Top critical review
5 Stars from so many others? Really??
on 1 September 2010
The Preacher series get rave reviews all over Amazon. As a big fan of comics I decided to give them a try based on these recommendations, but was really disappointed by what i found. First complaint is the language. Page after page of unnecessary and repetitive swearing; i am no prude and appreciate the use of profanity to a fairly high tolerance, but the repeated and often pointless use of it in this book was actually distracting. I swiftly became inured to it, and in fact started to tune out to what was going on. There are frequent hyper violent sequences (i have never seen so many people shot in the head in a comic series) that are merely held together with profanity. If this was an infrequent structure it would be more bearable, but it is far from that. Much of the story follows this pattern.
There are some good characters in this tale, but their development remains strangely stunted and one dimensional; characters like Cass and the Allfather D'Aronique are drawn larger than life and have potential to be fascinating but this potential is rarely fulfilled, and fairly ludicrous characters like Jesse (a man whose voice is literally the Word of God but who chooses to usually use his fists - and always wins despite the odds) and Herr Starr fill the storylines with a blandness and lack of believability that strains the readers credulity.
The storylines are the biggest problem however; what starts off as a grand and ambitious story arc (the abdication from heaven of God in the face of a new creation spawned of Angel and Demon) seems to zigzag wildly, with hugely important events and themes covered in such a cursory and unengaging way that the overall story meanders horribly. After a while i found i was just reading fairly mundane events from Jesse and Tulips life that seemed punctuated with significant moments that went nowhere. Ennis's previous work has been mediocre in my opinion and this was no different - well before the conclusion of the story he appears to have lost interest and the resulting conclusion to the book is almost an afterthought, and highly unsatisfying. Even the scarcely credible strands of plot could have worked with a bit more thought and effort but as they are, they just stink.
Some of the artwork is great however, and Glenn Fabry's cover art is fantastic throughout.
So in conclusion i thought Preacher was a really poor example of a comic. They rely throughout on Ennis's ability to shock the reader with violence and profanity, and this wears off really quickly, revealing a disjointed and underwhelming story with badly realised characters punching their way through a tiresome storyline. Some good potential with story and characters is wasted in favour of yet more sex and violence. If you are a 14 yr old boy who thinks Natural Born Killers was the best film ever made then this is probably for you. If you like something a bit more cerebral with a plot and proper characters, go and buy something by Alan Moore or Frank Miller, or any of the other great writers out there.