Why do contemporary audiences love superheroes? One answer seems obvious: they make us feel powerful.
As beings made in the image of God, we long for justice. As fallen creatures, however, we often lack the means—or bravery—to bring that justice about. Comics, movies, and TV shows about caped crusaders and teams of mutant heroes provide us with something we crave: an imagined space where we can explore what it’s like to uphold righteousness with reckless abandon, even in the face of cosmic evils that dwarf those dogging us in the here-and-now.
Well, as of a few weeks ago, there’s yet another new superhero on the block—only this time, he’s toting a Bible and sporting a clerical collar.
On May 22, AMC presented its pilot for Preacher, the latest project from Breaking Bad co-producer and writer Sam Catlin. Based on the late-‘90s comic of the same name, Preacher follows Jesse Custer (Dominic Cooper), a small-town Texas minister with a sordid past and a disillusioned faith. By the end of the pilot episode, Jesse joins the superhuman ranks when a mysterious, celestial being (called “Genesis” in the comics) possesses him, giving him god-like abilities.
Early reviews have been mostly positive. Preacher looks to be fresh spin on an old formula, taking the superhero story’s concerns about justice and power and projecting them into the life of a church’s world-worn shepherd. It’s also grim, gritty, and violent. Like Breaking Bad before it, Preacher isn’t afraid to portray the troubling, taboo, and degenerate. (Flannery O’Connor fans will feel right at home.) Christian audiences are likely to wonder, then: is Preacher just a churched-up Game of Thrones with ...1
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