First published within a single compilation volume back in September of 1999, ‘Preacher Vol 7: Salvation’ was written by Garth Ennis with artwork by Steve Dillion.  The compilation volume contained the the next ten ‘Preacher’ comics (issues 41 - 50).

DLS Synopsis:
Following the annihilation of the forces of the Grail in Monument Valley, then plummeting from an airborne plane, losing his memory, and finally seeing his girl and his best friend betraying him, Reverend Jesse Custer decides he needs some serious timeout.  There are still a lot of blank patches following the fall from the plane, such as why he’s now missing an eye, and so he needs to get his head straight if he’s going to try to work out his next move.

Custer decides there’s no better place to get things worked out in his head than in the small Texas town of Salvation.  But he’s only been there for a few minutes before he encounters his first bit of trouble.  A bunch of thugs are picking on a one-eyed girl.  Custer’s not a man who’s able to ignore anyone getting a rough ride, especially if they’re of the opposite sex.  So he steps in and sorts out the situation the only way he knows how - with his fists.

The local Sheriff sees how Custer can more than handle himself.  It impresses the Sheriff enough for him to offer Custer a position in the local law enforcement.  As the new Sheriff of Salvation.

Doing some good for a small town seems like the perfect opportunity for Custer, whilst he tries to make some sense of what to do next.  But the position doesn’t come without its challenges.  On the outskirts of the town, a wealthy businessman named Odin ‘The Meatman’ Quincannon, has been throwing his weight around for some time.  He had the town’s previous Sheriff in his pocket, paying him off to look the other way on his employees’ not-so-slight indiscretions.

But Custer’s not going to have any of it.  When Quincannon tries to play the same deal with Custer, the bug-eyed meat tycoon finds himself thrown out of the Sheriff Department’s window.

Custer has made himself a powerful enemy.  One who will stop at nothing to ensure Custer has his comeuppance.

Now Custer’s got to learn he can’t be judge, jury and executioner if he’s going to be the town Sheriff.  Once he puts on that gold star, he’s agreed to abide by the law and apply it fairly and equally.  Problem is, he’s used to settling things his own damn way and then disappearing before he has to account for it.  But that’s got to change.  He’s going to have to try to take Quincannon down legally.

Meanwhile, Custer has been getting on well with the rest of the residents of Salvation.  In particular a one-armed woman by the name of Jodie.  A woman who Custer finds he has a strong connection with.  A connection from way back in his troubled past…

DLS Review:
It would be fair to say that ‘Preacher Vol 6: War In The Sun’ (1999) finished with a spectacular cliff-hanger or two.  We’ve not only got Custer’s ongoing quest for tracking down God, but also what happened to him after he fell from the plane, and then of course, what’s he going to do about the whole Tulip and Cassidy thing.

However, what you probably weren’t expecting (to be honest, I wasn’t) was for Ennis to largely push much of this to the sidelines for the time being, and instead focus upon a whole new mini-story that lasts for nine out of the ten issues in this volume (the final tenth instalment I’ll address later).

That’s not to say that the ‘cliff-hanger storylines’ aren’t developed upon in this volume.  Indeed, the ‘tracking down God’ and ‘filling in the murky blanks after waking up in the desert’ aspects both come into play within this volume, the latter element of the storyline in particular.

Nevertheless, by far and away the main thrust of this seventh volume is with delivering a whole new mini-story, whilst slipping in some additional elements to thicken out the whole ‘Preacher’ mythos.

The volume delivers another load of exceptionally good characters, as is so often the case in the ‘Preacher’ series.  Here we have this volume’s principal antagonist - Odin ‘The Meatman’ Quincannon – who’s a sly, goggle-eyed tycoon with a serious case of ‘little man syndrome’.  What’s more, Quincannon has a seriously sick meat fetish going on.  It’s a while before you discover what he gets up to in Coldroom Four, but when you do, trust me, it’s worth the wait.

Speaking of fetishes, Quincannon has a sexy lawyer who, behind closed doors, is a Nazi sadomasochist.  Yeah, it’s textbook Ennis stuff here.  No taming things down or going for the ‘safe’ option.  Instead Ennis goes for the over-the-top in-your-face controversial subjects without any hint of compromising.  This “don’t give a flying fuck” attitude to throwing in sensitive subject matters is one of the things that makes the ‘Preacher’ comics such a great read.  And we see plenty of that in this volume.

Essentially the story is a classic American-style ‘cleaning up a dirty town’ affair.  Custer plays the perfect role for this.  He takes absolutely no shit – as you know.  Problem is, he’s now the new Sheriff, so he can’t sway too far from the thin line of the law.  Although, to be fair, it’s not like he actually sticks to this restrained approach much.

There’s also a hint of a love interest going on.  This helps to emphasise the issues Custer’s dealing with about Tulip.  His new deputy, Cindy Daggett, is more than a tad interested in her new Sheriff.  And there’s plenty of flirting going on between the two.  But ultimately it all helps to consolidate the thoughts troubling Custer, ready for the next book.

As I said earlier, the final chapter in this volume delivers a completely different storyline.  This standalone story entitled ‘The Land Of Bad Things’ sees Custer catching up with his father’s old wartime buddy, Spaceman, at the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington D.C.  In the previous story, Custer’s mother hands him The Medal Of Honour which his father had been awarded.  Custer now wants to know the story behind how his father came to be bestowed with the highest award the country can give.

The volume as a whole is absolute classic ‘Preacher’ stuff.  There’s violence and off-the-fucking-wall madness everywhere.  Although pretty much a standalone story in the greater scheme of things, it does still expand on the Preacher universe a little more.  We now know what happened to his eye, we see his quest to track down God gaining in momentum, we meet his mother, and Custer’s love for Tulip is put to the test.  Yeah, it’s all good stuff.

The graphic novel runs for a total of 256 pages which includes 7 pages showing the full cover artwork of the original comic covers.

© DLS Reviews



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