Review: Postal Vol.5
Writer: Bryan Hill
Art: Isaac Goodhart
Colours: K. Michael Russell
Letters: Troy Peteri
Publisher: Image Comics
‘FBI Agent Chris Bremble comes face to face with Isaac Shiffron, the sociopath who gave birth to Eden, and to find the truth of the past, Bremble will have to endure Isaac’s madness. Laura puts Mark in charge of Eden to see if her son has the ability to lead a town full of criminals who don’t trust or believe in him. His mother, Maggie, and Molly all have a vision for what Mark should be…but which path will he choose? Collects POSTAL#17-20.’
Each issue of the cult favourite Image series Postal comes along like a hurtling train; each one gives you the shivers and you can’t help but wonder how close you’d need to be to the edge before meeting a violent end. And just like the characters within the covers, readers are often left feeling that something unwelcome has just got into their heads. Things that can’t be unseen. This is what I would call disturbing, something horror writers spend years trying to achieve and often fail at. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a splat-fest firing on all cylinders leaving us breathless and checking ourselves for vital signs. This is so much more disturbing. This series has been compared to a chess game with the characters being moved into place issue by issue, and now, for the first time, we can really see what the endgame could be.
For many, the talking point of this book is arguably the big reveal of Isaac, the maybe insane creator of Eden, and target of FBI agent, Bremble. But before we get to this, originally released in issue #19, we witness Bremble clamber through the dangers of Isaac’s compound, as well as Mark’s fated meeting with Molly. As per usual, the book is constructed from dual perspectives as there’s a lot going on at once. The layers are treated with caution by Hill as the pace would become skewed if one storyline spiralled too quickly. As a result, we are left considering the impact of each thread on the other, independently and much more thoughtfully than if this was laid out differently. For instance, we witness the dogged manipulation of Mark by Molly which fills us with a sense of foreboding – she could change the path events for Mark and thus the running of the entire town. This act itself has an impact on Bremble but the two plotlines are kept nose and nose. Considering this, the writing is tempered and sober.
The art reflects the sensible pace of the book. No outlandish double page spreads to leave readers hot under the collar. Slow sweeping visuals are the order of the day here. Great pencil work on the shading and muted background details render the eye to scan each frame that little bit closer for detail, some of which may actually have an impact on the plot. Mark’s visit to Molly captures this beautifully where facial expressions and each character’s eyes are worth reading for clues. This also has the additional effect of having the reader read certain sequences twice – once with the words and twice without. A great artists can say more than words alone, no? The colouring is subdued with no need for excessively bright bold frames. The sunlight in the open air, for example, is never blinding, and there seems to be a dusty orange palate at work here. This washes everything in a dust-laden layer of Eden filth that seems impossible to shake off, just as Southern Bastards paints all in reds that leave the reader feeling sunburned after reading. No doubt the orange dust would be there under our fingernails after holding a copy, if we dared look.
A final plus point refers to the lettering. There is some pretty hefty dialogue going on at points but at no point are we losing chunks of the frame. The spacing is considerate and doesn’t take away from the heaviness of the conversations, which are weighty. This is largely a dialogue driven book so to have clean, even lettering feels like a bonus.
So are you already on board or just thinking about it? If the latter, this is fine as a jumping on point. In fact, you might even gain something from reading this first then backtracking to the start of the series. It’s a great story with some original characters that have real depth. But more than anything, it’s unnerving. In a good way, of course.
Thank you for reading our review of Postal Vol.5. We here at the Chico Comics Page appreciate your viewership. We invite you to check back with us soon as we post often. Or, you can follow us on Facebook (The Chico Comics Page) and Twitter (@ChicoComicsPage) for regular updates on all of our posts.
Review written by Arun S.