Preacher 4: Ancient History

preacher volume 4 ancient history cover review
4.0 Overall Score
Story: 4/10
Art: 7/10

Saint of Killers story isn't bad

The worst aspects of Ennis's writing

Comic Info

Comic Name:  Preacher:  Saint of Killers/Preacher:  The Story of You-Know-Who/Preacher:  The Good Old Boys

Publisher:  DC Comics/Vertigo

Writer:  Garth Ennis

Artist:  Steve Pugh/Carlos Ezquerra/Richard Case

# of Issues:  6

Release Date:  1998

preacher the saint of killers #1 cover review

Preacher: The Saint of Killers #1

Reprints Preacher:  Saint of Killers #1-4, Preacher:  The Story of You-Know-Who #1, and Preacher:  The Good Old Boys (August 1996-August 1997).  The Saint of Killers wasn’t always a Devil infused killing machine…but he has always been a killer.  The Saint of Killer wants revenge and he’s willing to sacrifice anything to do it.  Arseface recalls the events that led him to try to take his own life, and Jody and T.C. find themselves caught up in a battle between international mercenaries and a cop trying to prove himself innocent.

Written by Garth Ennis, Preacher Volume 4:  Ancient History is a DC Comics collection printed under the Vertigo imprint.  Following Preacher Volume 3:  Proud Americans, the trade paperback feature art by Steve Pugh, Carlos Ezquerra, and Richard Case.  Issues in this collection were reprinted in Preacher—Book 3, Absolute Preacher—Book 2, and Preacher:  The Twenty-Fifth Anniversary Omnibus—Volume 1.

Preacher is divisive for me, and Preacher 4:  Ancient History is part of the reason why.  The volume is a collection of the four issue Preacher:  Saint of Killers series (August 1996-November 1996) and the two extra-length one-shots Preacher:  The Story of You-Know-Who #1 (December 1996) and Preacher:  The Good Old Boys #1 (August 1997).  The collection represents some of the worst of Preacher.

The Saint of Killers four issue series isn’t bad, but it also feels extended.  The issue feels like it could have been a one-shot and the story is like that of an extra-long Tales from the Crypt story.  A wronged man with a past returns from Hell to get revenge on those who took everything from him.  It is simple and probably doesn’t need four issues to tell.

preacher the story of you know who #1 cover arseface

Preacher: The Story of You-Know-Who #1

Arseface was like a throwaway joke that keep going.  The character (like most of the characters in Preacher) has a tragic backstory that is told in full here.  It is a horrible story of abuse and a kid that never had a chance, but then it digresses into a one-off line about how stupid the guy is.  The whole character in general is insensitive, and not helpful to the discussion about suicide, but it really doesn’t help that he’s almost a punch line.  It is played as edgy, but it seems just like low-hanging fruit.

The Good Old Boys stories just goes for surreal.  It is played in the “real” Preacher universe, but it is full of stock characters in a 1980s romance action movie like Romancing the Stone.  The hillbilly hicks T.C. and Jody don’t have much dimension besides being racist rednecks and this doesn’t add anything…it was like Ennis just liked the characters and resented killing them off as soon as he did.

The Preacher story has some great aspects to it, but Ennis’s writing often panders to the lowest denominator…and this collection represents that.  It is meandering and dull, and doesn’t bring much more to the story that couldn’t have been mentioned in passing.  This divergence from the main story also creates a chilling effect on the story as a whole since it feels like there is enough Preacher stories that it doesn’t need to be doing side stories.  Preacher 4:  Ancient History is followed by Preacher 5:  Dixie Fried.

Related Links:

Preacher 1:  Gone to Texas

Preacher 2:  Until the End of the World

Preacher 3:  Proud Americans

Preacher—Season 1 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Preacher—Season 2 Review and Complete Episode Guide

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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