Genre: Religion / Fantasy / Horror
Year Published: 1995
Year Read: 2013
Series: Preacher #1
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
After reading so many graphic novels that were geared towards older teens and adults (Neil Gaiman’s “Sandman” series and Bill Willingham’s “Fables” series), I never would have thought that I would come across a graphic novel that has coarse language practically littered out throughout the entire story while dealing with a subject matter that is so controversial to many readers. That graphic novel, my friends, is “Preacher: Gone to Texas” and man, was I in for a wild ride of my reading life!
What is this story about?
Reverend Jesse Custer was a minister who was starting to lose his followers and his faith in God. But one fateful day, Jesse Custer is hit by a bright light which ends up destroying the church he was holding his sermons in. Jesse survives the catastrophe, but everyone who attended the church was all killed and Jesse ends up being on the run from the law while gaining the power called “the Word of God” where he can control people into doing what he wants. Joining him is his ex-girlfriend Tulip and an Irish vampire named Cassidy (vampires? Yeah, this story is getting weirder) and the three companions set out on a journey to find God, who had quit his job in heaven, so that way, Jesse would get his answers about why Genesis is inside his body. Unfortunately, a hunter sent by Heaven is after Jesse and his gang in order to prevent Jesse from finding out the truth!
What I loved about this story:
Garth Ennis’s writing: Wow…just wow. Now before I get into what I enjoyed about Garth Ennis’s writing, I would like to point out how shocked (and impressed) I was with the amount of language in this graphic novel. Never, had I read a graphic novel that managed to drop the “f” bomb on every single page along with some other coarse language. This actually interested me rather than disgust me because I was basically counting how many curse words popped up on each page every time a character was speaking and I had a fun time with it! Since this is basically the first graphic novel I had read by Garth Ennis, I was amazed at the creativity being put into this story, especially for the fact that Garth Ennis took a subject matter so controversial (in this case, religion) and turned it into an interesting fantasy story that was extremely well written. It was also interesting in how Garth Ennis explored American culture through Texas and how the main characters are the ones who are more sympathetic than the rest of the characters featured since they are trying to make the world a better place, no matter how TWISTED it may sound! My favorite character in this story was probably Cassidy, the Irish vampire as it was so unusual to see a vampire pop up in a story about religion. I also loved his personality as he is probably the funniest character in this story and I loved the fact that he was willing to help out Jesse and Tulip when they really needed it.
Steve Dillon’s artwork: Steve Dillon’s artwork was pretty impressive as the characters’ facial expressions are realistic and effective. I also loved the way that Steve Dillon illustrated the gruesome scenes of some of the characters being killed and the artwork was done so vividly that I found myself cringing at the murder scenes.
What made me feel uncomfortable about this story:
All the negative things that I had mentioned (murders, controversial use of religion, language) are actually things that I did enjoyed about this story since it is rare for me to read a graphic novel that is basically covered from head to toe with offensive content, so it was basically second nature to me when I was reading this volume. However, this might not go over well for anyone who does not like coarse language and strong violence, so anyone who does not like violence and strong language might want to avoid this graphic novel. Now, the REAL REASON why I gave this volume a four star rating is because I felt that the pacing of the story was a bit slow in some places as the characters would spent a good majority of the book talking and not much action happens during these scenes. While I do want good character interactions and this comic definitely has some good character interactions, I also wanted to see more action play up in the story.
Overall, “Preacher: Gone to Texas” is easily one of the most OFFENSIVE, CRUDE, CONTROVERSIAL yet INTERESTING graphic novels that I had ever read and I would recommend it to fans of Garth Ennis’ works and readers who love reading controversial books!