FRANK AT HOME ON THE FARM, ISSUE #2
Writer: Jordan Thomas
Illustrator: Clark Bint
Graphics: Daniel Gruitt
WHAT IS IT?
Frank at Home on the Farm #2 is the second issue of its miniseries. The book feeds on psychological horror, intercut with supernatural horror. Those two horror styles feel uniquely distinct in this story, though there are some connections developing between the two.
Frank at Home on the Farm #2 feels like George Orwell’s Animal Farm and The Shining mixed together. You can read my review of issue #1 here.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
In the first issue, we saw Frank Cross return from war. He’s traumatized, having some pretty terrifying nightmares, and his family has gone missing with nobody else seeming to remember them.
The second issue picks off pretty much right where #1 left us. We see Frank continuing to try and run the farm while searching for clues of what happened to his family.
Unfortunately for Frank, things are very similar to what happened to him in Issue #1. The animals are still very creepily active around him, seemingly consorting against him. Even worse, there’re some other animals out in the night that he hasn’t ever seen before.
To repeat myself from my last review: this book is very, very unnerving. The writing maintains the momentum it accomplished in the first issue with more well done psychological horror.
One of the best parts of this issue is a scene with a particular tree. So much of the first issue is spent around the confusion of Frank, but we really get to see the emotional despair that the absence of his family (and his lone knowledge of their existence) is taking on him.
So, LetterSquids takes over lettering duties in this issue and manages to continue the great work of NS Paul from #1. I think one of the strong points of the war flashbacks are the scratchy style utilized in the fonts used to convey them. It makes for such a distinct shift in tone and it’s a really solid use of the comic medium there.
Clark Bint comes back for some real excellent work on the artwork again. The thing I love most about Bint’s artwork on this series is how ridiculously consistent it is. It’s not just a mark of Bint being a professional, but he just kills it on each panel. Every panel manages to stick out for one reason or another. This is a story to read slowly.
So much of this book is really mastery of tone. The way the team manages to shift tones from page to page is so remarkable. We can easily go from a slice of life scene to an absolute horror show in a couple of panels and it feels seamless.
It has a perfect ending. Here’s why: the ending is very much telegraphed throughout the book. You don’t exactly see it coming, but the groundwork is well layered through the story. So, when you finally get to that ending it’s jarring, but it makes sense storywise, and it is one hell of a cliffhanger. I loved it.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
RED FLAGS: There are definitely some violent scenes, as well as potential psychological trigger warnings in the book.
The issue feels very mid-season-y. There’s a sequence of flashbacks or concurrent events happening elsewhere that we don’t know how they tie-in. I feel like they should have maintained some relevance to the current plot in order for them to fit perfectly.
The inclusion of those flashbacks/events aren’t necessarily a pace-killer by any means. I think Thomas and Bint do a good job maintaining the pace in spite of them, but there’s definitely a real need to see those fibers connect in issue #3.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Frank at Home on the Farm holds a lot of characteristics that make for great horror comics: great writing, amazing artwork, suspense, paranoia, and more twists than you can count. What makes it so great, though, is the way that it powerfully uses its pacing and tone shifting to tell a story that is as heartbreaking as it is terrifying.
There is no other book like Frank at Home on the Farm. It stands alone in its unique, terrifying way that has forever changed how I look at my dog.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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