A comparison of personalities between the central cast member’s leads the plot into new territory in this week’s Postal Deliverance #3 published by Top Cow. The writer uses tragedy to stir old emotions and to get to the heart of the characters.
Postal Deliverance is a close examination of the family and the effects of separation and loss. It is as emotionally moving as it is disturbingly violent. Since its inception, Postal has grown as a comic and with this maturity comes difficult questions, not all of them with answers.
An Emotional Crutch
There’s an election coming to Eden, heralding in a turbulent period of change. Meanwhile Laura is rediscovering her maternal instincts and the cycle of violence begins again.
The third issue in this series continues to compare the characters of Laura and Mark. Bryan Hill wants to illustrate the difficulties in escaping from your past and starting a new life. At the end of the previous run Laura managed to escape the confines of Eden but, as Hill demonstrates in this issue, she has not been able to get away from herself.
Hill gives each of the two central characters a foil to spa with, allowing the reader insight into the minds of the characters. For Laura this is Magnum who acts almost like her conscience as she argues with herself over her interaction with Pascal. Through their conversations Hill is able to portray Laura’s anxieties and the real reason she avoids getting involved with Pascal, until outside interference makes it impossible for her to stay away.
Hill uses Maggie in a similar way for developing Mark’s character. She stands on the side-line, indicating to Mark aspects of the world around him as he tries to reconcile one side of his life with the other; being a father and being the Mayor of Eden.
Deliverance From Violence
The art has a deliberate realist style adding to the human drama that is unfolding. Raffaele Ienco uses bleached coloring across most of the pages, serving two purposes. Firstly, it adds to the realism of the scenes. Ienco has used natural colors to make the reader more comfortable and settle into this world. The character driven plot requires a certain level of believability and by making the images as realistic as possible, the emotional drama is heightened and more identifiable.
The second aspect of the coloring is that it represents where the two central characters stand, from an emotional perspective. The blend of oranges and muted yellows creates an autumnal feel throughout reflecting the later stages of Laura and Marks relationship with Eden. They have moved beyond the glorious summer and are now looking for a way to quietly retire from their responsibilities. The coloring gives the comic an enduring sense of maturity which in turn is reflected in the characters and plot.
Ienco’s style serves the characters well, bringing out the strong emotional aspects of their personalities. He produces wonderfully detailed faces, packed with expression and emotion. The characters are brought to life via the artist’s attention to detail and choice of viewpoints. The reader cannot escape from the emotional impact of, for example, Pascal’s distraught face when Ienco illustrates it from a low angle, filling the panel. A series of cut away shots, jumping from one character to the next, also has the same emotional impact. The conflicting interests of the characters are illustrated perfectly by three contrasting facial expressions.
There is a complex narrative at play throughout the entire issue. Often the words that the characters say contradict their actions and being able to read the underlying truth is not always straight forward. Troy Peteri’s placement of the speech balloons make a big difference to the pacing of each scene, thereby allowing the reader the right amount of time to digest the interplay between images and speech.
Peteri uses joined and connected speech balloons to slow down the flow of conversation, adding natural pauses. This gives the impression that the cast members are taking their time with the speech, constructing sentences carefully to make a point.
Issue three of Postal Deliverance is a complicated family drama with a handful of shocking moments. The Mother/Son relation between Laura and Mark is explored at great length despite the two characters never sharing a scene. This emotional drama is captivating and the sense of loss suffered by a number of the character’s feels very real. There is a rawness to the emotional context and the heart of the story is a deep seated, painful longing for a lost family.
After the first two issues, Hill, Ienco and Peteri pull back from the violence and display the aftereffects of years of ingrained cruelty. The emotional baggage and mental traumas dictate the central character’s actions despite themselves and ultimately creates a surprisingly moving story. The sub title for this series holds dominance over the narrative but, in the end, can either Laura or Mark find their deliverance from Eden?