After moving back to his hometown, Zeke finds himself struggling to fit back in while his family has a more successful time. From getting a job to being abducted, Zeke doesn’t have the best luck when it comes to gelling with the local community. His family on the other hand appears to be taking to Zeke’s hometown like fish to water. That is everyone except his daughter, however, who isn’t fitting in well at school.
The first issue of Farmhand introduced a lot to the reader and issue two allows for Rob Guillory to take his time and expand on things. For such a cartoonish book, it’s surprising just how dense the comic is: Guillory manages to write about the struggles of getting a job, conspiracy theorists, slackers, fitting in at school, and small town paranoia all in a single issue. He does this while keeping some tense sections as well as a generally funny tone throughout.
It’s seriously impressive how Guillory manages the tones of the book. At first glance it looks like a cartoon with its over-the-top character designs and emphasized movements. But read a little closer and readers will see some fairly horrific elements to the story, and gore contrasting well with the art style. Read a little closer again and readers will note how smart the dialogue is and how politically aware the book is. All while never forcing any views of his own, Guillory presents many comments on contemporary America subtly crafted into the story seamlessly.
There’s not a lot to criticize here. The first issue was a fantastic introduction to the series and issue two only builds on that. Occasionally, there are cutaway jokes a la Family Guy that fall a little short. The humor of the series works better when it’s dry, so the overtly humorous sections come across a little jarring.
Towards the end of the issue there’s a sense that it is building towards something, but this build is quickly disrupted by a surprise climax that takes the story in another direction. It’s neat and certainly surprising but building towards one moment only to whisk the reader away for another irritates the reader as much as it does generate excitement for next month’s issue.
While there are so many great books being put out on a weekly basis these days it’s well worth taking a break from the superheroes to read a tonally complex series that comes from the mind of one creator. This is Rob Guillory’s baby, and it’s starting to take root inside readers’ minds, just like a plant from Mr Jenkins’s farm.