With that new Preacher show bringing the adventures of Jesse, Tulip and that wicked ol’ Cassidy to the a new generation, I thought maybe Faithful Spoilerites would like to hear about the best issue in the entire series.  Fair warning: It’s gonna get explodey.  Your Major Spoilers (Retro) Review of Preacher #37 awaits!

**Today’s Retro Review contains strong language and violence, so exercise your Spoilerite discretion before the clickety.**

Preacher37CoverPREACHER #37
Writer: Garth Ennis
Penciler: Steve Dillon
Inker: Steve Dillon
Colorist: Pamela Rambo
Letterer: Clem Robins
Editor: Axel Alonso
Publisher: Vertigo Comics
Cover Price: $2.50
Current Near-Mint Pricing: $4.00

Previously in Preacher: Jesse Custer, a preacher in the small Texas town of Annville, is accidentally possessed by the supernatural creature named Genesis, the infant product of the unnatural coupling of an angel and a demon.  The incident flattens Custer’s church and kills the entire congregation.  Custer journeys across the United States attempting to literally find God, who abandoned Heaven the moment Genesis was born.  He is joined by his old girlfriend Tulip O’Hare, as well as a hard-drinking Irish vampire named Cassidy, and opposed by The Grail, a secret organization led by Herr Starr, who wants to use Jesse and his power to control minds in Starr’s own bid for power.  Now, Starr, in conjunction with the U.S. military, has made their move…

Unfortunately for both sides, so has the supernatural Saint Of Killers.


Why does Jesse Custer look like five miles of bad road?  Suffice to say that you can’t grab the Saint Of Killers and tell him what to do without consequences and/or internal bleeding.  While he’s been out though, Tulip O’Hare has had him covered…

…which is good, since they’re in the middle of a battlefield, under fire from six divisions of Grail soldiers and an entire armored division.


Thanks to the power of The Word, Custer is able to head off part of their assault, but there are still an awful lot of deadly players on the field, including an Irish vampire, a cursed cowboy and a lot of folks with guns…


Jesse saves his vampire pal from immolation, just in time for Tulip (who, it must be noted, doesn’t particularly want to save Cassidy, who has been a real dirtbag up to this point and who has lied repeatedly about giving up drinking) to save them, while Herr Starr narrowly avoids execution by one of the very men under his command.  This, of course, came AFTER he strong-armed the President into sending out a bomber with a very powerful cargo…


…a cruise missile, aimed right down the neck of the Saint Of Killers.  Of course, with a nuclear weapon in play, everyone in the valley needs to get out quickly.  Thankfully, Tulip has an express ticket, in .45 caliber…


While Starr and his assistant make their way to waiting choppers, Jess, Tulip and Cassidy make a break for it, only to discover Starr’s desperate final gambit the hard way…


“I think maybe the rear door isn’t shut….”  Foreshadowing: Your cue to quality literature.  This issue is part 4 of a 4-part arc, one that has built slowly to a major crescendo, an issue that is pretty much all fight-scene and confrontation, in all the right ways, leading to Herr Starr’s final moment of triumph over the unholy figure that has haunted all these characters’ lives…


There is no fear in that face, my friends.  The ensuing blast rocks the escaping jet, knocking that Chekov’s Gun unsecured door wide open and frying the avionics.  While the pilots desperately try to bring the plane down in one piece, Cassidy and Jesse have other concerns…


Hanging by a thread, his best friend bursting into flames, Custer tries in vain to get Cass to let go, to sacrifice him so that Cassidy will survive.  The vampire refuses, trying desperately to redeem himself, but Jesse isn’t having it.  “Tell her I love her!” shouts the Preacher before using his gift again…


Jesse falls.  Herr Starr’s gunship is not responding.  The plane is rapidly crashing.  But at least…  At least they took care of the Saint Of Killers, right?



Those are perhaps three of the most terrifying words ever, when delivered like that, in the firestorm of a nuclear blast, entirely unperturbed.  You can mock Garth Ennis’ more extreme writing excesses, but that is a moment that is dramatically amazing and utterly terrifying.

And then he follows it up with this heartbreaking exchange…


And that, dear friends, is why you’ll hear me talk about Preacher as an amazing read.  Indeed, as much as any other single issue in the series, these are the pages that define the book for me, even though we’re only at the halfway point of the series.  Preacher #37 is the real deal, an issue that wraps up with a bang (yes, literally as well as metaphorically) and changes the lives of everyone that participates, making for a truly impressive 4.5 out of 5 stars overall.  I’ll be honest: If the TV series can hit this moment, or one like it, this well, we should be in for some great episodes…



The issue that so many climactic arc-enders want to be, full of sound and fury, but highly significant for all the players involved...

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Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture! And a nice red uniform.

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