The Late lamented Vertigo imprint in the 90s was dominated, I think, by two titles – THE SANDMAN at the start of the decade, and PREACHER at the end of it. Both of them are fantastic series and I don’t mean to compare them with each other; THE SANDMAN has its roots in old and high fantasy which lends itself to a certain type of storytelling, while PREACHER is very definitely rooted in the (then) present, the world of Tarantino, violence and horror. One thing that Garth Ennis has over THE SANDMAN, though, is his ear for dialogue – this issue is mostly narrated by Cassidy, the Irish vampire, recounting his origin story to Jesse, and it’s full of profanity and wonderful turns of phrase and the occasional profundity as well.
The above isn’t the best example of a life view, but it makes sense from Cassidy’s point of view who, by this time, has had a rough old life.
We get to see Cassidy’s first group of friends that he made after landing in New York, though the only one with any real personality is Mick MacCann – the others are little more than a couple of appearances, and a couple of catch phrases, a device that Ennis relies on too heavily in a lot of his other work. There’s ruminations on the Easter Rising of 1916 which was covered in the previous issues, and Cassidy’s not a fan:
It’s Mick MacCann lending Cassidy a copy of Dracula that allows him to realise what he was and move on in the world, and after two decades he knows he’s not getting any older – at least in terms of appearance – while MacCann and the others are, and so decides to tell them that he’s leaving, rather than watch them all get old and die.
Despite his best intentions though, he’s unable to face them and instead stands outside their regular pub and watches them leave.
Cassidy’s relationship issues will play a larger part in the series as it goes on.
It’s a damn fine issue with no real action, just a collection of scenes from Cassidy’s past that help explain who he is and why he feels an attachments to Jesse, which will pay off terribly in later issues. Ennis’s writing is aided and abetted throughout the entire series by the wonderfully clean line work of the late Steve Dillon which still looks good to this day.
If you’re one of the three people who’ve never read the series, it’s heartily recommended.
And I had a letter printed in one issue, as well!