Four-Color Flashback: ‘Preacher: Vol. 7 – Salvation’

Welcome to week 7 of 9 in our discussion of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher. For more, read weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6.

Paul: So this volume, Salvation, is kind of an intermission in the main story. We get to see what kind of man Jesse is removed from the quest and his group of friends. And as it turns out he’s just as much the Big Damn Hero in this smaller setting as when he’s hunting down God and facing off with saints and lunatics.

How did you feel about this step back from the bigger picture?

AJ: I loved it. It’s impressive how much I enjoyed Jesse’s exploits away from Cassidy, Tulip, Herr Starr, etc. It took me a second to realize that we weren’t going to see most of our old friends (excepting Jesse’s vision quest near the end), but once I adjusted to that, I found Salvation to be one of the most satisfying volumes yet.

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Four-Color Flashback: ‘Preacher: Vol. 6 – War in the Sun’

Welcome to week 6 of 9 in our analysis of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher. For more, read weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

AJ: A lot happens in this volume, and there’s a lot to talk about, but I’m going to start off with perhaps the least important storyline because I don’t want to forget to bring it up…what the fuck happened to Arseface at the end?! His “furruh uhzmuhyuh,” the arsefaced paradise, his Dad appearing to him and apologizing–was that like the most surreal depiction of suicide ever, or…?

Paul: Unfortunately(?), you’re not gonna get any more on that. The Arseface story is…a little hard to put my finger on. To be honest, though it does have a conclusion, I’m not 100% sure I could tell you what it all ultimately means. Which is why I keep saying, for all intents and purposes you could really just ignore it and hope it goes away.

But to answer your question, I’m pretty sure Ennis wrote that bit while on peyote.

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Four-Color Flashback: ‘Preacher: Vol. 2 – Until the End of the World’

Four-Color Flashback returned last week with the first of nine installments discussing the controversial Vertigo series Preacher. I’m new to the series, Paul’s been a fan since it first started in 1995, and we roundtable it. (Or is it a cross-table? There are only two of us.)

This week, we discuss Preacher: Vol. 2 – Until the End of the World

Paul: Okay, Mr. AJ, you survived the first explosive, expletive-laden volume of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher. Here we are, back for more, so tell me…how do you think the second volume, Until the End of the World, holds up?

AJ: I loved the first volume. I had some problems with it–Arseface, Detective Bridges’ sexuality–but on the whole, I thought it was a really entertaining comic with some brilliant ideas. I’m happy to report that Until the End of the World not only continues the witty, profane, blood-splattered fun of Gone to Texas; it also does it one better by introducing some seriously compelling bits of mythology.

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Four-Color Flashback: ‘Preacher: Vol. 1 – Gone to Texas’

Last summer, I started a column entitled Four-Color Flashback, wherein I went through and discussed/analyzed a legendary run of comic books I’d never read. In that case, it was Chris Claremont and John Byrne’s Uncanny X-Men (read the first part here). It was a fun experience, and toward the end of the column, I stated the desire to return to the concept “some time in the next century.” That time is now!

Unlike last year, which was just me rambling on endlessly by myself, this summer, I’m joined by Paul to discuss Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s notorious Preacher. Paul is a huge fan, and I’ve never read a single issue, so we’re both bringing different perspectives to the table. The series lasted for 66 issues from 1995 to 2000, and has subsequently been collected in nine trade paperbacks. We’ll be going through them one at a time, starting this week with Preacher: Vol. 1 – Gone to Texas, collecting the series’ first seven issues.

So pull up a chair, do your best John Wayne impression, and enjoy.

(That was me commanding you with the Word.)

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On DVD & Blu-Ray, 6/7/11: ‘Breaking Bad,’ ‘True Grit,’ More

BREAKING BAD: The Complete Third Season (DVD/Blu-ray)

Breaking Bad‘s terrific second season was tightly plotted ahead of time, with ample foreshadowing throughout. For the show’s third season, however, creator Vince Gilligan and his writers turned into expert jazz players, improvising every note, changing rhythm, and exploring all sorts of new grooves. Gilligan and Co. repeatedly force science-teacher-turned-methmaker Walt and his junkie partner Jesse into corners there’s seemingly no way they’ll get out of; and the creative team had no idea if they could either, until they started writing the next episode. An approach like this could easily have been disastrous, but instead makes for one of the all-time great seasons of television. The jagged, frayed chemistry between Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul makes for the best duo on TV, both giving fierce performances. Stand-out episodes in a stand-out season include “One Minute,” with an intense set piece for the ages; “Fly,” which takes place entirely in the lab, examining Walt and Jesse’s relationship; and “Full Measure,” the epic season finale. Extras include commentaries by Gilligan and the cast; and a number of featurettes. 

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