After a great issue focusing on Eden’s mayor, the focus this month shifts back to Mark. Is it good?
Postal #7 (Top Cow Productions)
To call the town of Eden’s populace ‘potentially volatile’ would be an understatement. To help her constituents blow off a little (potentially homicidal) steam, Mayor Shiffron holds an annual UFC-style blood match. The featured fighter is a giant racist asshole named Mulvey who is an expert at destroying the human body via his fists.
Mulvey’s opponent this year is a former boxer named Curtis. The ‘former’ part is due to him getting a hand cut off after a gambling addiction put him in debt to some very bad people. He’s also black, meaning that Mulvey is likely to tap into some bigoted super-strength when they meet in the ring.
…and Mayor Shiffron begins a strict, slightly misguided no anti-smoking campaign.
But Curtis has a plan. Knowing that Mark can notice and analyze things that most people miss, he asks for his assistance in training for the fight. Mark agrees, but under one condition: Curtis helps him learn how to spit some better game at Maggie and finally win her over.
Is It Good?
This issue presents yet another example of why Postal is such a good comic.
A lot of high concept ideas like the one this one start off with a fascinating premise, burn bright, and fizzle out as said premise is worn thin and/or ignored (see Twin Peaks Season 1 vs. Season 2). With Postal, however, the writing team of Matt Hawkins and Bryan Hill continue to build fascinating layers onto both the plot and the characters. From the issue’s chilling opening to Mark’s introspection about his feelings toward Maggie, we’re never allowed to feel comfortably certain of the narrative’s trajectory.
As the issue’s two major plotlines (Curtis’ fight and Mark’s date with Maggie) reached their climax, I honestly wasn’t sure how either one would end. In only seven issues, Hawkins/Hill have brilliantly balanced organic/believable character development with surprising revelations and actions. This not only makes for great reading while it’s happening, but also gives the writers a much larger (and infinitely more interesting) canvas for future plotlines and developments.
Also, the portrayal of Mark’s Asperger’s syndrome continues to be spot on. In addition to some great dialogue, the Hawkins/Hill manage two laugh-out-loud moments during his interactions with Curtis and Maggie without ridiculing his condition. In fact, the final pages of him speaking with Maggie might be the most poignant interaction we’ve seen during the entire series.
As usual, Isaac Goodhart’s art (with coloring by Betsy Gonia) continues to be superb. Of particular note is the way Curtis’ boxing match is juxtaposed with Mark and Maggie’s date. The shift in tone from panel to panel could have easily been jarring, but Goodhart handles it seamlessly.
So yeah… not sure what else to say folks. If you’re not picking up this series, you’re really missing out. This isn’t just some flash in the pan indie darling that’s inevitably going to lose steam. Postal has maintained the momentum from an excellent start and continues to get even better.