Preacher, Volume 8: All Hell’s a-Coming by Garth Ennis
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This, the penultimate Preacher collection, gathers together issues 51-58 and the Tall in the Saddle one-off. It’s a collection that has a fair bit going on, though it’s not as action-packed, necessarily as the others. Certainly, it seems to clear the path for the final volume.
We begin with our main trio split, still. Tulip is kept in a drugged haze, and through her escape from chemical bondage (and creepy sex) we learn more about her background – how she became proficient with guns, why she takes no shit, and how she became friends with Amy. It’s surprisingly late in the run to learn the backstory of its leading female character, but it’s welcome.
Jesse and Tulip eventually meet up, and the reunification is satisfying. Probably moreso for them than you, but it also informs another concern of the trade: how to deal with Cassidy. We’re told the story of the vampire’s past fuckings-over by a street-sleeping wino, brought low by the toothy one’s ministrations prior in life. Let’s just say that you’ll be curious to see what happens when everyone eventually gets back in the same room.
In the background, the Grail bubbles away, with a figure from Starr’s past – kind of like an unkillable Hans Moleman – turning up to school the German in the real meaning of iron.
(There’s a lot of castration jokes in this run, too. Make of that what you will.)
Tall in the Saddle is a bit disposable. It’s good in that it illuminates the history shared between Amy, Tulip and Jesse, but it’s also a bit so-what in terms of story. We see the trio involved in a muscle car heist gone wrong, and the scrapes resultant from same. It’s another “heroes get in trouble, get out of it with gore and one-liners” narrative we’ve seen before (with added French pisstaking and another reworking of the post-mortem shitting joke we saw in the earlier swamp-based story with Jody and T.C.) with a bit more of the Southern Man drum-banging. It’s good in that it shows there’s a bit of depth to Jesse, a bit of thought – but it’s also something that isn’t hugely essential.
There’s a few loose ends tied up – the story of Arseface’s music career, the end result of fuck-you-NASA desert man’s earthworks – but All Hell’s A-Coming is closer to its title than you’d think: it makes the reader want to see what’s coming next, and this hampers enjoyment of the story on its own merits.
Still, vampirism and blowjobs, eh.