun culture and Preacher pulls no punches in demonstrating what happens when you give every psycho (including the police) the right to carry arms. The carnage is shocking, leaving the book littered with death and grievous injury – this is not a book for a weak stomach.
Having said all this, the violence and the language stand firm behind a fantastic plot and great characterisation. This is a fantastic book we can’t recommend highly enough. Buy it, buy all the others in the series and indulge yourself in a story that has as many laughs as it has surprises, as many heart-warming moments as it has brains spilt onto the floor. Well, perhaps not that many heart warming moments, but we firmly believe that a mature reader with an eye for a tight story will not be disappointed.