‘Preacher’ (Season 1): Moving Picture Prologue

When Preacher started its run last month, I hadn’t read a single issue of the series. Since then, well, I’ve not made it too far into the comic, but not from a lack of enjoyment. In fact, if you’re enjoying the show, I’d highly recommend seeking out the first volume and seeing how different elements from the book have changed or stayed faithful so far. However, one thing that I was already hearing from the start was that, while the tone and characters were all on point, the timeline wasn’t quite matching up.

Now, having read those first few issues, it’s much easier to definitively say that this first season of Preacher is taking an interesting route by essentially serving as a prequel to the events that originally served as the start of the series. Of course, to discuss what exactly this means, there are going to be spoilers for the comic. Now, there’s no telling how closely the show will end up following the comic moving forward, and there’s already some elements that have been changed or moved around in significant ways. Still, if you want to stay as unspoiled as possible for the show, now is the time to click away from this page.

So, how does the comic start out, then? Instead of meeting Jesse as an aimless preacher trying his best to keep his father’s church going strong, the book introduces us to him after he’s fled Anneville following the church burning down. He’s already got Genesis inside of him, and Tulip and Cassidy run into him after they’ve already met each other. It’s a pretty major difference, one that leaves everything we’ve seen so far on the show as either unknown or only vaguely mentioned.

It’s a bold choice; with an adaptation like this, your biggest allies or opponents are going to be people who were already fans. By choosing to focus on such an unexpected starting point, you risk alienating fans who just want to get to the action their familiar with. However, you also have the chance to give those same fans something new, which can be a lot of fun in its own right.

So far, I think it’s worked well, and allowed me to start reading the book without worrying too much about spoiling the show. Sure, I now have a rough idea of where things will be going – the church burning down and having the trio on the run seems like a perfect way to open a second season – but I don’t entirely know how things will play out within the confines of this season. Even better, it lets the show have a unique narrative that stands alone, and should the show get cancelled, viewers can get a pretty solid continuation in print.

Plus, there are definitely elements from the book that have been moved forward and introduced sooner, such as the Adephi angels DeBlanc and Fiore or the briefly glimpsed Saint of Killers in the second episode. And really, those Easter Eggs are probably plenty when the show has found actors that so perfectly capture Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy, the series’ three main characters?

Overall, having the first season of Preacher serve as a prequel of sorts to the comic is a strong choice, one that I’m interested to see play out in the back half of the season.