With Eden facing a serial killer, the police have their hands full trying to track him in Postal Deliverance #6, from Top Cow. While Eden’s mayor Mark attempts to balance family with his responsibilities, his wife Laura goes off into the woods to hunt for clues. And who does she find but her mother-in-law…with a shotgun! Is this the final end? Find out in our Major Spoilers review!
Writer: Bryan Hill
Artist: Raffaele Ienco
Letterer: Troy Peteri
Editors: Elena Salcedo & Matt Hawkins
Publisher: Top Cow
Release Date: January 8th, 2020
Previously in Postal Deliverance: In the last issue, a serial killer began its reign of terror in the decidedly odd community of Eden. Dead men tell no tales, especially dismembered ones whose limbs are hung from a tree deep in the nearby forest. While Mark attempts to balance his family responsibilities with his job as mayor, his wife pursues the killer, while his mother follows her own agenda of plausible deniability.
EVERYTHING DEAD LOOKS LIKE IT’S SCREAMING
There’s no denying the power and impact of Postal Deliverance #6. From the opening pages, where Mark retraces his steps and memories as a boy, stumbling across a tree hung with human limbs, it is clear he has issues to grapple with. The heading of this section is a quote from the issue and comes from Mark’s father, a man clearly in need of some parental training. Mark isn’t doing himself, seeking to learn how to be a father by reading a book entitled Understanding Modern Day Social Dynamics. Hardly the stuff of Mr Rogers, and given time, will no doubt turn his infant son into a raging psychopath.
Joking aside, Postal Deliverance #6 is a hard read. There’s no light and shade to the storytelling, by writer Bryan Hill – there’s only shade. And in the shadows lurks not only a human killing machine, but a small town beginning to rot from the inside out. Mark’s mother, Laura, some sort of special ops trained killer, will do anything to protect the relative harmony of Eden, going so far as to burn the body of the victim and get her son to spread lies about how the man died. When you live on top of a rumbling volcano, it’s best not to start spraying gasoline around the place.
Given all the darkness and the subject matter, Postal Deliverance #6 is something of an acquired taste. Don’t get me wrong – I can dive into movies like Seven as deep as anyone else, but at least David Fincher’s finest movie had moments of humor and human warmth that are lacking in this issue. One can’t quibble with Bryan Hill’s choice here – if you’re going to embrace this subject matter, you might as well squeeze the very life out of it. But a joke here or there, even some mordant wit or black humor, might go a long way to making some pretty hard material more palatable.
MAKE IT AS REAL AS YOU CAN
Given that, it does seem odd that I really enjoyed the realism artist Raffaele Ienco brings to the pages of Postal Deliverance #6. There are echoes of the much mourned Steve Dillon’s (Preacher) precise pencilling, with Ienco going to great pains to produce a world rooted in reality. Sagging couches, rumbled blankets, worn faces and the claustrophobic woods at night are all brilliantly realised under his Ienco’s steady hand. The coloring palette also suits the gloomy nature of the storytelling – no flashy colors (even the blood looks bland) are present to distract the reader from the relentless nature of the subject material. Even if the story puts you off a little, the artwork is worth the price of Postal Deliverance #6 alone
BOTTOM LINE: MOMMA, JUST KILLED A MAN
It seemed when I worked in a bookshop in the mid-90s that true crime really began to take off. Books on the Zodiac killer, or Jeffrey Dahmer, began to fill the shelves. Heck, even American Psycho made a splash here, wrapped in plastic (I kid you not – a censorship people decided the book could be sold, but you’d have to buy it to read it). And the industry has only gotten bigger, with podcasts bringing the horror of crime and death to a larger audience.
Postal Deliverance #6 taps into that keen interest, with a story built around a town of law enforcement types facing a killer from within their ranks, and the corrosive effects that begins to have on that community. It’s unrelentingly bleak, as characters grapple with their personal flaws while trying to hold the show together. It’s probably a good thing that this is a monthly; I’ll need four weeks just to get the stink of death out of my nostrils
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Postal Deliverance #6
A bleak examination of a community that strives to be ideal, but discovers it has a cancer growing at its heart. Bryan Hill has created a slate of grim faced characters wrestling with the realization that the town of Eden is no paradise, but is instead a type of Hell Bosch might have nodded approvingly at seeing. Artist Raffaele Ienco’s work is the highlight of this issue, cold comfort for the horrors contained within Postal Deliverance #6