REVIEW: ‘Farmhand,’ Volume 1

Reading Time: 2 minutes

Farmhand Volume 1

I think Rob Guillory might be a Madman. No, really, I mean it. It’s been over 2 years since the Eisner award-winning artist wrapped up his showstopping run on Chew. Now other, a saner artist might have used that time to take a break or go on vacation. But not Guillory. No, instead he spent those two years creating a brand new comic all about farm Life, family, and the dangers of bio-engineering. Let’s take a look at Image Comics Farmhand Volume 1, written and illustrated by Rob Guillory, with colors by Taylor Wells, and lettering by Kody Chamberlain.

They say you can’t go home again, but “They” obviously didn’t have Jedidiah Jenkins as their daddy.  A family man at heart, Jedidiah wants nothing more than to tend to his crops and have his family all together. So after years of estrangement, Jedidiah swallows his pride and asks his son Zeke to come on home.

A cartoonist by trade, Zeke Jenkins has a young family of his own, consisting his wife Mae and their two children Abby and Riley. Now some might see moving your wife and kids into the house you grew up in as a Millennial nightmare. But Zeke’s dealt with his own demons, so to bury the hatchet and get in touch with his roots he packs up his family and heads back to the Southern Oasis of Freetown.

That’s when things get weird – remember now, this is a Rob Guillory comic. Jedidiah Jenkins ain’t your average farmer. Instead of Corn, he grows…organs. It turns out that way back in the day, old Jedidiah had a miraculous vision. In an instant,  he saw a blueprint for an entirely new form of human stem cell, one that could grow healthy human organs from scratch. Or at least that’s what it says in the pamphlets. They don’t mention the mutant plant hybrids, corporate cyborg ninjas, or mind-controlling organ transplants either, but there’s only so much room in a pamphlet.

I got to admit, I had high expectations going into Farmhand vol. 1. Chew was the funniest and most inventive comic in my pull list for years. Since I can’t handle hope I was a little worried that Guillory’s follow up wouldn’t those same standards. And boy, was I wrong.

Farmhand vol. 1 is ridiculous in all the right ways, blending comedy, horror and good ol’ fashioned family drama into one insane package. The comic sways to an inaudible rhythm, shifting from one genre to another in a manner of panels.  And somehow it just works.

Now, this should come as no surprise, but Farmhand is funny in the way that only comics can be. Guillory takes every opportunity to get a laugh and I do mean every opportunity. Whether it’s a cartoonish flashback or outrageous dialogue, Guillory finds the absurdist root in every scene. Even the background art will have you in stitches. I very nearly ruined my computer while reviewing this comic thanks to a can of seltzer water and a well-placed sight gag

Whether you love horror, comedy, or something in between, Farmhand is a fresh taste from a bold talent. Make yourself whole. Read this book.

Farmhand Volume 1 is available now

Farmhand vol. 1
5

TL;DR

Whether you love horror, comedy, or something in between, Farmhand is a fresh taste from a bold talent. Make yourself whole. Read this book.