If ever there was a good argument for creating comics as finite series, rather than the never-ending cycle of many superhero titles, Preacher is it. In this penultimate volume Ennis ties up loose ends, leaving only Custer’s showdown with Cassidy, Starr and God left to cover in the final chapter.
Regular readers will be perfectly aware of Ennis’ use of flashback to flesh out characters’ back-stories, and in this volume we see both Tulip’s childhood and a new side to Cassidy’s murky past. There’s also a brief journey into the early criminal career of Jesse and Tulip, though given its location at the end of the book it could almost be described as anti-climatic.
Preacher wouldn’t be Preacher without some gratuitous violence and All Hell’s A-Coming has it in spades, doing its usual good work of providing shock value in a series that you would be excused for thinking had few surprises left. But again it’s the personalities that make this a fascinating read. We’ve come to know the main characters so well we’re hooked, desperate to know what happens next. Ennis may take us round the houses to his ultimate conclusion but it’s a neighbourhood that’s worth of a visit.
Dillon’s artwork is wonderful as ever, as comfortable with long conversations as he is with bone-crunching violence – the perfect foil to Ennis’ scripts. But it’s the characters, their relationships and the damage they can do to one another that draw us into this story yet again.