Writers: Jordan Thomas
Art: Clark Bint
Letterer: NS Paul Editor: Matt Hardy
Graphics: Daniel Gruitt
Publisher: Mad Robot Comics
WHAT IS IT?
Frank at Home on the Farm #1 is the first issue of its miniseries. The comic has big elements of psychological horror, while hinting towards something more supernatural on the horizon.
Frank at Home on the Farm feels like Changeling and The Shining mixed together. There’s still a lot to unfurl in this story, but the first issue DEFINITELY has that mixture.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
The book centers around Frank Cross returning from the war to his family farm. There, he expects to see his mother, father, and little brother again. Much to his own chagrin, he discovers they are not there…and seemingly nobody remembers them ever being there. This, unfortunately for Frank, is only the beginning of his horrors.
In the midst of his search for his family, strange things begin to occur to Frank. In between his seemingly fleeting grasp on reality to his presence disturbing creatures around him, Frank isn’t exactly having the easiest of homecomings.
There are a lot of threads being laid out in this comic. This is a truly, truly unnerving first issue and I’m really looking forward to how the team manages to bring all of these threads together.
It is very, very unnerving. The writing here perfectly captures the psychological edge of horror: readers have a difficult time discerning if what is happening around Frank really is happening.
The art is such an amazing compliment for this story. It can be difficult to nail the complexity of psychological horror on a comic page, but Bint hits it out of the park.
It’s easy to get sold on Frank early on. A soldier, returning from war, who just wants to see his family again? How could you not root for that character? It helps that Frank’s interactions are written really well, he feels genuine.There is some FANTASTIC lettering in this book. There’s a scene towards the end where the dialogue balloon is used as a way of showing Frank’s psychological state and I live for that kind of work.
I love how wildly stylized Frank’s flashback scene was. The panels become more scrawled, the lettering became more messy/handwritten, and the colors went much darker. I felt like that helped sell the horrifying nature of those particular pages.
There are some great pages in here. A few that include an upside-down world and barbed wire in particular stick out as just gorgeous artwork. It’s something you can appreciate with how well paced the book feels.
A With all of the above said, the book is brilliantly immersive. You feel every ounce of confusion, of terror, of bewilderment that Frank does. For a book like this, it is very difficult to produce feelings like that, and the creative team really should be proud of their work.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
RED FLAGS: There is definitely some violent scenes, as well as potential psychological trigger warnings in the book.
Some of the page layouts don’t work very well. They don’t necessarily lead the eye from the proper panel to the next one. You can see this book’s pages have some incredible ambition, something I sincerely respect, and while most of them are hits, there are definitely one or two misses.
The color palette is so muted and grayed. I understand that this book is meant to be a work of horror, but I often feel like colorists lose their opportunity to flex when the palette is this muted.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
There’re a lot of horror comics out there, but few succeed in dousing you in their character’s mindframe as well as this one does. The art really brings it all home too. Seeing some of these pages really adds to that level of terror. It is an absolute powerhouse of paranoia and confusion, one that is going to leave you a little bit shaken after you walk away from it.
This book is immersive. It sucks you into the mindset of Frank and you never really leave. It’s so strange, so unique, that you’ll be ready to read the second issue by the time you finish the first.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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