written by Garth Ennis
illustrated by Steve Dillon
DC Comics/Vertigo (1999)
Just when I think Preacher can't push boundaries of good taste any further, I pick up the next volume in the much-heralded series and am quickly shown there are no boundaries at all.
Salvation is a divergence from Jesse Custer's quest to put a curb-stomping on God. After seeing Tulip in the arms of Cassidy, he feels like he just fell out of a plane and hit the ground hard--oh wait, he literally did that. So, rather than take a moment to compose himself and take a rational approach to what's happened, Jesse goes all emo and effs off to a small Texas town called Salvation. And somehow the one-eyed ass-kicker becomes sheriff and the thorn in the side of one weird little sausage baron known as Meatman.
Meatman, real name Odin Quincannon, is a peculiar little turd. Imagine the old guy from those Six Flags commercials from a few years ago, only even more evil and insane. He owns a meat processing plant that is basically the sole industry for the little town of Salvation. It's a pretty bleak existence, as evidenced by the influx of mean-spirited Klanners that make up much of the workforce. Well, Custer will not suffer a fool, and he is pretty much surrounded by them and commenced to putting a good ol' fashioned butt-whoopin' on the more stubborn of the bigoted hayseeds.
Compared the previous six volumes, Salvation feels damn-near bucolic and serene. Perhaps that's because a fair bit of the story revolves around Custer discovering his mother is still alive, and recapturing that familial aspect of his life that had been previously corrupted by those swamp-dwelling villains who had taken him after leaving his mother to die in the swamps. Well, she's alive alright, and with the scars to prove it. But that revelation doesn't do a whole lot to tie in with the main conflict that is Meatman.
It's hard to complain about a Preacher comic, and what little criticism I could offer regarding the gratuitous shock factor and lack of nuance is really of minor concern to me. This volume was an interlude, sure, but one that offered its fair share of humor and horror, sometimes coming all at once.