Writer and Artist: Rob Guillory
Colorist: Taylor Wells
Published by: Image Comics
Publish Date: July 11, 2018
Notes: Monthly series, first issue.
“Jedidiah Jenkins is a farmer—but his cash crop isn’t corn or soy. Jed grows fast-healing, plug-and-play human organs. Lose a finger? Need a new liver? He’s got you covered. Unfortunately, strange produce isn’t the only thing Jed’s got buried. Deep in the soil of the Jenkins Family Farm, something dark has taken root, and it’s beginning to bloom. From ROB GUILLORY, Eisner-winning co-creator and artist of Image Comics’ CHEW, comes a new dark comedy about science gone sinister and agriculture gone apocalyptic. Nature is a Mother..”
Personal Thoughts (with spoilers):
With the Chew comic series gone from my monthly pulls, I have missed the unique, stylish work of Rob Guillory’s expressive cartoon art. His work made John Layman’s writing stand out, and gave the world of Chew a special, twisted feel. I look back, and still felt nothing like it since. Until….
Farmhand, a new series with art by Rob Guillory, and writing by….Rob Guillory!
That, is an interesting next step for Guillory, with him putting twice the passion of creativity by balancing both feats. Through that, something I feel much more wicked this way is coming. We look to his soil and the seeds planted for Farmhand, where he lays out a strange mystery afoot, involving dark science and the stuff of nightmares; meeting a mix of campy fun characters and unexpected plot twists.
Through the first pages, I am already unsettled by an escalated dream sequence…where I feel a prophecy of a dark truth is coming. The stuff of nightmares, indeed…
Well, this means some character buildup, with a family that we can already relate to and care about; definitely the heroes I can dig. I feel family togetherness in dark stories aren’t nearly as utilized as they should be (and when they are, it involved single parentage with a focus on a single child…so cliche). But here, something a little different is given here..a wholesome approach, innocent to the big secrets that lie beneath. Enter Zeke, a regular man, and his family; including a supportive wife and smartass kids.
Then, we enter their visit to the grandpa of the family. A humble farmer once, now working in a grander operational lab. It’s a bit comical, and a true return to elaborate style for Guillory with sight gags and double-take inducing prop elements. The overall setting for , feels like Jurassic Park meets the Wizard of Oz.
Here is half of an amazing 2-page spread, that is pure Guillory:
So, that being said, it’s got all the dark and disturbing feels of Chew, which brings me back to thinking on that classic series..how much of its dark and twisted nature was Guillory, and how much was Layman? Or did one learn from the other? Either way, I feel there is a work of twisted genius within growing in the work of Farmhand, especially with a story development in the end. But, I kind hope it won’t be too much like Chew, and this all leads to an ending that’s not as…abrupt.
But with moments like this, I’ll likely enjoy and see it all grow:
Which leads to ask, what’s next? The first issue serves as a brilliant sprouting of something ready to bloom. I’m exciting, but also anxious for the unknown; which for this series will likely be very entertaining.