Preacher vol. 9 TPB: Alamo – Garth Ennis

4 out of 5

Yeah, my first experience with Preacher was way after the fact, in trade form.  That’s fine. I had the benefit of being able to zoom through the story; to see the one-shots / minis as part of the larger narrative; to be able to move right into the next arc when the sheriff arc proved generally pointless.  This also means I could read the entire conclusion – collected in Alamo – in one sitting, and though it has certainly been many a years since that first read, I recall feeling a weird mix of satisfaction – every lingering plot thread attended to! – and disappointment, as there’s really no final showdown, with Garth trying, once again, to remind us that this was a story about friendship and romance, I guess.  And a Western, of course, with the cowboy riding off into the sunset.  But given how big and bold the buildup was – the proclamation to take down god, the reveal of the Grail – it was always kind of odd that the big ol’ throwdown is between Jesse and Cassidy (and isn’t so much a throwdown as a fist fight we’ve seen a few times already), and that the actual big throwdown, in heaven, happened off page.  I do wonder what this would’ve been like to read month to month.

But I get it.  There really isn’t a grand version of events that wouldn’t lose something in translation to the page, and also not be pandering to some of the comic book-isms Garth would snipe at in the series – a series that, meanwhile, in one of its many ironies, also glorified sick gags and violent gore, mind you – and Preacher had been working on grounding and grounding and grounding things in its back 1/2 or so (sheriff arc included…), so… I get it.  And with that in mind, it really does work.  It really does touch on everything, without straying from who the characters “are”, and although it unfortunately, in retrospect, boils down to a white male apologetic fantasy, it’s trying to change – Jesse is trying to change – and so it’s fitting that we are spared some blood-splattered, angel-slaughtering epic conclusion, and get a well paced yarn that, frankly, is probably one of the most comprehensive, thought out endings to a longer-running, single creator series.  I can’t think of any other way to end it, even if it is lacking in some popcorn worthy splash pages.

The trade includes a set of pinups as a bonus.