Preacher Vol. 6: War in the Sun
written by Garth Ennis
illustrated by Steve Dillon
Vertigo Comics (1999)
I have enjoyed this series far too much to bother being offended by some of the depictions and subject matter. Ennis and Dillon do just too good a job to warrant scorn. And I'm not sure exactly how many more volumes there are in this series, but I've been savoring each one, dreading the moment when I read the last one.
With War in the Sun, the inevitable showdown between Reverend Jesse Custer and the Saint of Killers finally happens. And after that encounter ends the only way it could have, and not necessarily the way I wanted, Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy have to contend with Herr Starr and a f**kload of military firepower.
Speaking of Starr, there's an origin story of sorts, as the bad man with a penis for a scalp climbs the ranks of the Grail, his worldview forged in the blood of a little girl who died in his arms. Don't call him sentimental, though. Starr's motivation is hardly an altruistic one, especially given how ruthless and vindictive he is in his pursuit of Custer and company. Seeing how this eminently flawed and focused dictator-in-waiting rose from the ranks of the military to that of the leader of a cult bent on seeing the second coming of Christ, it was a sight to behold. Though, not quite the sight it was to see his fall from grace in this book's pages. Woo-whee, I did not see that coming.
It was a bit surprising to see little of Jess Custer and his gal and his best vampire bud in this book, with the focus geared just as much towards Starr, and even a fair chunk to the increasingly annoying Arseface. Why Ennis and Dillon felt it needed to spend so much time on Arseface's rise and fall in the music charts, it's beyond me. I'm just thankful it didn't take up too much time and was more than made up for with one of the most spectacular battles I can recall seeing splashed on the pages of a comic book.
With only a few volumes left in this series, I can't imagine I could love Preacher any more than I do now. But, if there's one thing I've learned from reading this series, it's that Ennis and Dillon are quite capable of outdoing themselves. Bring on Salvation.