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Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Mommy's Little Monsters: Saint of Killers 

The figure looms large in a lot of Garth Ennis’s fiction: men who, in war, find something inside themselves that ultimately consumes them. A primal, interior monster of hate, one that assumes dominance and uses the man’s intelligence to turn mere rage into atrocity. Possession by the dark side. Hyde run rampant over Jekyll. See the seeds of it in Ennis’s take on Judge Dredd, or his Enemy Ace, and most prolifically in Marvel’s vengeance machine the Punisher. But none of those properties were his; no matter how much he plumbed out of the characters, no matter how much reinvention Ennis is permitted, they don’t and will never belong to him.

Enter Preacher and the Saint of Killers. Finally allowed to run rampant and create his own mythos, Ennis and artist Steve Dillon cut right to the bone on one of the central themes of all their work together. The Saint – though once a living man, he’s never given a proper name anywhere in the series – haunts every issue with a relentlessness and purity of purpose that terrifies even God Himself. The Saint kills because he hates… and his hate is bottomless.

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