First issues are strange beasts. Give too much away and there’s a chance you’ve overplayed things. Give too little to the reader and there might not be enough to hook them in and make them want to carry on.
Postal: Deliverance, a new series created by Matt Hawkins and written by Bryan Hill, with art by Raffaele Ienco, falls just a little too far into the latter category. It’s intriguing certainly but there’s too much playing out here, too many questions, and I finished the first issue frustrated that it really hadn’t been developed quite enough to draw me in enough.
In many ways, the criticism of Postal: Deliverance is simple. I read the first issue and I simply cannot tell you quite what it’s about. Sure, I have ideas, but there’s no definitive storyline that stands out, no real hook to latch onto. And as the pages turn it becomes a simple case of thing happens, another thing happens, something else happens somewhere else, all the way to the end.
To give you some idea of both the themes and storyline of the comic and a little of the problems I had with it, it’s best to simply drop in and out of the various parts, so with that in mind…
[***Warning – Slight spoilers for Postal: Deliverance Issue 1 below…]
Ok then, you’ve been warned. So, it’s a short 20-page comic which has three parts. And it was flicking through a copy to see the art of that first part that is what sold me on the comic in the first place – because to be honest, that cover is not something that sold me in the slightest.
It opens with a beautifully done bit of action, Raffaele Ienco’s artwork doing a great job of setting up a really good looking action movie opening of a comic. Here and elsewhere in the comic, his artwork has a real dash of John Cassaday about it, never a bad thing at all.
The cool, calculated killer being hunted is Erik Cayman. He heads home to discover his wife and child dead. We get no idea why, not even a clue more than the obvious inference that Cayman is a dangerous man with dangerous enemies, just like in so many other generic comics of this sort.
Then we cut to Florida. Man and a woman chat. And there’s no apparent reason for the cut, no connection even hinted at. It’s simply a woman, Laura, heading to a market to see a young girl beaten by street gang. After the fact, Laura chats to the girl…
You can see what I was talking about there with the John Cassaday comparison right there, can’t you?
And finally, in the third short part, we cut to Wyoming and the town of Eden. We meet another group of people, a family this time, Mark, Maggie, and a child, Eva. We find out that Eric is the Mayor, Maggie the sheriff or similar, and it’s dropped out in a strange conversation that Eva is not the Mayor’s child. There’s something in the way Mark talks about Eva that seems off, a strange metre to the conversation, something unusual and off about it all. But it’s not explored any further as we then switch and shift to later that day, as Erik Cayman wanders into Eden, part of the ‘new blood’ that Maggie had told Mayor Mark he was going to have to deal with.
It’s obvious now that this is no ordinary town, Erik’s cash some tithe of entry. He’s given a trailer by Mayor Mark and told to stay there, to not come into town until given permission. But, in typical tough guy fashion, he doesn’t take notice and heads into town, a man with a chip on his shoulder and anger to get out.
And that’s where it’s left. That’s all there is for the first issue.
As I said, there’s good here, particularly in Ienco’s excellent artwork. But my frustration in the disjointed nature of it all was just the over-riding thing I took from this first issue. There’s too much going on and not enough fully realised in any of the parts. Frankly, the entire Florida portion could have been ditched till next issue, allowing the rest to be opened up to end up with a much better first issue than we have here.
It’s a comic that I might carry on with or I might not, but if I do carry on with it, I have to say it would be more out of curiosity to see what the hell was going on rather than a desperate desire to see where it develops.
POSTAL: DELIVERANCE #1 – Created by Matt Hawkins, written by Bryan Hill, art by Raffaele Ienco, letters by Troy Peteri. Published by Top Cow/ Image Comics.