Unexpected visitors, unexpected changes… Things are getting tense ’round the farm. Your Major Spoilers review of Farmhand #7 awaits!
Writer: Rob Guillory
Artist: Rob Guillory
Colorist: Taylor Wells
Letterer: Kody Chamberlain
Publisher: Image Comics
Cover Price: $3.99
Release Date: April 17, 2019
Previously in Farmhand: Andrea Jenkins struggles with her father’s erratic behavior, as Jedidiah clings to what’s left of his crumbling legacy. Meanwhile, an unexpected visitor points to a frightening future for the residents of Freetown…
A DEVASTATING OPENING SCENE
This issue opens by breaking my heart, as we see a young Zeke Jenkins playing video games in a hospital room, only to be interrupted by his clearly dying mother. She takes a moment to hug him and ask how he’s getting along with his father, then asks him to get her some water. As soon as he leaves, though, he sees doctors and nurses leaping into action, rushing to her room, and when he tries to get back in, the nurses keep him out, insisting that they need to speak to his father immediately. Zeke tries to call his dad, only get a message indicating Jed’svoicemail is full and a hangup. It’s a brutal scene, and the sight of Zeke in tears on the floor hits way too close to home. Cut to the present day, as a grown-up Zeke tills the land on his dad’s farm. He’s still consumed by the strange events of last issue, when a mutated boar attacked him and his son, but can’t bring himself to explain to his wife what’s happening. While the EPA burns the entire grove of trees where they encountered the animal to the ground, Zeke’s dad, Jedidiah is seen performing a kidney transplant…
Well, not performing so much as commanding a custom-grown kidney to crawl into an incision in surgical patient and attach itself and the whole sequence is HORRIFYING. As the issue ends, Jed returns home alone, flies into a rage at how his life is falling apart, only to find a strange, seemingly half-plant stranger has entered his home.
WILD ORGAN TREES = NIGHTMARES FOR DAYS
Rob Guillory’s work always leaves my skin crawling, in the best possible way, and this issue is no exception. The explanation of how the transplanted kidney is going to eat the old one, and how the patient may feel “IT” moving for a few days just trips all of my body horror switches, but even so, I just can’t stop reading. The deepening mystery about how the Jedidiah seeds have been getting into the wild continues apace, but most of this issue is interpersonal, emotional content, with Zeke finally explaining what’s been happening to Andrea and Jedidiah watching what should have been a legacy of scientific genius and humanitarian acts burning down around him. To his credit, Guillory’s quirky art manages to convey quiet humanity and terrifying monster hybrids with equal skill, and the subtles use of shadows and lighting makes a mundane scene in the operating theatre into a carnival of horrors. Even more impressive, as Jed steps out into the light, the art switches back to normal immediately. It’s really impressive.
BOTTOM LINE: CHILLING, BUT FASCINATING
In short, if you enjoyed ‘Chew’ and its casual treatment of science ficitiony/horror tropes , you’ll be happy to hear that Farmhand is equally fun, nauseating, exhilarating and engaging, in stomach-churning new ways. Farmhand #7 earns its “Mature Readers” warning, but does so with skill, humanity and a core of real emotion that makes the horror that much worse, with expressive art and tremendous skill and precision, earning 4.5 out of 5 stars overall. Perhaps the greatest compliment I can give this book is that, based on the content and body horror plot, I shouldn’t love it… but I do.
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The best terror is (you should excuse the expression) rooted in humanity, and few artists do that better that Rob Guillory.