Friday, December 27, 2019

#IReadsYou Review: FARMHAND #10

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.(July 2019)

Rated “M/ Mature”

Farmhand created by Rob Guillory

Chapter 10: “In Vocation”

Farmhand is a 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's central character is Ezekiel “Zeke” Jenkins, a husband, father, and graphic designer and illustrator.  He returns to his hometown of Freetown, Louisiana with his wife, Mae, and their children, Abigail and Riley.  The old family business was “Jenkins Family Farm.”  The new family business is “Jenkins Family Farmaceutical Institute,” operated by Zeke's father, Jedidiah Jenkins, and his sister, Andrea.  It grows plant-based human organs and tissue, and once upon a time, people, especially transplant recipients, saw this as a miracle.  But, now...

As Farmhand #10 (“In Vocation”) opens, the secrets of Mayor Monica Thorne continue their gradual emergence.  Meanwhile, Thorne has to keep playing the role of dutiful public servant, and Jedidiah Jenkins' carelessness has given her the cover she needs.  Recipients of Jenkins' miracle seed-transplants are in a state of crisis, and one of them nearly kills Jedidiah.  Andrea Jenkins finds herself recalling these unfortunate people to the Jenkins Institute to receive help for their new conditions.

And now, in need of job, Zeke is helping Andrew fix this mess as a paid “communications consultant.”  But a sudden recollection of his past has Zeke... seeing things from a green point of view.

In my previous reviews of this excellent comic book, I consistently connected Farmhand to the work of late television writer and producer, Rod Serling, and his legendary TV series, “The Twilight Zone.”  This second story arc, which began with issue #6 and ends with #10, also recalls the work of legendary modern horror novelist and short story writer, Stephen King.

Farmhand's sophomore arc does not suffer from the dreaded sophomore slump.  It slowly emerges like a cobra before a snake charmer and his “pungi.”  This arc takes its time, toying with the readers the way a cat bats around a mouse – before delivering the killing blow.  This is the way the first half of King's classic small town horror novel, 'Salem's Lot (1975), works.  The denizens of 'Salem's Lot play out their small town melodramas never aware that “The Master” is already in their midst, well into his elaborate meal.  In Farmhand, the players live on a meal of denial, until indigestion sets in.

With each issue, Guillory makes the world of Farmhand richer and darker.  Honestly, sometimes, I wondered how far he could take this series, but it seems as if he never runs out of seeds and ideas.  Every issue presents another “mean green mutha” of an idea or two or three.

The “green mutha” would not be so mean without Taylor Wells' glorious coloring.  Wells is the sunshine in this garden of unearthly delights, and an Eisner Award nomination is due Wells, not because the colors are pretty, which they are.  Farmhand would not be the same without Wells, who gives this apocalypse the color of life.

With letterer Kody Chamberlain delivering a photosynthesis-tic beat, Farmhand is complete.  So where is Rob Guillory taking readers?  If the first ten issues are any indication (and they are), the future is a trip into “pure imagination.”

[This comic book also includes the one-page comic, “Freetown Funnies” by Burt Durand.]

10 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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