Writer: Rob Guillory
Artist: Rob Guillory
Colorist: Taylor Wells
Letterer: Kody Chamberlain
Review by Evan Maroun
Issue #1 of Farmhand introduced us to a darkly funny blend of ideas where “Farmaceuticals” exist– being able to grow human limbs and organs like they were any other crop. On top of that, the secret history that lies within the Jenkins family is truly what made the debut so interesting.
In a smart opening that takes full advantage of page and panel real estate, Farmhand #2 throws us right into the emotional turmoil that has followed protagonist Zeke throughout his life up until now. It’s within these first fifteen panels that Guillory also shows us something I wasn’t quite expecting: a real feeling of personal experience. One small panel shows us a young Zeke sitting at a drawing table when his father tells him “Son, funny books don’t milk cows.” He doesn’t dwell on this panel, but you get the sense that Guillory may at one point have gone through something similar as an artist himself. Even if that’s not quite the case or I’m completely off-base, this manages to hit home. A few other panels on the same page succeed in doing the same thing. In this follow-up to the debut issue, Guillory not only starts to give Zeke more depth, but he addresses a slight concern I had with the first by putting each individual family member more firmly in focus.
Mae, Zeke’s wife, has a brief encounter with a rather shady florist, His son finds a personal hero at school, and his daughter, well, her behavior needs some work. A few new faces join the mix as well, but yet, Guillory still glides among everyone seamlessly. While issue one gave us a glimpse at the black heart of the farmaceutical facility, issue two dials that back ever so slightly and ramps up the humor to give us a look at the town surrounding it. With Guillory’s snappy dialogue, coupled with over-the-top expressions, it’s often hard not to crack up. Sight gags and Chew references are even thrown in for good measure. The way that this plot is going currently is fantastic: fantastic in the way that I have absolutely no idea where it is in fact going.
I wish someone could grow me another pair of eyes (20/20 this time around please), so I can take in this vivid color work by Wells for the first time all over again. Every page hits you with a barrage of bright characters and backgrounds. She knows precisely when to change over hues to mesh with the careful tone juggling, too. This is a team that is very much in sync.
Verdict: Buy it!
By expanding into the lives of the other members of Zeke’s family in Farmhand #2, we start to become more familiar with the people soon to be entangled in something much more sinister.