Image Comics | Top Cow
(W) Bryan Edward Hill, (A) Isaac Goodhart, (C) K. Michael Russell
Eden. For many, the name conjures up images of a paradise. Others are reminded that it is the birthplace of sin. In the world of Postal, those two visions collide in Eden, Wyoming. It is a haven for sinners, tucked away and hidden from the pubic. Against all odds, it has has survived attacks from the outside and within, despite its populace. Over the course of the previous 24 issues, writer Bryan Edward Hill, artist Isaac Goodhart, and co-creator Matt Hawkins have used Eden’s residents to not only craft entertaining mysteries, but also explore concepts such as religious extremism, hate crimes, and redemption. In this series’ finale, the creative team explore one more concept: atonement.
Postal has been blessed with a rich cast of characters, and with this being the finale, the core cast plays key roles in the series’ sendoff. Throughout, Hill has slowly peeled back the curtain of Eden’s past, revealing the varying costs of maintaining the town. Most of these costs have been paid by Mayor Laura Shiffron, who has lied, killed, manipulated, and extorted others in order to maintain Eden’s status quo. However, she has also proved herself to care for her loved ones, namely her son Mark. This makes this issues main reveal all the more shocking. I won’t spoil it here, but it is an act most people would find unfathomable.
As heinous as Laura’s actions are, the issue really isn’t about them. Rather, it is about the guilt she has carried with her, and the feeling that this is the one act for which she can never atone for. The art by Isaac Goodhart captures the angst and conflict which she feels. There is anger, and though she wishes to blame her ex-husband for her actions, in her heart she knows that she alone is responsible. Hill and Goodhart engage Laura in several conversations with different characters, each offering their own perspective on the situation. The issue ends on a cliffhanger, leaving her fate up to the interpretation of the reader.
While Laura’s arc is the major through line of the issue, Mark and his girlfriend, Maggie, go through their own trial with the revelation of Maggie’s pregnancy. That there is a disagreement between the two about whether or not to keep the baby is hardly a surprise. Nor is it surprising that the guy doesn’t want it and the girl does. What unexpected is the reason Mark wants the pregnancy aborted. It enables Hill to provide a retrospective look at not only Mark’s past, but that of Postal as a whole.
Isaac Goodhart, as he has done throughout the entire series, delivers solid artwork which captures the emotions of each sequence. Perhaps more impressive is the coloring by K. Michael Russell, who’s use of warm tones like oranges and golds give the book a perpetual “sunset” vibe. While a little on the nose, it serves to remind readers that this series has reached its twilight, and that each page is one step closer to its conclusion.
Postal #25 proves that a series finale does not need to tidily wrap up the story to satisfy. The book ends on an ambiguous note, with Mark and Laura’s respective futures on the line. However, readers that have been following this story and these characters over the course of the series should draw very similar conclusions about their fates. The series has repeatedly shown that these characters – and by extension, people in general – are willing to do or sacrifice anything for the sake of their loved ones. It is a surprisingly sweet sentiment for a book about ex-cons living in a community supported by corrupt government officials. That surprising dichotomy is what made Postal one of the most unique books on the market, and its absence will take substantial effort to fill.