The Midnight Assassin

So, The Midnight Assassin is not at all something I would normally have read or even heard about. I’m not really on top of my historical crime novels anymore. (Although I willingly admit to having read a ton of them in the past.)

But my mom’s book club read it and she gave me her copy when she was done with it. AND IT’S GREAT. I mean, it would be better if it had a definitive conclusion (like, say if they caught the guy before he maybe went on to be Jack the Ripper or whatever). But still, it’s super interesting and very well written.

One of my favorite aspects of it was that it was also a narrative of the history of Austin. In the background of these grizzly, seemingly random murders, the place I currently live is growing from a small town into a real city. The pictures of things like the Driscoll hotel right after they finished building it standing alone on a 6th Street that is not yet crawling with drunk college kids, and the UT campus surrounded by green space and “overflowing with 230 students” were almost impossible to believe considering how big the city is now and almost as interesting to read about as the murders themselves or the historical racism that definitely contributed to them never being solved.

Also, if you’re a fan of the Texas Monthly’s long form journalism, this is basically just an extra long article. Skip Hollandsworth has written some of my favorite Texas Monthly pieces – all of those are great reads if you have a free hour or so before anyone expects you to do anything. If you have actual stuff humans expect you to do in the world, here’s an overview Texas Monthly did of Skip Hollandsworth and the super weird stuff he likes to write about that’s a much more reasonable length.

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Preacher

I feel obliged to post this before the TV show starts up (May 22nd, in case you didn’t know) even though I just finished reading all the comics a few days ago. So I feel like I’m still thinking them over .

I really enjoyed these comics overall! (Cool, got that nicety out of the way. Now to complain! And then after that more nice things, I promise.)

So, the art was probably my biggest issue with the series. Which seems so silly. But it is absolutely the most generic 90’s comic book art. All of the faces are drawn exactly the same. If characters don’t have different specific outfits they wear in every single frame (good thing Jesse has a priest collar on, honestly) it’s hard to tell them apart. Nothing is pretty. Nothing even stands out. It’s just visually plain and honestly a little confusing when side characters are introduced who aren’t readily distinguishable from the main ones.

(Jesse, Cassidy, and Tulip in a diner.)

Generic human faces. And these are the three main characters in a well lit room, so this is as good as it gets.

Also, as was pretty common in 90’s comics, women make up about 5% of this universe. There’s Tulip (yay Tulip!), her one friend (who is a barely developed character except that she is in love with Jesse and talks to both Tulip and Jesse about that at various points, which is not a particularly believable human thing), Jesse’s evil grandma, Featherstone (the Grail apparently controls Catholicism the world over but only needed one lady operative), and some girls who are only mentioned because of the fact that Cassidy either does or does not date them (spoilers: it ends poorly both ways). That’s it. And only Tulip has any character development or affect on the plot. Which is a real bummer.

And the guys who get so much plot and backstory and importance thrown at them? They both kinda suck. At being people. Also at life. For additional data, the list of characters who warranted Preacher Specials: Cassidy, Herr Starr, Arseface, The Saint of Killers, and “The Good Ol’ Boys” aka Jesse’s terrifying (southern stereotype) violent, inbred, hick cousins. (I read these, none of them were particularly good. Just in case you were curious.)

Jesse is basically the face of benevolent sexism. Tulip is like the only reliable person he knows. Also, as she repeatedly demonstrates throughout the story, she’s super great at killing people. But he leaves her behind every single time he can because he cares about her and she’s a lady human so it’s the right thing to do.

(Tulip being badass.)

Tulip being badass. (Those are bad guys, in case that’s not clear.)

Cassidy… Damnit, you guys. This guy was my favorite for a while. He’s sarcastic and mean AND Irish AND a vampire? But then he’s also your friendly neighborhood rapist, abuser, and absentee father. What. The. Fuck. And then, I guess, that’s all okay because he kind of helps but actually just doesn’t kill Jesse – he only breaks his collar bone and then asks for forgiveness. Which, I guess, if these are supposed to have Catholic morals maybe has its own consistent internal logic? Still,  I am full of rage for the ongoing non-death of Cassidy.

ANYWAYS I promised you pros and I have them! I am not a liar!

The plot of these comics is just awesome. There was probably some stuff I missed with the hierarchy of angels and demons and god and maybe even Jesse’s creepy family where knowing a little bit more about religious texts would have been helpful. Even without that understanding, I still speed read my way through them because I just had to know what happened.

Also there’s Tulip! I don’t know, have I mentioned that she’s really cool already? Why couldn’t this just be her story? She’s raised by her survivalist single dad until he dies and she goes to private school and meets her rich best friend who she then saves at a party and spends most of the rest of her life protecting good people she encounters just because it’s the right thing to do. Tulip is the real hero, guys.

And The Saint of Killers! Who I primarily like because he is basically Roland Deschain back before the Dark Tower went on way too long and I started to hate him.

So I have long since learned not to get my hopes up about TV adaptations (or movies, or radio shows…all of it is mostly a let down). But I am definitely going to watch this to find out.

But so far it looks like THEY ADDED DIVERSITY! (At least a little bit. I’ve only seen the photos of the cast they’ve put on Instagram so far.)

I can’t help but wonder how they’re going to do the special effects exactly though. This could be horrendously cheesy or very interesting… TBD.

(Glowing ball of angry space baby)

How are they gonna do this in a way that’s not hilarious?

Will religious people burn the AMC offices down? Does AMC even have offices? We’ll find out!

(Jesse meet Genesis. Genesis, Jesse.)

Jesse meet Genesis. Genesis, Jesse.