COMICS: Preacher: Proud Americans

Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon
Preacher: Proud Americans
DC Comics (Vertigo)

Thanks to West Side Story, we all know the havoc to be wreaked when the sister of a dancing Puerto Rican gang member falls in love with an Irish hoodlum/grocery boy. But what about when an angel guarding the gates of heaven is aroused by a demon protecting the gates of hell? Well, they screw like rabbits and spawn a creature as powerful as God, of course.

Hence, Preacher: Proud Americans tells the story of Reverend Jesse Custer, the mortal whose merging with this angelic/demonic hybrid spirit instills within him incredible powers, as well as a hankerin' to kick the Almighty's ass. God is so scared stiff by the possibility of being beaten that he actually flees heaven to lay low and slum amongst his children on earth, occasionally popping up to do some heavenly finger-pointing and name-calling before lighting people up like matches. This probably isn't proper fare for those with a low tolerance for blasphemy, but even the holiest of holies would have to concede the utter originality of the premise.

This is the third collection following the tales of the Preacher, and arguably the most fascinating to date. Proud Americans provides some wonderfully illuminating insights into Custer's late father through a retelling of one of his grim Vietnam escapades, and also divulges the origin of Custer's 97-year-old Irish-vampire sidekick Cassidy. As is the case in all of the superbly written DC/Vertigo titles, the character development defies description. Not only are readers given insight into the motivations of those both good and evil (even though such boundaries are loosely defined), but every minute facet of personality is revealed as well--from a Mafia heavy's lack of a penis to a cult leader's affection for anal stimulation. Obviously, this material isn't for the faint of heart, but no adult could argue its appeal as a diversion from the likes of Hulk Smash!

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