Project Vertigo 2: Sandman 3 & Preacher 1

A note to the reader: I shamelessly stole the bit about cats from my own blog on the subject, so don’t bother pointing it out. Also, it is even funnier when you realize I start bagging on Garth Ennis about a lack of originality later in this review. Don’t question it.

In Sandman volume 3, the series really starts to shine. The stories, while not presenting a cohesive whole, are certainly engaging. All save the cat story. There is nothing more annoying than cat people, and I had no idea Neil Gaiman was one of their foul ilk. People who own cats are only capable of discussing one topic – Their cats. Their worship of their feline counterparts makes the ancient Egyptians look tame by comparison. Here is a hint: Your cat is not mysterious. It is a cat. It is just like every other cat out there. Your cat does not love you. It loves the food you bring it. If you die, your cat will waste no time eating your face, leaving a grim skull faced reminder of feline treachery for your neighbors to find when they finally get down to searching out “that weird smell.” Your cat is not smart. Your cat is one step up the evolutionary ladder from a dog, which is borderline retarded. Unfortunately that step was “arrogance”, which is not a becoming trait when you lick your own ass and have barbed genitals. The earth will be a better place once we remove the blight upon the land known as cat owners. Enough about cats, and back to Sandman, who I note is definitely not a cat. Calliope is the best of the lot, and I feel like I am getting a better grasp on the Sandman character as the series progresses. Provided future cat based stories are avoided, I have high hopes for this series. Unless said cat is Lion-O from the Thundercats. He is bad ass. Or Cheetara. Rowr.

That brings me to Preacher. Preacher is a serious divergence from Sandman. Almost like switching from Lord of the Rings to Star Trek The Next Generation. Sure, you are still in nerd central, but the landscape is strange and unfamiliar. Though maybe Riker kind of looks like Aragorn if you squint hard, and you could confuse Picard for Gandalf as they are both swishy English types, and I am almost positive that someone somewhere has written a fan fiction combining the two worlds on the holodeck and involving Legolas making out with Wesley Crusher to stop a giant monster shaped like a penis. So maybe that is not the best example.

Where Sandman is dreamy and symbolic, Preacher is firmly rooted in the carnal. There are some scenes involving angels and talk about God in there, but they are physical entities rather than beings of spirit, and it is presented in a mocking fashion. Garth Ennis seemingly takes great joy in trying to be edgy by assaulting religion while simultaneously knowing little about it, a tactic which is about as edgy as a jello sphere. Do not try to picture what that looks like or your brain will melt. I think his views on religion were summed up by the splash page featuring an angel and demon copulating. I really did not need to see it, but he threw it in my face anyway, just to be obnoxious. I’m sure goatee wearing, black clad, hipster, self aggrandizing atheists everywhere loved that and got bathroom reading use out of it for years, but I did not care for it, as it added nothing to the proceedings. And why was the demon female? Oh, right, because Koop taught us that devil girls are hot. Not only was it arrogant and obnoxious, it was unoriginal. A trifecta. Bravo, sir. Bravo.

Preacher was funny, but not thought provoking. Fun, but not substantive. I am eager to see where the Jesse goes, but I do not expect to learn anything along the way. To me, what perfectly sums up the series is the “Go **** yourself” joke involving Jesse and the sheriff. I understood what was implied, but then Ennis saw fit to cut to the sheriff in an ambulance, where we learn that he severed his own member and inserted it into his own rectum. All well and good. Then, later, we cut back to Jesse explaining what happened. Again. Congratulations, Garth Ennis, you have now explained the joke twice, because your audience is seemingly too stupid to grasp the subtle nuance with which you deftly executed that “joke”. At that point, I couldn’t help but feel like the author was pissing on my head… a feeling you can simulate for $20 and a ticket to Bangkok. Because in Bangkok you can pay someone $20 to urinate on you. I paid $20 for someone to pee on my head in Bangkok.

Do you see how insulting that is?

I feel like both books had their strengths, with Sandman being the stronger and more adult of the two. There is definitely a place for Preacher, and the differences between the works should provide some nice point/counter-point in the future, provided Ennis can refrain from insulting his readers and Gaiman can rein in his borderline illegal love of cats. I am implying Gaiman may engage in bestiality with felines. Neil Gaiman might be a cat ****er. (I don’t actually believe this. Please don’t sue me, Neil Gaiman.)



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