Art by: Isaac Goodhart
Colorist and Editor: Betsy Gonia
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Publisher: Top Cow
Strange small towns commanded by dogmatic despots have long been a staple of post-apocalyptic fare like The Walking Dead. So when Postal #1 opens on a church sermon delivered by a preacher waving a gun at a man who is bound at the foot of the altar, it seems a familiar scenario. Perhaps this is what the comic wants us to think, lulling us into a false sense of narrative security to contrast with it’s intriguing final pages.
The sermon is cut short by a turn of the page and text that reads: 24 hours earlier. We are in the town of Eden, Wyoming and at it’s post office we meet Mark: a mail carrier who takes his job very seriously, with ritualistic attention to detail. He leads us through his day, which apparently includes transcribing letters that are damaged at his mother’s behest, calling it “policy.” Somehow I don’t think the USPS would agree. In this case, Mark transcribes a damaged letter that implicates a shady Eden resident in a drug operation. Wanting to “help” the man, Mark ends up stumbling right into the middle of his meth lab.
As the issue unfolds we meet a host of characters that border on cliches: A tall, “injun” man who speaks in an accent straight out of a John Ford western; the beautiful, sad, yet caring waitress who Mark yearns for; a cantankerous chef who only speaks French. Those cliche’s grind to a halt when we meet Mayor Shiffron, who also happens to be Mark’s mother. The Mayor lays out some of the rules of Eden to an overly muscled white-power newcomer and they aren’t exactly what you’d expect. This piqued my interest. The Mayors tense, cold relationship with her son was also a surprise. By the time I reached the books’ ending which recalls the strange, small town of Twin Peaks, I found myself wondering what the next issue would bring.
Postal #1 offers well-rendered characters, different in their build, height and affect which are colored nicely. The gray and pastel palate gives the effect of isolating the town, making it feel as if it exists outside of the world we know. The end of the book includes a dossier on the important characters we’ve met so far and provides some further clarity while also expanding the mystery of Eden. If Postal #2 avoids the pitfall of piling too many mysteries on top of each other, it could prove to be a solid new series.