In Farmhand #15 from Image Comics, Ezekiel discovers some of the old family history, his father Jedidiah confronts Monica, now fully possessed by the Seed, and we find out what happened to Ezekiel’s mother. There’s a bad moon rising, and not everyone gets out alive. Find out what happens in your next Major Spoilers review!
Writer: Rob Guillory
Artist: Rob Guillory
Letterer: Kody Chamberlain
Publisher: Image Comics
Release Date: 26th May 2020
Previously in FARMHAND: Jedidiah has created a seed that amongst other things, grants eternal life, but also appears to involve possession by a higher intelligence. When companies and foreign agents come knocking, trouble quickly ensues. This is compounded when his estranged son, Ezekial returns to help with the family business. Soon, the product of Jedidiah’s research escapes into the community, with unpredictable and dire results…
FARMHAND #15 does a lot of heavy lifting in a very deft manner. Writer and artist Rob Guillory moves the action forward in the present, and adds depth by examining past events and their impact on the future. When Ezekiel wakes up in a nowhere place, he is confronted with details from his childhood. A clever mirroring technique, where his father in the past has a gun aimed at him by his co-conspirator Monica, is reversed in the present where Jedidiah holds a gun on her, demonstrating Guillory’s skill as a writer.
FARMHAND #15 is actually a pretty good jumping on point, even though it is a mile marker on a longer story, and represents the last issue for a little while, as Guillory downs tools to recharge his batteries. There’s enough revealed, about the experiments Jedidah undertook in the past to develop his Seed, to the effects they are having when his colleague Monica goes rogue and becomes something more than merely human.
Guillory also deftly handles his characters. Ezekiel, estranged from his father over what happened to his mother, discovers, through the miracle of flashback, the truth of what happened to her. Instead of finding closure, Guillory allows his character to understand the fullness of his father’s stupidity, fueling his anger at him. His father, on the other hand, finally filled with remorse at what he has created and the damage it has caused, finally intends to make amends. These are real, if different responses, to extreme situations.
LAYING DOWN ROOTS
Guillory’s artwork, like the emotions on display, is full of raw energy. Lacking in finesse, it more than makes up for it in the strength of his line work, and his willingness to depict the impact of gunshot wounds. Cartoonish would be the wrong word to describe it, but a fidelity to the human form his artwork doesn’t have, but instead conveys the emotion and anger of the characters in broad brushstrokes. People get whacked in the head with shovels, or run over by cars and blow their brains out with a gun, and there’s never any attempt to whitewash the impact these incidents have on the human body.
There’s a lot of strong artwork in the issue, with expressive faces and body positioning. Have a look at Monica holding a gun on Jedidiah in one of the flashback scenes. Her face is contorted, her hair wold, her legs wide and brace. The gun looms in the midpoint of the panel, while Jedidiah cowers at her feet. Through this single image, Guillory demonstrates an ability to convey a range of emotions in an efficient and effective manner.
BOTTOM LINE: WAYPOINT
I can heartily recommend FARMHAND #15. While the production of the series is now on hold for a short time, it is a very good entry point into the world. Readers won’t be led by the hand to understand what is going on, but the character’s reactions to events around them offer sufficient information. There’s also a really interesting story bubbling away here, about the limits of human understanding, and the cost to be paid, both professionally and personally, in going beyond the bounds of morality in the pursuit of knowledge and profit.
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