It has been nearly three months since the last issue of Postal: Deliverance was released from Top Cow Productions. Three months wondering how the inhabitants of Eden would cope with the violence threatening to tear the township apart. Three months waiting for Bryan Hill, Raffaele Ienco, and Troy Peteri to continue this thriller/horror.
Has it been worth the wait?
With the tensions between Mark, Maggie, and Laura building, all is not well in Eden. After the knife attack on Mark, Laura is able to manoeuvre herself back into power. Is this what she always wanted? Previous issues would seem to suggest that the once the Mayor of Eden was never happy walking away and the current escalation of violence is exactly what she needed to get her feet back under the table.
Bryan Hill, however, is not going to let Laura’s return be that easy and this issue is all about punching down. Laura is not the only one taking advantage of circumstances in this issue, the masked killer is also preying on the weak and sending messages throughout the town.
This issue of Postal: Deliverance is focused on two characters and their movements around Eden; Maggie and the Killer. Hill uses the contrast between the two characters to build the tension in the narrative and push the plot forward page by page. The killer is a closed, broken character, most obviously represented by the fragmented mask that he wears, whereas Maggie has a more open personality. Through these characters the reader is given a deeper insight into the duality of the town itself and the opposing forces that work together to keep Eden functioning.
It is a classic good versus evil, or light versus dark, narrative but portrayed in a fascinating way. The entire town, even the concept of it, is called into question by the contrast in actions between two characters. Hill allows the reader inside the minds of Maggie and the killer in order to prove that nothing is as simply as it might appear. Voices control the actions of the cast, some internal and some external.
Ienco continues to impress with his artwork. His use of obscure view points and subject-to-subject panel transitions give the comic it’s horror vibe by not allowing the reader to feel comfortable on a page. Early on there is a sequence with Magnum where he is being watched. Ienco teases the reader with glimpses of the killer while keeping the main focus on Magnum. In a nine panel page Ienco uses two panels to show the killer in the undergrowth but his presence is felt in each one of the nine panels.
This nerve-racking tension fuels the narrative and each page brings the reader closer to the edge of their seat. This mood is maintained as much by Troy Peteri’s lettering as it is Ienco’s color work or panel design. Peteri knows where to place the word balloons so that they produce the most emphasis on a page. Occasionally this is to highlight a certain speech but more often than not it is to bring to the foreground a particular action within a panel.
For example, in a scene focused on two characters, Ienco drops the background out, signalling to the reader this panel is about the cast members. Peteri then places the speech into two, linked word balloons giving the impression they are filling up one side of the panel. This creates an uneven balance between the characters and adds strength to one character over the other. This technique is used throughout this issue of Postal in order to create the necessary character dynamics.
After a three month wait Postal: Deliverance delivers a superb issue. The atmosphere and sense of impending doom builds page after page to a horrific conclusion. It is as if this issue has been designed to remind the reader exactly why they love reading Postal and also why stopping now would be a mistake.
It opens with a mother and son at loggerheads and ends, well, that would be telling. It’s enough to say that the end is as magnificent as the journey to it. Hill, Ienco, and Peteri, have produced an engrossing page turner and one of the best issues of the series so far.