Preacher, Vol. 7: Salvation
by Garth Ennis, Steve Dillon
(DC/Vertigo, 1999)

It is simply astounding that some critics feel this the least of the Preacher story arcs to date! Writer Garth Ennis is still perfectly comfortable writing this incredible character in fascinating, if decadent situations.

This time out we get to meet Jesse's delightful and utterly enchanting mother, a creature inspired by a painting by Andrew Wyeth. Other new enticements include Cindy, the female deputy sheriff; Lorie, the cyclopean girl with an unexpected perspective on the world; Skeeter, the cuddly mongrel whose loyalty and obedience to Jesse proves to be more than merely a life enhancement; and the entirely despicable Odin Quincannon, whose personal perversion intrigues, while it disgusts.

Writing such complex characters at this level of sophistication is no easy feat, but Garth Ennis does so masterfully. Steve Dillon's art perfectly catches the nuances of the characters and their setting. This is truly a virtuoso performance and truly a grand reading experience.

Preacher: Salvation is not for everyone, certainly, but if you love a superb story well told and are not offended by the seamier side of life, there's little better.

by Stephen Richmond
14 January 2006

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Salvation is an interlude.

The various chapters in Garth Ennis's Preacher saga have unfolded in a staggered but linear path, marching always toward Jesse Custer's ultimate goal of confronting his creator for abandoning the Earth to its own devices. But, after the dramatic events of War in the Sun, things take a bit of a breather.

You'll recall the last volume left off after a cataclysmic confrontation in the Arizona desert. Jesse has been lost and is presumed dead, leaving his girlfriend Tulip and his best mate, the Irish vampire Cassidy, to mourn in their own ways. But Jesse survived his fall from a crashing airplane -- although he's not sure how, nor why his left eye is gone -- and sets out to find them. He does, but not the way he had hoped.

Next thing you know, he's sheriff of a podunk Texas town, fighting the corrupt meat mogul who runs roughshod over the townsfolk. He makes a couple surprising reunions while there.

There's a lot packed into this book, with topics ranging from racism to Nazis, regret and second chances. But, while it stands alone as a solid tale in the Jesse Custer saga, it never feels necessary to the overall scope of the series. It's simply a means to get from point A to point B.

That said, it's a good route to take. Ennis tells a powerful story, and I certainly don't mind him taking his time along the way.

by Tom Knapp
7 April 2012