Preacher - Jesse's Word (spoilers)

I just finished reading the full run of Preacher. Man. What a story. No kidding, I actually cried a little.

Never mind that now, though. One loose end that wasn’t tied up was the time Jesse’s Word stopped working. He tried it on Jody twice when he and Tulip were about to make short work of her former boss. Later, his grandma said “it’ll never work on us”. When Tulip has been resurrected, God tells her he has restored Jesse’s power. Finally, after Jesse has fallen out of the plane he wonders if God really restored his power, or if it came back on by itself, suggesting that God is full of it.

So what really happened? Does God really have the power to turn off the Word, a power that is supposed to be as strong as him? If he does, I can think of a couple of other times when he would have used that ability. If he doesn’t, why did it stop working? Any thoughts?

I figured it was a psychological block. Jesse’s always felt powerless against his family, and this reasserted itself later as both an inability to use his Word against them, and a general pussiness when being confronted by them. There’s no reason at all he couldn’t have taken them apart right there in that office, except that we he sees them again he reverts to that scared little boy who got locked in the coffin when he was “bad.” Later, after getting dressed down by The Duke, he realizes that he’s not that little boy any more, and that he can (and must) stand up to them. As for God’s claims that he was responsible for his powers being turned on and off, well, God is far from all-powerful, but he’s powerful enough to sense what has happened to Jesse, and capitalize on it to make himself look better.

All contradictions in PREACHER mythology can be answered with the four word meme, “Ennis changed his mind.” SEE ALSO: How did Cassidy survive the Saint’s gunshot? and Why is “Jesse Custer” an anagram of Secret Jesus?

He was already dead? I don’t have the book with me right now, but his guns are supposed to kill any living thing with one shot. Kinda gives vampires an “out,” y’know?

I don’t quite follow your point about the anagram thing.

There was rampant internet speculation about twenty issues or so before the end of PREACHER – one of the more intriguing theories was that far from being just a patsy that Herr Starr wanted to use to usurp the Grail, Jesse Custer was in fact the reincarnated soul of Jesus and that’s why Genesis merged with him in the first place. So: we have a 33 year old Jesse beginning an anti-god ministry on Earth (aka “Secret Jesus”) in America performing his own set of miracles and gathering is own weird set of apsotles and getting into all kinds of trouble and ending the supremacy of The Grail. The series would have ended somewhat differently than the ending we got.

But Ennis doubtless heard/read some of this speculation and I remain convinced he deliberately changed whatever original ending he’d planned for the series. He has Tulip mocking internet fans about Jesse being Jesus in that issue where he has Hoover forget he made him count three million grains of sand, and says as much to reader about his change of plans in his letter that Cassidy wrote to Jesse, in a line that read, (I’m paraphrasing) “Isn’t it funny how you think you’re doing something for one reason all along, and in the end, it’s about something else?”

I mean, come on. It was a nice ending and all but I refuse to believe that PREACHER was always about the redemption of Cassidy’s soul–!!

I find that easier to believe than the idea that Ennis rewrote the ending to his largest, most ambitious work to date merely to frustrate internet fanboys.

However, even as written, I don’t think the whole point of the series was the salvation of Cassidy. It was the maturation of Jesse Custer, and allegorically, the maturation of the atheistic viewpoint, moving beyond the adolescent “God sucks!” attitude that fueled the beginning of the series, and focusing instead on things that actually matter, such as (to cite just one example) helping your friends when they’re in dire need. At least, that’s what I took from the series, and in that context, the ending worked magnificently.

Miller. You say “merely” as if that’s some small ambition. There’s plenty of comic book writers who looo-ooo-ooove to mess with fans: Garth Ennis, Warren Ellis, Frank Miller, John Byrne, etc. Frankly, I wouldn’t put it past any of 'em. Alan Moore made the second League of Extraordinary Gentlemen even more obscure reference when he realized Jess Nevins was annotating it.

And I’m not suggesting that the ending was re-written wholesale, just that I believe different parts of it were likely de-emphasized, refocussed and edited from whatever the original ending he had in mind, very likely losing whatever point he was going to make with the “secret Jesus” anagram.

Frank Miller did much the same thing with the destruction of Metropolis sequence in DK2; retooling and re-writing the ending reflecting on the destruction of NYC on 9/11.

Good point. I should say, instead, that if Ennis had been trying to mess with his fan’s heads, he would have done a better job of it. It just doesn’t work particularly well as a “Ha-ha you weren’t expecting that!” type of ending. If that had been Ennis’ goal, I have to think it would have been a far more epic mind fuck.

I don’t see how the ending, as it is, detracts from the anagram. From the beginning of the series, Custer has been meant as a Christlike figure (forget the anagram; his initials are JC, f’rchrissakes!) and the ending of the series completes that analogy, right down to his sacrifice and ressurection.

Yeah, and look what a mess that turned out to be.

I assumed it was because he’s already dead. In fact, I have a theory that the Saint couldn’t have killed either Jesse or Tulip after their respective resurrections.

I don’t believe that either. I believe Preacher was always about the relationship between Jesse and Tulip. That’s why I really disliked that Jesse left her behind again. They should have been past that shit at that point. Sure, Jesse didn’t want her along when he was going to die, and Ennis didn’t want us to know that he was going to sacrifice himself, but it could have been done. Jesse could have told Tulip “offscreen” and she could have decided to come along anyway. The rest of the story would have been virtually unaffected.

I also agree that the ending was not what was originally planned. If you remember when Starr has his leg cut off and is in the hillbilly house, he claims, as he does the disgusting wiping favor for the boy to get the gun, “For what I am now forced to do, I will one day wreak vengeance upon God himself.” I think that really had to do with future situations that didn’t end up happening. And as for wether they enjoyed tricking the fans- when we picked up the last comic (or collection of them in my case), we expected a huge climactic stand off at the Alamo; that’s what makes the personal battle between friends that occured in front of it instead so unexpected and great. I also shed some tears.

At that point, a big battle would’ve just been lame of course- kind of like the last episode of Buffy if you ask me. By that point the characters are bigger than the story.

“Isn’t it funny when you think your story’s going one way, and it turns out it was going another way all along?” is the word for word. Really, all along? :smiley:

What was up with the part where arseface was in arseworld with the fairy godmother?!? :confused:

I think you’d be hard pressed to find a work of literature in which the ending is exactly what was originally planned.

This I disagree with. It’s just something Starr would say under the circumstances. Perfectly in character. I can’t see how it would be dramaturgically possible to allow Starr to wreak vengeance upon God.

Yeah, that was weeee-eeeerd. While the Arseface-Lorie bit was cute, Arseface could be written out of the story and it wouldn’t have hurt it at all.

So did they ever explain the arseworld thing?

I think it’s another thing Ennis changed his mind on- my first thought was that God was trying to lure arseface and then use him as a weapon against them.