Welcome to week 8 of 9 in our discussion of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher. For more, read weeks 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, and 7.
AJ: Here we are. The penultimate volume of Preacher. Given the title and the fact that we’re very near the end, I thought there would be a lot more violence and bloodshed. Instead, All Hell’s A-Coming turns its focus inward, with a lot to say about our heroes and their pasts. The past is a big theme here, not only because of the extended flashbacks but also because people and things from long ago keep coming back to add wrinkles to the story.
Speaking of those extended flashbacks, where should we start: Tulip or Cassidy?
Paul: I say we take it in order, so Tulip.
AJ: The beginning of this volume is all kinds of heartbreaking. A listless Tulip dragging herself out of bed, trying and failing to find the drugs she’s felt she’s needed for these past months. Last we saw Cassidy, we were beginning to realize that he might not have been the fundamentally decent person we thought he was. That continues in the opening scene, as he tells Tulip that everything’s all right, she only needs her medicine, and “Don’t make me take that fuckin’ guy away from you.” Followed immediately by Tulip blasting him into the sunlight. Tulip flees the hell that Cassidy has made for her, then we learn all about how she became who she is.
Welcome to week 4 of 9 in our analysis of Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon’s Preacher. Read the past installments here, here, and here.
AJ: After three volumes of mayhem, destruction, bloodshed, blasphemy, and a heapin’ helpin’ of profanity, the Preacher TPBs take a breather with…well, “breather” might be the wrong word. “Diversion” is more like it. Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy are out of the picture this time as Garth Ennis and a couple guest artists flesh out the backstories of the Saint of Killers, Arseface, and Jody ‘n T.C. Last week, you called this collection “inessential.” Having re-read it, do you still feel the same?
Paul: I’m afraid I actually feel it even more strongly than I remembered. This won’t happen very often at all over the course of these discussions, but I’m going to say that the stories this time around are just not very good. I mean, getting the backstory of the Saint of Killers (or more accurately, a version of his backstory) is cool and interesting. But it also takes the exaggeration and clichés of the main story and really turns them up to 11. And while both Steve Pugh and Carlos Ezquerra have done pretty great stuff elsewhere over the years, here I think they really suffer from being “fill-in” artists for Steve Dillon.
The Arseface and Jody & T.C. stories are straight up pointless.
Super, written and directed by the cult-equipped James Gunn, reminds me of two recent movies. The first, and most obvious, is Kick-Ass. Like that film, and the comic book upon which it was based, Super takes the last decade of our nation’s obsession with anything and everything involving people in brightly colored underpants fighting crime to its logical conclusion: a real, non-superpowered individual puts on brightly colored underpants and fights crime. Also like Kick-Ass, the movie is shockingly violent in the way it dissects our fascination with superheroes. Which brings me to Hobo with a Shotgun, the other film Super reminds me of. Hobo with a Shotgun is a grim, joyless piece of work masquerading as nerd comedy, in which a vigilante mercilessly exterminates scores of criminals who rape, rob, and murder scores of innocents. Super sort of falls into the weird, misshapen chasm between the two.
Originally published on April 27, 2010
Writer: Mark Millar
Artist: Steve McNiven
The cover for the first issue of Mark Millar’s new Icon series Nemesis enthusiastically proclaims, “Makes Kick-Ass look like $#!t.” To some, it would not be hard to make Kick-Ass look like $#!t. Millar is an acquired taste, often given to self-indulgence and outrageous excess. I’ll go on the record as a Millar fan: there was a sobering truth about comics readers and fantasists at Kick-Ass‘ core that made it work, and what I’ve read of The Ultimates is a terrific re-envisioning of the Avengers, a group that usually bores me. And the bottom line is simply that there’s something about Millar’s ridiculously over-the-top writing that gives me a happy.
Originally published on April 19, 2010
Director: Matthew Vaughn
Writers: Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, based on the comic book by Mark Millar and John Romita Jr.
Kick-Ass is not particularly well-made. It is not particularly well-written. With some exceptions, it is not even particularly well-acted. It is absolute trash, and yet that is part of its appeal. The Mark Millar/John Romita Jr. comic book upon which it is based was slick and stylish, and felt very much in the tradition of ultra-violent superhero satire. Matthew Vaughn’s film, on the other hand, is scrappy and unpolished, getting by solely on its foul-mouthed, blood-spattered charm, much of it due to a pint-sized, purple-clad powerhouse.