Thursday, September 26, 2019

Review: FARMHAND #2

IMAGE COMICS – @ImageComics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Rob Guillory – @Rob_guillory
ART: Rob Guillory
COLORS: Taylor Wells
LETTERS: Kody Chamberlain
MISC. ART: Burt Durand (“Farmhand Calendar” design)
32pp, Colors, 3.99 U.S.(August 2018)

Rated “M/ Mature”

Farmhand created by Rob Guillory

Chapter 2: “The Haunted Man”

Farmhand is a new comic book series from comic book creator, Rob Guillory.  Farmhand is written and illustrated by Guillory; colored by Taylor Wells; and lettered by Kody Chamberlain (who also designed the Farmhand logo).  Farmhand focuses on Ezekiel “Zeke” Jenkins, a husband, father, and graphic designer/illustrator.  He returns to the family farm, which now focuses not on “beans, greens, potatoes, tomatoes,” but on the growth of human body parts.

Farmhand #2 finds Zeke struggling with troubling dreams which delve into his past troubles, and he is having a difficult time finding work in the old hometown of Freetown.  Meanwhile, at “Jenkins Family Farmaceutical Institute” (formerly known as “Jenkins Family Farm”), Jedidiah “Jed” Elias Jenkins (Pops) is introducing another patient to the wonders of farm-grown body parts.  Behind the scientific advancements and the hometown charm are dark reunions, unexpected acts of kindness, and the menace of plants that should not be menacing.

Farmhand has a darkly humorous sensibility, like some kind of sparkly black comedy.  Zeke Jenkins is our hapless hero, who does not realize that his misgivings barely scratch the surface of the dangerous topsoil that is his new life.  I wish I could yell out to him, “It's worse than you think!”  Guillory mines the most humor from his hero being over his head even when he thinks that he is ahead of the game.

On the other side, Farmhand's secrets are a menace society, a threat that belies Taylor Well's dazzling colors.  We sing about a circle of life and preach recycling, but do we realize that change, even recycling, is destructive... or at least transforming.  That is “The Twilight Zone” element of Farmhand; one's innocence, naivete, or ignorance does not protect one from the unexpected twist of fate or the macabre reality of nature revealed in the final minutes of a Twilight Zone denouement.

In a way, Rob Gullory's Farmhand is the true sequel and true heir to director Philip Kaufman and writer W.D. Richter's creepy, 1978, version of the classic Cold War-era film, Invasion of the Body Snatchers.  The similarity is not so much about plants; rather, it is in the frightening reality of how the catalyst (the plants) changes one person into something completely new and different.  Snatch a copy of Farmhand; read it in bed, but beware of falling asleep near that glass on your bedside.  There is a mint leaf floating in your tea.

9 out of 10

Reviewed by Leroy Douresseaux a.k.a. "I Reads You"

The text is copyright © 2018 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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