- Acceptable Religious Targets: One of the main reasons this series exists is to make fun of and/or piss off Christians.
- Alternative Character Interpretation: Is Jesse Custer broadly in the right for most of the series, but with a few flaws, or is he initially a macho, judgmental asshole who learns to be more forgiving and empathetic over the course of the run?
- Complete Monster: As Jesse Custer learns religion is not the answer he's looking for, these three show how dark its purposes can be manipulated for:
- God Himself is a callous narcissist, responsible for the state of the world: having created Earth to see if mankind would love Him, despite knowing the suffering they would go through. This horrified the angels, a full half of whom broke out in rebellion against God, causing Him to start a bloody war and cast the surviving rebels out of Heaven. Engineering the death of a man's family to lead to him becoming the Saint of Killers, God used him to replace the disillusioned Angel of Death. Enchanting a demon and angel to mate, God persecuted the angel father while secretly hoping for the birth of Genesis, just to see if a being more powerful than himself would choose to love Him. Threatening Jesse to abandon his search for Him, God tries to manipulate him into loving Him and tries to damn Jesse for not worshipping Him.
- Marie L'Angelle, Jesse's zealous grandmother, views herself as an agent of God. Seeing her daughter Christina as nothing but a way to breed a strong male preacher, when Christina runs away and gives birth to Jesse, Marie forces the family to stay on her estate, under her abusive control. Having Christina's husband murdered and eventually trying the same with Christina herself, Marie locks Jesse in an airtight coffin under a lake for weeks at a time, hoping to break him and make him accept God. Capturing Jesse years later, Marie has her servants kill Jesse's girlfriend Tulip and once again tries to break him into worshipping her and her religion.
- Jody, Marie's enforcer, is a sadistic bully of a man. Murdering Jesse's father in front of him, Jody sneers when the young boy bursts into tears. Nailing Jesse's dog's head to a post for humping his leg, Jody savagely beats Jesse for attacking him, making him beg while twisting his arm so much the bone snaps out. When he recaptures Jesse and Tulip for Marie, Jody happily shoots and kills Tulip. In a rematch with Jesse, Jody tries to make Jesse suffer as much as possible, and when fatally wounded by Jesse, he feels nothing but pride as his abuses turned Jesse into a killer.
- "Naked City" arc (issues 5-7): Simon "Si" Coltrane is the Reaver Cleaver, a Serial Killer plaguing New York city. He is introduced having flayed a man's face off and showing it to him before nailing it back on upside down. Coltrane sends a victim's scrotum to his widow, before attempting to frame his friend Cassidy for his own crimes, at which point it is revealed that Coltrane has a victim's head in his fridge and a secret room in his apartment, filled with bloody butcher's tools and the still-living victim he flayed, who is begging Cassidy to kill him. Coltrane then attempts to murder Tulip and Jesse, stabbing Tulip through the hand and confessing to her that he has no reason to do what he does, other than finding it amusing.
- Critical Research Failure: One issue focuses on a bartender who went into a clinic for a checkup but, thanks to a clerical error, was mistaken for a registered sex offender and subjected to chemical castration. The comic makes it sound as if the man's genitals were horrifically mangled to the point of being utterly unusable. In reality, chemical castration is medication meant to suppress one's sex drive. All the man would have to do is stop taking the medication and he'd be perfectly fine.
- Crosses the Line Twice: More like it crosses the line six times and is still looking for the next line to cross, with no sign of stopping.Came the day that T.C. fucked the chicken.
- Ensemble Darkhorse: Arseface; he's an extremely minor character who's still reached Memetic Mutation status.
- Genius Bonus:
- When Arseface first sings a song, his dialogue is presented without translation, but if you're already familiar with the song, you can puzzle out that he's singing Oasis' "Wonderwall."
- One of the Adephi describes God's plan to give humanity free will, which sparked a bloody civil war in heaven, as His "Great Leap Forward." This is the same name that Mao Zedong gave to his disastrous social and economic program that caused tens of millions of deaths in China.
- Harsher in Hindsight: Cassidy's loving tribute to New York City is capped by a city skyline focusing on the World Trade Center, which would be destroyed only a few years after publishing.
- Moment of Awesome: After his Happily Failed Suicide, Arsefaces best friends sister asked him why he and her brother were Driven to Suicide. Arseface answers (writes) ''Nobody cared''. To the only person who cared enough to visit him in the hospital and whose brother is dead. After she delivers a "The Reason You Suck" Speech If you two did you this to yourselves, then you didnt care neither!, Arseface has a Heel Realization and his ephiphany let him become the only decent human being in the main cast who truly Earn Your Happy Ending.
- Moral Event Horizon: The Saint crossed it when he Shot A Hostage.
- Narm: Done deliberately for Arseface. And it works.
- Nightmare Fuel: Angelville and it's inhabitants. Jesse's childhood. Starr's Start of Darkness.
- Squick: Odin Quincannon's meat shed. And his meat wife.
- Tear Jerker: Arseface's life before the series begins, as chronicled in his spin-off origin story. After surviving his attempted suicide and getting a tongue lashing from his dead friend's sister about how selfish he and his friend were being, he completely misinterprets her message and decides to be the doormat to his abusive and unloving father.
- Ugly Cute: Arseface may be horribly disfigured, but his innocence, Nice Guy demeanour, and big, friendly eyes go a long way to making him one of the comic's more endearing characters.
- The Woobie:
- Arseface - his father is an abusive Jerkass and most of his peers aren't much better. Then he is horribly disfigured by a botched suicide attempt and it goes downhill from there...
- Sally, the homeless woman Jesse encounters who tells him Cassidy's history.
- Starr is a villainous example. He Used to Be a Sweet Kid, then a pack of bullies decided to blind him/gouge out his eye by cutting a star into his face, something that also (somehow) left him bald. Then, in the course of the series, he gets raped by a Depraved Homosexual, finds himself unable to be sexually aroused by women anymore and has to resort to being anally penetrated by whores wearing strap-on dildos to get pleasure, gets a scar cut across the top of his head that makes him look like a giant walking penis, gets his genitals bitten off by a dog...
- His poor assistant, Hoover, was just a shy, decent man who was working for the wrong people.
- Despite both being subconsciously manipulated into the forbidden affair, the mother of Genesis still sought out her partner so they could run away together and raise their unborn child as a family, only to be met with cold rejection and a cruel fate in return.
YMMV / Preacher