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Review Brew: Postal #24

Published By: Image Comics/Top Cow Productions, Inc.
Written By: Bryan Hill
Illustrated By: Isaac Goodhart and K. Michael Russell
List Price: $3.99

One of the ways in which Image Comics and Top Cow continue to succeed in this field is because they have seized upon the unique ability to impart wings to things that shouldn’t work. Author and public speaker Rob Bell calls this technique “coming through the side door.” It’s where you take a concept or thematic motif and enter into it from such a place that it gains new life. Its familiarity doesn’t offset or bother you in the least bit. This is what Image has done with Postal. In the sprawling landscape of wild, enigmatic, cutting edge, fantastical, bizarre, event driven, and every other kind of comic out there… in the midst of this brazenly unabashed funny book country, they have inserted a western.

And it works!

The side door into this unique world, into this particular issue, is familial conflict. Emotional tensions rising high between a mother, a father, and their gifted adult son leak into our consciousness with startling clarity. The panels ease on down the pressed paper, forlorn whistles echo softly from a place out of time as corners bend under the pressure of turned pages. We can feel the stakes instantly, and when the son leads off with the very action his mother desires him not to take- we know the only penalty can be death.

But by her hand?
Or his father’s?
Or perhaps an ambitious someone else…?

We are then carried through one more side door into this amazingly rustic landscape as the distribution of power makes itself clear. The father, while ruthless and backed by the support of deadly killers, is not the most dangerous person in the book. The mother is. That subtle subversion of the norm shifts the issue in a most sensational direction, because it changes the motives of all the male characters. It highlights the lethality between these contemporary cowgirls whose pride in their killing ability is the linchpin of their identity. This is not a place where many words need to be spoken, and what words are uttered provide the deepest context. A quiet dread even.

The panel imagery weaves us in and out of every emotional moment with stark adherence to the spirit behind any moment taking place. When the son rises out of bed, compelled by some instinct he can’t control- one which alarms his girlfriend attempting to sleep peacefully beside him- he walks powerfully out of the barn door. And as he makes it clear that no words of hers can sway him, the moonlight shines with unmitigated effervescence from high above.

Gorgeous.

There’s an intuition behind the strokes of this issue, that lets you know the artist truly understands the gravity of this sacred world they’re playing in. I enjoyed this thoroughly.

4.7 Double Barrel Shotguns out of 5

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