Image Comics | Top Cow
(w) Matt Hawkins (a) Raffaele Ienco
Last month gave us the 25th and final issue of Postal, which effectively capped off the “Edenverse,” a series of interconnected titles which included Think Tank and The Tithe. Now, creator Matt Hawkins reunites with his Symmetry collaborator Raffaele Ienco to produce an epilogue installment which sees life in the off-the-grid, populated by ex-convicts town of Eden under new – and just as ruthless – leadership.
Mark Shiffron assumed the role of mayor from his retired (and suspiciously absent) mother at the conclusion of Postal. No longer is he belittled by the townspeople for his Asperger’s, he is feared not only for the power he wields, but how he has proven to a cold, calculated, and efficient leader. Those who have read Postal are aware that Mark does have a softer side, and it is briefly glimpsed at in an interlude at the town diner. But for the majority of this issue, it is a psychological showdown between Mark and his estranged and deranged father, Isaac.
Throughout Postal, Isaac has been the Boogeyman of Eden. The knowledge that he is even alive has kept the town’s otherwise hardened citizens on edge. Even though his attempted takeover of the town was thwarted (see Postal #21-24), his survival always meant that he could try again. But Mark will not let that happen. Rather than sit back and do nothing, he makes a move to end this strife once and for all.
Much of the aforementioned showdown appears to be Isaac goading and pushing at Mark, hoping to emotionally trigger him. Isaac claims that when he tortured him (way back in Postal’s earlier arcs) it made him into the man he is today. Each word is carefully chosen by writer Matt Hawkins with the intent to cut Mark deep to the bone. And if Mark was a “regular” guy, Isaac might be successful. But Mark isn’t, and as a result Isaac’s efforts prove to be fruitless.
It is important to note that, despite the history between these two, Hawkins’ writing makes this issue accessible to anyone. Of course, those that have read the series get a satisfying story, but those that have not are able to understand who these characters are, what they’ve been through, and what the stakes are. The suffering that the town of Eden and its citizens have endured is present in each panel, thanks to Hawkins and his collaborator, artist Raffael Ienco. Not only is that suffering present, but so is the underlying tension that builds throughout the issue. When Mark finally makes his move and doles out his punishment to Isaac, it is swift, brutal, and thoroughly satisfying.
Postal: Mark #1 is a fantastic entry into the canon of Image/Top Cow’s Edenverse, which proves that comic universes need not be exclusively superhero fare. This is an exciting, tension-filled issue courtesy of the tight writing and stellar artwork of its creative team. More importantly, Hawkins and Ienco prove that great stories can still be found within the space of a single, 32 page floppy.