First published within a single compilation volume back in January of 1997, ‘Preacher Vol 2: Until The End Of The World’ was written by Garth Ennis with artwork by Steve Dillon.  The compilation volume contained all ten of the original comics from the second series (issues 8 - 17), covering the storylines ‘All In The Family’ and ‘Hunters’, along with a foreword by film director Kevin Smith and a ten page gallery showcasing Glenn Fabry’s impressive cover artwork.

All In The Family

Reverend Jesse Custer’s life had been far from easy.  At just five years of age he’d witnessed his father being mercilessly executed by two local thugs.  His mother and him had been taken in by Jesse’s viciously cruel grandmother, Marie L’Angell, living with her and his father’s killers in the isolated southern town of Angelville.

For young Jesse Custer, times were hard.  His grandmother’s rule over the household was unbearingly strict.  Punishments for any supposed wrongdoing would be swift and brutal.  The whisper of an overheard cuss word resulting in a week spent in a sealed coffin anchored to the bottom of the nearby river.

Luckily, Custer escaped his grandmother’s cruel wrath before it was too late.  He’d run away, getting as far as Beaumont.  From there, now a handsome young man, he began to finally enjoy life for the first time. That was where he me Tulip.  A time that now seemed an age ago.

But Custer’s past has finally caught up with him.  The childhood he’d endured, the violence and cruelty, is back.  It took a long time of searching, years of hunting him down, but finally his grandmother’s henchmen have caught up with Jesse.  And they’re taking him back to Angelville where he belongs…

Even though the vast majority of the first volume was spent establishing the characters and setting the scene, there was one main chunk of the story that had been (quite purposefully) left a mystery – why Custer left Tulip all those years ago and became a reverend.  Here in the first part of this second volume, we finally find out the truth behind it all, and through that, we find out about Jesse’s horrendous upbringing and his despicable grandmother.

The story is told in two chunks.  You have the period back when Jesse was a young boy in Angelville and all the years up to when he ‘ran out’ on Tulip, and then you also have the present day – where Custer has returned to Angelville with Tulip, as prisoners of his grandmother and her thuggish henchmen – Jody and T.C.

Jumping between these two storyline threads, Ennis is able to keep a solid, pounding momentum going, with the pacing hurtling forwards and more and more pieces of the whole ‘Preacher’ mythos being revealed with almost every turn of the page.

Okay, so there’s a distinct lack of everyone’s favourite Irish vampire in this first story.  In fact, he doesn’t make a single appearance.  Instead the story’s totally focused upon Jesse’s backstory and the rekindling of his relationship with Tulip after all the years that separated them.

Absolutely classic ‘Preacher’ storytelling.  Brutal, uncompromising, compelling, and unashamedly controversial.


After arriving into San Francisco, Jesse and Tulip took a few days to themselves, locked away in a hotel room, before they decided it was time to track down their old friend Cassidy.  Although they find their Irish blood-drinking comrade isn’t quite the happy-go-lucky vampire that he was before.  A week or so ago, his girlfriend had O.D.’d on heroin.  Her death left a surprising hole in Cassidy’s heart.

Knowing it was the drugs that killed her, Cassidy decides her suppliers need to be held accountable.  Cassidy needs closure.  He needs revenge.  He needs to see those responsible for her death just as dead as she is.

The trail leads to Sexual Investigators Bob Glover and Freddy Allen.  Although it turns out they’re mere suppliers for a powerful and wealthy deviant named Jésus De Sade – Lord of the Gomorrah.  Together with Custer and Tulip, the trio plan to pay the perverted aristocrat a visit during one of his infamous orgies, and finally reap the vengeance that Cassidy so needs.

Meanwhile, a secret organisation known only as ‘The Grail’ are closing in on Custer.  The clandestine sect members have kept the true bloodline of Jesus Christ pure for almost two-thousand years.  Now the time is drawing near for when the true messiah will rise again.  The time for final judgement is upon them.  But the Grail have plans of their own…

Here we head west to the sun-scorched streets of San Francisco where we catch up with Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy as they embark upon another textbook ‘Preacher’ storyline.  Perversion and debauchery are at the epicentre of this particularly delightful second tale.  Think Pasolini’s ‘Salò: The 120 days of Sodom’ (1975), crossed with the anything-can-happen imagination of King’s ‘The Dark Tower’.

Alongside this you have a second parallel running storyline involving a wacko cult of descendants from Christ, called ‘The Grail’, who are trying to track down Jesse for their own fucked-up purposes.  Led by a particularly nasty piece of work named Herr Starr, this section of the story is a sort of ‘The Da Vinci Code’ (2003) conspiratorial mystery with a ramped-up threat level behind it.

Between the two storylines, with this second volume one things for sure, and that’s to expect twists and turns and non-stop rip-roaring entertainment, with a litany of new and utterly outlandish characters introduced throughout.  Ennis doesn’t take his foot off the gas (to use an Americanism) for one second, throwing down more mind-boggling over-the-top chaos and storylines running off at a tangent than you can shake a stick at.  Religion takes quite a hammering.  But that’s all part of the satire behind ‘Preacher’.  It may be wacky, off-the-wall and outlandish, but it’s got some pretty sharp social commentary lurking under its dry and black as coal wit.  And that’s one of the things that just makes these graphic novels that much more compelling.  Superb stuff!

The graphic novel runs for a total of 255 pages (which includes a 3 page foreword by Kevin Smith and a 10 page cover art gallery by Glenn Fabry).

© DLS Reviews

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