My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Gathered in this volume is the special issue One Man’s War, and issues 34-40 of the main run of Preacher. It’s a collection that’s not quite as dazzling as some of the previous installments, but it does feature a shitload more firepower than we’ve seen previously – and the first really ruinous split in the crew.
(Oh, there’s also a small imaginary world where everyone has a face like an arse, but that’s more a little palate-cleanser for the next gathering of issues. Suffice it to say that it’s the first time Arseface has been without subtitles for a long stretch.)
One Man’s War is the gold of this collection, I think. It’s a storyline that charts Starr’s rise to the Grail heights, up to the time just before Jesse’s Masada incursion. It’s drawn by Peter Snejbjerg in a very different style. But there’s something in its crisp, cut austerity that fits with Starr’s Teutonic arsehole nature: everything is as snapped-off and squared away as you’d expect from a man as clinical as the Allfather. There’s a lot of background here, and undeniable fascist overtones – from his GSG9 and terrorist background (there an especially poignant image in the panels detailing a hijacking) to his micturation requests to world leaders after his ascension – but there’s also softness. We learn about Starr’s lost eye, and about his disgust at the Grail’s plans.
Again, this is all stuff that doesn’t really advance the story – apart from revealing how the Grail planned to usher in the Second Coming – but it makes one of the more interesting (yet slightly one-note) characters more deeper, and even someone to feel sorry for, on occasion. It’s the sort of story Ennis stretches out on, and it shows: it’s great.
The rest of the issue involves Starr, too: he’s attempting to capture Jesse while the preacher is on Indian ground attempting to communicate with Genesis. The Allfather’s been able to grab control of a shitload of military weaponary – leading to the second instance of the dude being cowed in the series, during a dick-swinging competition with a local commander – and has the President on his side in case things go nasty and require extreme measures.
This is Preacher. Or course things go nasty. The Saint of Killers turns up and then, well, all bets are off.
Suffice it to say that the story zips along with more explosions than a Michael Bay flick. There’s tragedy, separation, and Cassidy plays a big part – that weakness in him mentioned in Dixie Fried comes to the fore. There’s scenes in this one too good to spoil, as they speak to friendship and sacrifice.
(And of telling astronauts to go fuck themselves. That’s important too.)
It’s fun. What more do you need?