Garth Ennis and Steve Dillion’s controversial epic continues with a hard look at Cassidy. As Jesse’s right hand man on the search for God, Cassidy has often caused more trouble than he’s prevented. “Preacher: Dixie Fried” starts when the vampire suggests the motely crew head to New Orleans to enlist the help of a voodoo priest. This volume gives insight into Cassidy’s past. Ennis makes it clear that our secondary hero is nothing but trouble as the seeds of treachery are sown within the opening pages.
The narrative of “Preacher” is winding and unpredictable. Throughout all of this forward momentum Cassidy’s efforts have pushed to undo most progress. Jesse is blind to it because he sees a comrade in the vampire. One who will be with him to the end, but we know Cassidy is not quite the friend he makes himself out to be. Cassidy is in love with Tulip.
Naturally Tulip tells Cassidy to get fucked and continue on with his day. Ennis does a remarkable job of selling Cassidy’s desperation. He’s a lonely being who misunderstands his connections with others. In the end he’ll always be alone, and his connections quickly become nothing more than fleeting memories of friends long since dead.
Ennis makes sure to shows us what happens when these friends haven’t passed away. These people are jaded, betrayed, and bitter. Cassidy approaches them, as friends, but each of them detest him for reasons unknown to Jesse and Tulip, although Tulip has formed her assumptions.
“Dixie Fried” ensures that our heroes won’t be happy for long. This is Cassidy’s shining hour. When he’s put under the limelight he’s ugly, broken, and not quite the earnest man he’d like you to believe he is. Ennis’ storytelling is fantastic. He shows Cassidy’s eagerness, but in the end Jesse is no further along in his quest for God than when he first started. Cassidy’s broken relationships push them into a conflict that Jesse has no stake in.
Arseface finally makes contact with Jesse and his revenge is handled with beautiful simplicity. He’s always come across as a flatter character within the world of “Preacher” but his final beats here are true to the character. A fitting end to an odd ass faced man.
A band of wannabe vampires calling themselves “Les Enfants de Sang” are hot for Cassidy. Dillion portrays them as hapless losers who are anything but terrifying. When they take Tulip hostage, Dillion ensures that she has her moment to shine. He shows her kicking ass in a fantastic scene that shows she is absolutely fine on her own. The beautiful blonde is better with a gun than most. The art makes her sexy, powerful, and irresistible.
In the climax of the trade Dillion owns everything. A voodoo ritual enraptures Jesse, which is visually beautiful and utterly useless. Meanwhile these vampire losers attack the group, Cassidy loses his head, beautifully demonstrated by Dillion’s love for gore. While a particular panel with two lovers sharing a sword had me in a state of pure ecstasy.
The volume concludes with a one shot focusing on Cassidy’s past. “Blood and Whiskey” shows us how Cassidy betrayed all of his “friends” from the past story arc. He is a truly selfish being, one who misunderstands his relationships with others, and one who is desperately alone. It would be beautiful if it weren’t so damn sad. Ennis ensures that Cassidy’s treachery is inevitable. He clearly shows the reader that Cassidy will undo Jesse, almost by no fault of his own, its within his character to sever relationships.
The beautiful thing is with any recollection you can see that Cassidy has already undone much of Jesse’s efforts thus far in the series. This storyline may feel like a side road to the ultimate adventure, but it is so important in further solidifying character motivations.
The road ahead is sure to be bathed in blood, sacrilege, and treachery. We’re now onto the back end of Preacher’s run. Stick around as we barrel towards the conclusion of one of the best comic book series of all time.