Book review: Preacher, Volume 5: Dixie Fried

Preacher, Volume 5: Dixie FriedPreacher, Volume 5: Dixie Fried by Garth Ennis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This Preacher trade is another favourite. It collects Blood and Whiskey, a Cassidy special, and issues 27-33 of the regular run. Together, they deepen the portrait we have of the series’ whiskey-swilling vampire, proving that there’s a little more to him than toothy comic relief.

Blood and Whiskey comes first, and it’s a lot of fun. It tells the story of Cassidy’s encounter with another vampire, Eccarius, in New Orleans. Suffice to say that the Anne Rice model of velvet-clad claret drinkers comes a copper here: wankers abound, and Eccasius’ followers – Les enfants du sang – are prime examples. (Aside from which, I think there’s drawn cameos from Grant Morrison and Neil Gaiman, which is humorous enough in itself.)

Suffice it to say Cassidy’s tolerance of dickheads wins out, though exactly what happens to the eminently punchable Eccarius I leave you to discover.

The rest of the trade moves the main story forward in leaps and bounds: Jesse and crew visit New Orleans (with disastrous results, thanks to Cassidy’s actions earlier on) to try and get some assistance unlocking Genesis’ story. What follows is a voodoo/goth epic, with loa, swords and Arseface singing from a balcony. More is learned about the Saint of Killers’ backstory (or, rather, Jesse learns what we learned in the last trade) and there’s a feeling of momentum that’s palpable. The Grail are out of the picture for the moment – though Starr’s two-page wighat extravaganza is easily his best appearance thus far – but there’s enough trouble in here to ensure they’re not too missed.

This is a proper, swampy stew of a collection. It’s hot, and keeps things moving. But importantly, it gives us more of Cassidy’s motivations. He’s not just a one-dimensional Pogues song that never dies – he’s conflicted, and fucked-up, and passionate. And has enemies. It’s a real development, and one that you can feel will be important a little further down the line.

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