Saturday, November 23, 2019

Review: FARMHAND #6

IMAGE COMICS – @ImageComics

[This review was originally posted on Patreon.]

STORY: Rob Guillory – @Rob_guillory
ART: Rob Guillory
COLORS: Taylor Wells
LETTERS: Kody Chamberlain
32pp, Colors, 3.99 U.S.(March 2019)

Rated “M/ Mature”

Farmhand created by Rob Guillory

Chapter 6: “ReCreation”

Farmhand is a science fiction and dark fantasy comic book series from comic book creator, Rob Guillory.  Guillory is also known for his award-winning tenure on the long-running comic book, Chew (Image Comics), with writer John Layman.  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 and illustrator.  He returns to the place where he grew up, Freetown, Louisiana, with his wife, Mae, and their children, Abigail and Riley.  The old family business, “Jenkins Family Farm,” grew crops, as in plants.  Now, Zeke's father, Jedidiah Jenkins, and “Jenkins Family Farmaceutical Institute” grow plant-based human organs and tissue.

Farmhand #6 (“ReCreation”) opens with a local minister, John Moore, feeling a sense of foreboding while he stands in a local graveyard.  There is trouble all around, but Zeke, Jedidiah, Riley, and Riley's strange pal, Mikhail, are gone fishing.  Meanwhile, at the institute, Andrea (Zeke's sister and Jed's daughter) is facing down mounting problems.  Even Zeke and company will find that a fishing trip is not an escape from the spreading curse of that “miracle seed.”

In my previous reviews of the excellent Farmhand, I have connected this comic book to the work of late television writer and producer, Rod Serling, and his legendary TV series, “The Twilight Zone.”  Farmhand also plants its roots in the rich, dark soil of that American master of speculative fiction and fantasy, Ray Bradbury.

Still, Farmhand is gradually a vine growing in its own directions, and I have started to wonder about the direction of this narrative.  Yes, the events depicted here are often a horror show for the characters within, characters main, supporting, guests, and cameos. But what of this miracle seed?  Is it in a state of distress as some of the characters in this series are?

One might interpret, as I did, a suggestion in this issue that the stem cell that has provided so many humans with new organs and body parts may also be some kind of A.I. – Artificial Intelligence.  Maybe, the “miracle seed” is an artificial intelligence or perhaps, “independent intelligence.”  Maybe, its actions are beyond the moral considerations of good and evil.  In Jurassic Park, Dr. Ian Malcolm says that life will find a way, and Farmhand's seed seems to be finding its own way, by design grand, random, or otherwise.

Farmhand #6 is the start of a new story arc.  Guillory's writing and art are still quite good.  Taylor Wells' colors remain a wonderland of hues.  Kody Chamberlain's lettering is like a steady drum beat telling a story to everyone in the valley who can hear it.  However, whereas many series attempt to solidify its world and worldview by the second story arc, Farmhand and Rob Guillory are not solidifying; rather, they are in a state of change, if not evolution.  When it comes to where the “Jedidiah seed” is going, there is no signpost up ahead.

10 out of 10

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

The text is copyright © 2019 Leroy Douresseaux. All Rights Reserved. Contact this blog or site for reprint and syndication rights and fees.


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