Just a Pilgrim

Just a Pilgrim
Just a Pilgrim review
  • UK publisher / ISBN: Titan Books - 1-84023-377-X
  • North American Publisher / ISBN: Black Bull - 1-84023-377-3
  • Volume No.: 1
  • Release date: 2001
  • UPC: 9781840233773
  • Contains adult content?: yes
  • Does this pass the Bechdel test?: no
  • Positive minority portrayal?: no

Just a Pilgrim could be seen as Garth Ennis taking the ideas used in Preacher in a different direction. It stars another conflicted man with religious leanings happy to resort to violence and murder, but is set in a future where an engorged sun has evaporated most water, reducing life on Earth to savagery. Think Clint Eastwood in the world of Mad Max and you’re about there. Because it’s drawn by Carlos Ezquerra, though, there’s an instant association with 2000AD.

The Pilgrim himself is distinctively designed with a cross shaped scar across his right eye, and Ennis’ script is hilariously bleak with a nice touch being a selection of horrific and miserable biblical quotes spouted by the Pilgrim. Ennis only had to source those, but the threats are from his’ own fetid brain, an early one being a tentacled monster lurking beneath the desert sands that mates with humans. The main enemy is a blind pirate whom Ennis has list a series of memorably disgusting tasks required to join his crew of Bloody Butchers, and other grim images joyously provided by Ezquerra include a man transformed into a giant bollock.

Ezquerra delivers this as if normal in his best lumpy style, featuring lived-in characters contrasted by the impossible innocence of little Billy, whose diary entries are used as a narrative device. Ezquerra revels in the mayhem and delivers the iconography of death on every page, so not a story for the faint-hearted.

We’re given the Pilgrim’s origin, which is a funny deviation from the otherwise predictable route taken, but that’s not very important in the scheme of things, because Just A Pilgrim is about revelling in Ennis’ sublime poor taste. There’s a follow-up titled Garden of Eden, or both are combined as Just A Pilgrim: Complete.