Postal Deliverance #1 // Review
Matt Hawkins’ long-running Postal series reaches its seventh chapter with Deliverance. Small town stoic Mark is a long way away from his humble beginnings as a postal carrier for the town of Eden. He’s t he mayor of Eden now. He’s got issues he’s going to have to deal with in the steady drama that Hawkins’ readers have come to expect over the past few years. Current writer Brian Hill’s distinctive story and the artwork of Raffaele Ienco continues to etch away at life in Wyoming in a story that advances the drama of the lives of those in a tiny, little corner of America with big problems.
Shadowy action opens the issue. Officers in pursuit of a hooded man with a beard. Gunshots are fired in the rain. Innocents are killed. Elsewhere it’s Florida. It’s sunny. It might seem cheerful but for the listlessness of the drama between a man and a woman. Later on, she’s in a small market square. A kid’s on the run from gang members, his name’s Pascal. She’s taken an interest in him. Elsewhere it’s Eden. Mark’s having breakfast with his wife and her daughter, There’s an argument. It’s all so...still. It’s all so very heavy. The drama. Life in Eden, Wyoming. A lot is going on that doesn’t meet the surface of the page.
Hill’s work meets the opening issue of its latest series with steady movement. An issue which starts in action moves steadily along to a series of moody interpersonal moments punctuated by bits of brute physical violence. Suffice it to say, Mike isn’t having a good time. There’s blood and silence and stillness. There’s an occasional stern glance off into vast Florida and/or Wyoming of the soul. It’s not that there isn’t a lot going on here. There is. It’s that the substance of what’s going on isn’t nearly as important as the moody, emotional impact that Hill allows every little bit of stagnant brutality to accumulate.
Ienco’s art manages a weird balance between intensely-rendered details and brutality of motion. All too often, a heavily-rendered page tends to weigh down the impact of the action. Ienco manages that rare level of overwhelming detail that somehow manages to refrain from dampening the heavy swing of violent kinetic action. Wyoming is ugly, Florida is ugly in a different way. Ienco etches painful wear into the face of everyone. There are occasional blood splatters seen here and there. Ienco also manages to find the right angle to keep it all interesting. A high-angle panel of cops pursuing a hooded stranger in the rain accentuates the power of the precipitation. That rain cuts a hard contrast against the bleary sun of Florida in the next scene. Postal Deliverance is on mood after another in a steady parade that doesn’t need to be in any hurry to get anywhere.
The gritty earthbound brutality of Postal Deliverance sure as hell isn’t for everyone. There are those who would say this sort of thing really needs to be moving around on a glowing screen in high definition to make any sense, but Ienco’s dense, silent, static visuals would beg to differ. What’s going on here isn’t pretty, but it’s solidly different from most of the rest of what’s out there on the rack these days. And that’s saying something.