Review - Postal: Mark #1 (@TopCow)

"Peace came for Eden, but not the Shiffron family."

The family dynamic is extremely hard to define. What works for one family may not work for another family, which means that different families have different problems they must contend with. Postal: Mark #1 from Top Cow Comics looks at some of the woes beguiling the Shiffron family. The issue is written by Matt Hawkins, illustrated by Raffaele Ienco and lettered by Troy Peteri.

After the stunning series conclusion to the regular POSTAL series, this one-shot story shows Mark’s fate in the town one year later.

Hawkins spends the bulk of Postal: Mark #1 in the abstract, in that the one-shot poses a lot of existential questions while getting the reader up to speed on what Mark's been up to. In that regard, it's actually a pretty profound issue in that it channels the narrative through Mark's Asperger's Syndrome as something of an explanation for his decision-making. The dialogue moves the script along quite briskly as well, essentially offering two stories in parallel: one about Mark's personal life and one about Mark tying up loose ends. Probably the most jarring event in the one-shot is Mark's approach with his father that effectively neuters his philosophical take on life. The end of the issue also offers the promise of the continuation of the Postal series, proving that madness runs in the family.

Ienco's art style is simple yet effective. There are some particularly haunting images of a raven peppered throughout the issue that Ienco renders as the narrative eyes of the issue. The panels are arranged very cleanly and adhere to a rigid grid format which works very well for the pacing of the issue. Mark is illustrated for most of the issue with a pensive look on his face while his father comes awful close to looking like a deity. And how Ienco handles the interrogation is pretty intense in that he leave a lot of the action to the imagination of the reader, subtly hinting at what's going on without being too gruesome. The colors are extremely pale throughout the issue and fit the atmosphere of the sleepy town of Eden.

Postal: Mark #1 is a pretty fast-moving look at Mark's life one year after the events of Postal wrapped up. In that regard, Mark has seemingly been up to a lot and shows no signs of slowing down. Hawkins gives all the main characters even more depth through the one-shot by exploring the complicated family dynamics shared amongst them. Ienco's illustrations are somewhat subdued, but reflective of Mark's generally relaxed approach to life. Postal: Mark #1 is a pretty interesting book in its own right that could very well prompt readers to want to check out the rest of the Postal series.

Postal: Mark #1 is available February 21.