First published within a single compilation volume back in September of 1998, ‘Preacher Vol 5: Dixie Fried’ was written by Garth Ennis with artwork by Steve Dillion.  The compilation volume contained the special ‘Cassidy – Blood & Whiskey’, along with the next seven ‘Preacher’ comics (issues 27 - 33).

Cassidy – Blood & Whiskey

Cassidy was in a spot of bother again.  It appears the local Sheriff didn’t take too kindly to Cassidy sleeping with his wife.  In fact, the bastard law enforcer had gotten a handful of his deputies together and were now chasing Cassidy across the dusty American outback.

Thankfully Cassidy had a few tricks left up his proverbial sleeve, and by sunset he was once again on his way to New York.  Or so was the plan until he picked up the scent of another vampire.  Over the last three-quarters-of-a-century he’d travelled across the length and breadth of the globe and not once come into contact with any other of his kind.  He’d started to think he was the only one left.  And now this.

After homing into the scent, he’d made an immediate diversion for New Orleans.  It didn’t take him long to track down the vampire.  A pompous self-obsessed egomaniac who introduced himself as Eccarius.  The vampire spoke of walking in the shadows of the mortal world, a dark mirror, reflecting back humanities self-doubt and self-loathing.  All Cassidy saw was a fancy-talking wanker.

And it appeared this Eccarius had gathered himself a small group of eager followers to stroke his ego with.  A collection of lost and painfully deluded goths calling themselves ‘Les Enfants du Sang’ who hung onto Eccarius’ every word.

Cassidy could see this wasn’t right.  This wasn’t how his kind should live.  This wasn’t right at all…

Here we have another one of the ‘Preacher’ specials – this one once again focussing on Cassidy back in ‘the good old days’.  It’s all typical Cassidy as we know and love him.  The Irish vampire is up to all his usual tricks, getting into mischief whilst being unashamedly straight-talking.

Indeed, you’ll probably end up loving Cassidy that little but more after this special one-issue-story.  He’s blunt and one-hundred-percent unpretentious.  There’s absolutely no bullshit with Cassidy.  He sees a twat, he calls them a twat, straight to their fucking face.

As always, the story’s laced with bone-dry wit that brings a smirk to your face on almost every page.  Here we see Ennis having a bit of a dig at pompous self-obsessed goths out there.  It’s hilarious and oh so true.  If you’ve found yourself constantly rolling your eyes at the snobbery of such goths, with their poetry, self-harm and need for showing everyone how “deep and misunderstood they are”, then this really is a story you’ll take a great deal of delight from.

Issues 27 – 33

Custer knew that Tulip was going to be pissed at him for what he did back in France.  The question was – how mad was she with him?  When Custer and Cassidy finally meet with Tulip in New York City, Custer quickly learns exactly how much he fucked up when he ditched her in France.

However, Tulip finds that she has other, more serious problems to deal with.  After having a skin-full of beer, Cassidy declares his undying love for Tulip.  It may just have been the beer talking – however, Tulip knows if Custer ever found out about it, then it would tear her lover apart.  It could, and probably would, ruin everything.

Tulip decides to keep Cassidy’s indiscretion between them.  But she’s now incredibly weary of everything Cassidy says and does.  Especially now he’s told Custer he’ll stay with him until he’s finished his search for God.

The trio decide to head to New Orleans in the hope that through voodoo, one of Cassidy’s old friends can unlock the secrets held in Custer’s head.  However, Cassidy fails to mention the run in he had with the group calling themselves ‘Les Enfants du Sang’, from the last time he was in New Orleans.  But the group of deranged vampire-wannabes haven’t forgotten him.  In fact, they’ve been longing for his return…

Following the ‘Cassidy – Blood & Whiskey’ special, Custer and his companions are back together again, however things quickly turn awkward when Cassidy drunkenly declares to Tulip his undying love for her.  What follows is a shit heap of frostiness between the two, with us hoping that it was just the booze talking.  Alas, it appears not though.

Meanwhile, we’ve got Arseface on the hunt for Cassidy hoping to avenge his father’s death.  It’s a short sidestory that quickly bounces from this original plot to a whole new one about Arseface becoming the frontman for a band ala ‘Bad Boy Bubby’ (1994).

We’ve also got Herr Starr (remember him?) arriving back into San Francisco, suitably pissed at Custer for deforming the top of his head, and taking on the role of the new Allfather.  There’s also a good slab of a storyline involving a voodoo ritual being performed on Custer to unlock the secrets Genesis has trapped in Custer’s head.

But by far and away the most involved and action-rich section of the volume is regarding the return of the gothic nutjobs - Les Enfants du Sang – and their plans to capture Cassidy and reap their revenge.

Despite all these wonderfully imaginative and intertwining storylines it’s probably fair to say that this fifth volume is nevertheless quite a dialogue heavy one.  It’s definitely incredibly character-driven, and we clear up some loose ends regarding Custer’s past.  However, if you’re hoping for an explosive action-heavy volume, then this one aint going to deliver that for you.

Nevertheless it’s still a great read.  In fact, it’s a downright superb read.  There’s so much going on at any given time.  So many substories and character clashes, that it’s damn near impossible to put down.

I guess my only slight disappointment is with the ‘Arseface’ storyline.  This seemed over far too quickly, with very little bringing it to a conclusion.  But that’s only one small frustration and certainly not enough to seriously detract from the overall enjoyment of another damn fine ‘Preacher’ volume.

The graphic novel runs for a total of 224 pages.

© DLS Reviews



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