Farmhand #6 continues from where it left off before the recent short hiatus. It feels like the illusion of normality, or whatever normality is in a world with plant-based organ transplants, is starting to disappear. First we have transplant patients arriving in Freetown, then the machinations of Mayor Thorne and finally the issue ends with Jedidiah making a big discovery. Of course, this is set against the backdrop of a fishing trip designed to get Zeke and his father talking again.
Farmhand works as a book because it starts with the simple things and build from there. The core of the book is the Jenkins family, all of whom feel very real with their different drives and desires. I like how the interactions between Jedediah and Zeke really feel like they’re driven by two people thinking about different things and trying to communicate while at the same time trying to avoid being controlled by their past feelings. Then we have Andrea handling all the family business before having to do something that makes her uncomfortable. This issue continues to set things up for when the Jenkins realize that things are going wrong, and with the way this one ends it looks like we’ll get that moment in #7.
It’s a little sad that Farmhand will be constantly compared to Rob Guillory’s previous book, Chew. The thing is, aside from Guillory’s art and the bizarre core concept, Farmhand is a very different animal. It doesn’t rely on the constant puns and the hundreds of ideas that were used just for a single page or panel that were so common in Chew. Guillory is more confident in his core concept and his characters where he doesn’t need to constantly show off his imagination. That’s not to say that Farmhand isn’t clever or that it holds back and the tension and drama are really beginning to ramp up.
Guillory’s art is really good here, especially with how he conveys emotions and moods. Some of the choices here are simple and it’s the smaller feelings that really impress here, things like doubt, contemplation and contentment. Taylor Wells’ colouring really complements the art, with her lighting effects really standing out at the beginning and the end of this issue.