There’s more than seeds under the soil of Farmhand Vol. 2, published by Image Comics, written and illustrated by Rob Guillory, with colors by Taylor Wells, graphic design by Burton Durand and lettering by Kody Chamberlain. A comedy-horror delight, Farmhand Vol. 2 unearths secrets that threaten will change the Jenkins Family forever.
Zeke Jenkins thought things would be easier when he moved his family back to his childhood town. A nice, quiet life in the country near the old family was supposed to be normal. But things are never normal in Freetown, especially when your dad runs the most advanced Biotech company in the world, growing human organs from plants. Lately, things have gotten weird, even by Freetown standards. Droves of organ transplant patients keep showing up in Freetown, each transplant is drawn to the town by a voice only they can hear. In other parts of town, people talk about the strange plants and animals popping up over night, each more bizarre than the last. With Jed Jenkins’ grip on his farm slipping, Zeke sets out to save the family farm. Maybe he can save humanity too.
With Farmhand Vol 2, Guillory tips the scales of the series firmly towards the horror end of the spectrum. While Farmhand Vol. 1 had plenty of grisly visuals on display, the book largely kept its tone light as new readers warmed up to the Jenkins clan. Dismembered body parts naturally creep people out, and Farmhand has tons of them. But by placing those bodies in the sanitized labs of Jenkins Farms, Guillory kept the plant-based gore to a minimum. Farmhand Vol 2 leans into the body horror that lies at the heart of the series. Plantlike growths that only appeared briefly in the first volume burst out of people’s skin in this book. They replace eyes, they devour organs, and from the voices Transplants report hearing, they even get into your brain.
Guillory has always had a talent for drawing expressive humans with cartoonist flash. With Farmhand Vol 2, Guillory merges that style with his personal brand of extreme body horror. He morphs the afflicted transplants into Cronenbergian nightmares. These designs are so wonderfully upsetting that they make me wish Guillory had broken into the horror world sooner. Mayor Thorne’s true form stands out as one of Farmhand’s most chilling designs. She’s utterly captivating in her grotesqueness, making her threat to Freetown all the more frightening.
As much as I adore what Guillory has done with Farmhand Vol 2, the book isn’t flawless. Besides plant infused body horror, Guillory focuses his narrative on Jenkins family secrets and the mysteries that plague Freetown. Every member of the Jenkins clan holds a piece of the Farmhand puzzle. But instead of laying their cards on the table and trusting one another, the Jenkins never fully come together. Throughout Farmhand Vol 2., I kept wishing characters would talk to one another rather than keeping their feelings buried. And with plant-based terrors on the loose, their lives depend on knowing what’s happening in Freetown. For every answer the volume offers, it raises three more questions in its place.
Overall, Farmhand Vol 2 is full of body horror, family drama, and a central mystery that just keeps growing. The volume brings the series into its own. It’s funny and gross with more horrors on the way. For those who like their comics kooky and spooky, Farmhand Vol 2 demands a place on your shelf.
Farmhand Vol 2
Farmhand Vol 2 is full of body horror, family drama, and a central mystery that just keeps growing. The volume brings the series into its own.