First published in a collected edition format back in July of 2015, ‘Postal: Volume One’ formed the first instalment in Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill’s ‘Postal’ graphic novel series, collecting together issues 1 – 4 of the original comics.  The artwork was done by Isaac Goodhart with colouring by Betsy Gonia.

DLS Synopsis:
Eden, Wyoming is a town of criminals.  You don’t move there for a second chance, you move there for your last chance.  It’s a town made up of ex-convicts.  But outside of Eden you wouldn’t have a clue of who lives there.  It’s make-up is a firmly kept secret.  And that’s the way Eden’s residents want to keep it.

Eden’s mayor – Dana Shiffron – is the one who makes sure everyone there stays in line.  Should she find out that one of Eden’s residents has reverted to their old criminal ways, then she comes down hard on them.  There are no second chances in Eden.  The town is their last chance.  Blow it, and you’re gone.

Shiffron inherited the town from her husband.  He was the one who turned the town into what it is.  He created Eden.  Set the precedence.  Brought in the scum and gave them their one last chance to start over again away from prying eyes.  But the power made him an even worse man.  And before long Dana and Eden’s Sheriff LaFleur realised something had to be done.  Take action before their Mayor destroyed the town and everyone in it.  So they got rid of him, and now his wife had taken his place.

But when a dead body shows up, dumped on the road outside of Eden’s church, it sends the town into shock.  It’s the first murder Eden has seen in twenty-five years.  The repercussions of such a crime could bring unwanted attention to Eden.  But that’s not their way.  So the Mayor covers up the crime.  At least for now.  Because she knows who’s responsible.  The dead girl was a message sent for her benefit.  And she knew next on the list will be her son, Mark.

But Mark Shiffron’s no ordinary lad.  He has Asperger’s Syndrome.  He’s also Eden’s only postal worker.  But his condition has given him certain skills.  Certain talents.  And now he plans to use them in order to get to the bottom of the crime, and ultimately, justice…

DLS Review:
The premise to ‘Postal’ is frigging awesome.  A ‘last chance saloon’ town for ex-convicts to hideout and have that final chance to start over.  A hardass mayor who’s past is as shady as the rest of Eden’s residents’.  A son who not only has Asperger’s Syndrome, but is also the only resident in Eden without a criminal past.  Throw in a corrupt FBI agent who’s got itchy feet to get shot of the whole place.  And a former Mayor who’s come back for revenge.  The end result of this explosive concoction is a wonderfully elaborate and layered story with multiple threads and storylines all weaving a complex tapestry that draws you in with a seemingly effortless ease.

The story itself feels heavily inspired by the likes of ‘Twin Peaks’ (1990-1991), not only with the reasonably similar plot (in volume one at least), but also in its quirky look and feel.  However, although such influences are hard to escape, the story as a whole still has so much goddam originality dripping from its seams that a splash of inspiration can’t possibly detract from it.  Indeed, the idea of this town consisting entirely of ex-criminals (bar one) desperately trying to stay on the straight and narrow has so much potential.  In this first volume we see mere glimpses of how Mayor Shiffron maintains her strict rule, how she single-handedly upholds such a purposeful moral compass.  But you can’t help but think what we’re seeing here is just the tip of the iceberg.

Nevertheless, one thing’s for sure – there’ a very real hard-boiled grittiness to the whole story.  Everything is cold and somehow tainted.  Every page delivers a downbeat and quietly tense undertone.  Even the colouring looks intentionally washed-out and grimy.  It’s a very purposeful and incredibly well executed atmosphere.  And it draws your interest in like a moth to a flame.

Although this is very much a mystery/thriller, there’s a good shovelful of violence thrown into the mix.  If one of Eden’s residents fucks up, then the repercussions are severe.  Other than this, poor old Mark Shiffron seems to bear the brunt of the punishment that’s dished out.  It’s brutal and utterly cold-hearted and feels right at home in the environment that Hawkins et al have created.

For a slice of raw and spoiled meat, just waiting to turn bad (but in damn a good way), you’ll be hard pressed to find a better graphic novel thriller.

The volume runs for a total of 128 pages including the following extras:

•    Character profiles section (8 Pages)
•    An overview of the Racketeer Influences and Corrupt Organisations Act (2 Pages)
•    An overview of Asperger  Syndrome (2 Pages)
•    A preview from Issue One of ‘The Tithe’ (10 Pages)
•    Cover gallery (11 Pages)
•    Meet the creators (1 Page)

© DLS Reviews

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