First published within a single compilation volume back in June of 2000, ‘Preacher Vol 8: All Hell’s A-Coming’ was written by Garth Ennis with artwork by Steve Dillion.  The compilation volume contained the next eight ‘Preacher’ comics (issues 51 - 58) plus the Preacher Special ‘Tall In The Saddle’.

DLS Synopsis:

Issues 51 – 58

Reverend Jesse Custer knows he needs to find his girl – the love of his life – Tulip O’Hare. It’s been six months since he fell from the plane to what Tulip believed was his certain death. In the months since then, Tulip had been on an emotional, drug and alcohol induced descent. Due in no small part to the detrimental influence of the alcoholic Irish vampire Proinsias Cassidy.

Custer knew his supposed old friend had moved in on his girl. He’d seen the two together in a bar. The sight of that had almost destroyed him. Nevertheless, he knew he had to see her again. She needed to know he was still alive. And she needed to know he still loved her with all his heart.

However, locating Tulip and Cassidy wasn’t that simple. She could be anywhere by now. But he had to try. And so, Custer started to look in the first place that came to mind. Tulip’s old best friend - Amy Grinderbinder. After all, the two had a hell of a lot of history. It was Tulip who saved Amy from being gang-raped all those years ago. There was a good chance Tulip might have sought out Amy after all that had happened. Seeking the comfort and companionship of a true friend who Tulip knew would always be there for her.

However, though Custer’s search for Tulip, he learns a hell of a lot more about the disturbing past of his once friend – Cassidy. Custer’s hunt for the two of them had taken him to New York. A place where Cassidy’s reputation for using and abusing those who get close to him has not been forgotten.

Meanwhile, the Sacred Executioner for the Grail – Eisenstein – has been checking up on Herr Starr and his involvement with the team of armed thugs behind the destruction of Masada. Starr knows the aging Grail agent is close to discovering the truth about Custer and indeed Starr’s plans to utilise the reverend’s powerful Word of God. Such a discovery in the wrong hands is something that Starr can’t let happen…

Tall In The Saddle

Back when Jesse Custer was a young man, long before his life was irreversibly changed through the joining with Genesis, he and Tulip would find themselves in a spot of trouble from time to time because of his somewhat dubious ways of getting by.

This had led to Custer getting himself in a whole heap of trouble, to the tune of a one-million-dollar debt which he owed to a local crook by the name of B.W. Langtry. You see, Custer ran into a spot of bother with a consignment of stolen cars which ended up taking a dive off a cliff edge.

Now Langtry wants Custer to move a truckload of stolen horses for him as a way of settling the debt. But this is Texas, and a man’s horse is not one to be messed with. So, when Custer point blank refuses, things get ugly real quick. And all of a sudden, Custer has one of the meanest Texas villains baying for his blood…

DLS Review:
Once you’re quite far along with a lengthy series, it’s always handy to have a quick recap on where we are and who’s who. So having a short 2-Page character bio for six of the key characters who appear in this next instalment, along with a further 2-Page “The Story So Far” recap, is a very pleasant reminder. To be honest, I’d had myself a relatively lengthy break from the series when I came to finally picking up this next instalment, and so quickly revisiting who’s who and where we’re at with things, was an absolute godsend for me. That and reading my own review from for the previous book – good old in-depth dissections!

Anyway, a good chunk of this eighth volume is with the delivery of a detailed backstory for Custer’s lover – Tulip O’Hare. The volume starts off right back from when she was born and with the death of her mother during the birth. The backstory is rich with history and well-scribed character development, which ultimately shapes the strong, independent and kick-ass deadly assassin we know and love.

It would be fair to say the majority of the volume is one that’s dedicated to the love story of Custer and Tulip. It’s focussed on their reunion and the true strength of their bond. But there’s also a strong sidestory thrown in regarding Tulip’s unlikely best friend – Amy Grinderbinder (you’ve just gotta love the names Ennis gives his characters).

Yes, we also have some other stuff going on in this book, namely more revelations from Cassidy’s dark past through which a far more unpleasant side to his personality is exposed. There’s also a sprinkling of the ongoing story of Arseface as well as Herr Carr’s endless troubles, which are all thrown into the pot to keep those other storylines ploughing onwards. However, the main focus within this volume is undoubtedly with the reunion of the two lovers, their detachment from Cassidy, and bringing Amy further into everything.

To be honest, for a Preacher story, there’s actually not all that much over-the-top action and crazy-ass shenanigans in this instalment. The collection is named “All Hell’s A-Coming” and it’s kinda just that. A huge fucking storm’s on its way and this is bedding everything in, ready for the whirlwind of carnage that’s gonna follow.

That’s not to say there’s not plenty in here to get your teeth into. The character development alone carries you through the entire thing. We’re given so much more of Tulip and Amy, whilst we’re forcibly pushed into rejecting Cassidy as a wholeheartedly unpleasant abuser of those close to him. How the whole Cassidy thing turns out is anyone’s guess now. And damn am I chomping at the bit to find out where Ennis goes with that particular character arch in volume nine.

All in all this is another solid addition to the whole Preacher saga. I can imagine some fans might be a tad disappointed with the slight lack of explosive action and wackiness compared with the preceding volumes. Although you still get some of that grin-inducing madness with the ongoing Arseface story (his rise to fame is only short lived I’m afraid), as well as Herr Starr’s crumbling mission. But I’m sure the majority of readers will absolutely lap up the depth of characterisation that’s shovelled into this penultimate volume. I for one did.

Of course, you also get the bonus Preacher Special ‘Tall In The Saddle’ at the end of the volume. This is a wild ride of an over-the-top story, taking us back to Custer’s early days as a young car thief in Texas. Custer might not have the Word of God in his arsenal yet, but he’s still the same man, guided by his principles and always ready and willing to throw a few fists when he doesn’t see eye to eye with someone.

Ennis of course doesn’t hold back with throwing in some hilarious exaggerated and downright crass stereotypes – in particular a horsemeat-eating Frenchie who’s trying to get his sweaty hands on a big-ass consignment of fresh meat. Is it offensive? It’s certainly not something I’m going to worry about.

Quite simply, another classic addition to the backstory of Jesse Custer, Tulip O’Hare, and Amy Grinderbinder.

The graphic novel runs for a total of 250 pages.

© DLS Reviews



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