Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Jesse Custer: Man's Man

This is the first in a new series about the manly men of comics. To get things started, let’s discuss one of my favorite books of all time.

Ah...Preacher. This was before Garth Ennis attained Godlike status in the fanboy world. This is also the pre any-gay-joke-is-a-funny-gay-joke Ennis. The one sentence describing Preacher would probably be

“A preacher from Texas becomes the host of a superpowerful spirit born of and angel and a devil, who goes on a quest to find God.” Like so many great works, any brief description does not do the series justice. Preacher features kick-ass action, rich character development, and an ending that is less about finding God than finding the value of friendship and love. Yes I said ending. Preacher has a run of almost 70 issues but eventually ended in an incredibly satisfying manner.

The main character is Jesse Custer. Despite being an actual preacher, he has some serious anger issues.

We find out more about why in later issue. One day when he is particularly not feeling the whole God thing, he is invested with a powerful spirit.

This spirit gives him a superpower. He can, at will, use the “Word of God” and compel anyone who hears it to do as he says. Sort of like a hyper version of Wonder Woman’s Golden Lasso. Suprisingly, despite having this power, Jesse Custer uses it very rarely. Jesse Custer is more about the fisticuffs than the word of God.

He can take it.

And he can dish it out.

You can also tell he is a badass by the company he keeps. Jesse’s best friend is a Vampire.

His girlfriend is tough as nails

His “Fairy Godfather” is John Wayne

And check out his rocking cigarette lighter

Jesse never met a brawl he didn’t like,

But he has a sensitive side. Take this scene.

Trust me, it is out of context here but it was easily one of the most poignant moments in the entire series. He is ordering his vampire buddy Cassidy to let go of him as he dangles from an airplane high above the Arizona desert, thus saving Cassidy but ensuring his own doom. (How he survives the fall is a really cool story in itself)

In the end, Jesse Custer proves you don’t need superpowers to be a badass. Just tenacity and a real enjoyment of the ultraviolence.

Jesse Custer: Mans Man Indeed!

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