Writer: Rob Guillory
Artists: Rob Guillory and Taylor Wells
Farmhand #1 is Rob Guillory’s return to the world of creator-owned comics following his insanely entertaining book Chew with John Layman. This time, Guillory takes on both writing and art duties (Sans colors) to tell a story of his own.
In Farmhand, Jedidiah Jenkins is a revolutionary farmer that his managed to grow human organs on his farm thanks to breakthroughs in stem cell research. Hands and fingers grow off of the limbs of trees, eyeballs are the center of flowers, and of course, there are scalp bushes. The story follows Zeke and his family as he takes his children to his their grandfather, Jedidiah. The family reunion is bittersweet, and it is clear that there is quite a bit of tension between the father and son. They haven’t seen each other in years following some sketchy business on the farm, but the two are trying to make amends now. Meanwhile, a government conspiracy is taking place behind the scenes.
Guillory’s writing a superb, as he flexes his ability to write a fun script with entertaining dialogue. The issue’s pacing is nearly flawless, as the story walks the line between action and introductions. The Jenkins family is fairly diverse, even if the kids perfectly fit into some cliche archetypes. The mystery going on in the background of the family reunion is especially entertaining as Jedidiah gives off some Godfather vibes throughout multiple pages. It’s easy to get immediately invested in the drama and intrigue as the issue progresses.
Rob Guillory’s art is simply stellar. The pencils and inks have the same jagged, cartoony style that fans of Chew are used to, and it fits the tone of the book just fine. Not only does the style complement the story, but it also makes the gruesome nature of an organ farm easier to swallow. The cartoonish style leads to animated characters, which makes the book way more fun than it has any business being. Taylor Wells’ art completes the aesthetic, adding just the pop that the art needs.
Each panel is just full of detail, and not a single page feels barren. Backgrounds are almost whimsical, while the foregrounds are full of tiny details that are fun to look out for. Not a single page or panel in this issue is wasted, which breathes life into the story. The pages are littered with little jokes here and there in a way that is similar to how Chip Zdarsky handles the pages of Sex Criminals. This issue is simply a full package of comic goodness.
Farmhand is almost as good of a debut as you can ask for. It’s fun, has solid pacing, and has just enough mystery to thrill. Some may find it a bit too silly, but to everyone else, this is worth checking out.
Farmhand is almost as good of a debut as you can ask for. It's fun, has solid pacing, and has just enough mystery to thrill. Some may find it a bit too silly, but to everyone else, this is worth checking out.