Postal Vol. 1
Written by Matt Hawkins, Bryan Hill.
Art by Betsy Gonia
Publisher: Top Cow-Image
I didn’t know much of this story when I picked up this volume. All I knew was that it dealt with a town filled with criminals trying to live peacefully, but I had heard that it was great from various people, and it was, but I was not prepared for the interesting topics that were discussed here. I painted it to be a simple noir tale, it was much more than that. It follows a postal worker, Mark Shiffron, whose mother, Dana Shiffron, is the mayor of the town after the previous leader was “banished,” after the corpse of a young woman is found laying on the street, the story of a town filled with criminals where crime is not allowed. There is also something different and wonderful about Mark, he has Asperger, and it is through his eyes that we see everything. I don’t know much about Asperger, but after seeing the depiction in the comic and reading the extra material attached to the volume, I am sure it is a wonderful way to tell this story, having someone so observant when it comes to clues is simply necessary, and having him being so unobservant when it comes to other aspects (particularly people’s personalities) makes him even more sympathetic than he already was.
The thing that I enjoyed was the pacing. It is quick and no-nonsense style, we are not given a breather to figure out what is going on, we breeze through the entire story, and it is only after we are finished that we can calm down and think over what happened. It makes me wonder that if they had so much information and mystery to drop on the first volume alone, there must be much, much more coming our way.
There was something I wanted to be more explored than it was, the characters. At the end of the book we get a couple pages detailing what some of the characters have done to be in the town, but much is retracted, and there is little to be told of each of them except that they are criminals and that is it. This does not speak true to me, people are always more than the crimes they commit, unless that person is The Joker or something just as sinister, and not giving us more information on them throughout the issues made the story lacking in the character development department. All we know is Dana is harsh and focused, Maggie has a heart of gold with a semi-interesting past, the sheriff is a weakling that may rise to the occasion at some point, the FBI agent is as interesting as a potato, and The Pastor, I have no idea about, he is too odd for me to take much of an interest in him.
The art was simple, and traditional, nothing to make a fuzz about. What I did appreciate with it was the dark colours used. For a town as this, those sort of colours make all the sense in the world.
To summarize, it is an intriguing and fast-paced comic that will leave you wanting to continue reading without taking a breath. It has an interesting and memorable main character, and some less memorable secondary ones, but the last issue is ambiguous enough to make anyone want to pick up the subsequent ones. I am that anyone.