Writer: Jordan Thomas
Illustrator: Clark Bint
Graphics: Daniel Gruitt
Frank at Home on the Farm #3, Cover by Clark Bint, Thomas/Bint
WHAT IS IT?
Frank at Home on the Farm #3 is the penultimate issue in the four-issue horror mini-series. I’ve reviewed each book in the series thus far, with each issue feeling like two different genres running parallel to each other: psychological horror and supernatural horror. However, it feels more and more like those two genres are beginning to collide, beginning to meet in a way that feels tremendously exciting and deeply horrifying.
Frank at Home on the Farm #2 feels like George Orwell’s Animal Farm and The Shining mixed together. For the record, that Animal Farm comparison is beginning to gain some speed! You can read my review of issue #1 here, and #2 here.
WHAT’S IT ABOUT?
Please heed the spoiler warning. If you haven’t read issues #1 and #2, you will want to read those first. Don’t ruin the series for yourself by reading ahead.
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.
In the second issue, Frank is attempting to maintain some form of normality. He continues to run the farm, although it becomes and more and more apparent to him that the animals are more than what they seem. To make matters worse, the farm is attacked by a wolf. When Frank goes to defend the animals, it bites him, but Frank kills the wolf anyway. The second issue ended with Frank being confronted by a pig speaking to him at his dinner table.
The thing about #2 is the way it left off on that big cliffhanger confrontation. I was super psyched to dive into this and it didn’t disappoint. The third issue hits hard. We see the story really dive into Frank’s new relationship with the animals and how his entire world shifts. Not only that, we’re beginning to discover breadcrumbs about what’s happened to his family, at least so we’re led to believe.
The thing about issue #3 is how well it begins to blend it’s two kinds of horror. All the occurrences at the farm, Frank’s nightmares, his family, the animals, the town, all of it is beginning to connect like the synapses of the nervous system. Links are developing and Frank is desperately trying to stay together at the same time. This issue, to me, is a huge payoff for the series and sets up its conclusion brilliantly.
The fusion of the horror types isn’t just organic, it’s fluid. The separation has actually been something I’ve enjoyed in the series, but watching it come together was so smooth and well done, that it quickly became my favorite part of the series so far.
O· Frank’s character arc has been a rough ride for him, and it’s beginning to show. The character progression of him into his confused madness is beginning to show a toll on him, not just in his interactions with other characters, but his physical demeanor. The way we see Frank is shifting as well.
There’s such an insane momentum here. I mentioned that the book felt “Mid-season-y” in #2 and it’s the opposite here: the book is a train ride ready for derailment. The plot advances quickly and things get crazier and crazier page to page.
What I like most about Frank, as a character, is simply how terrible you feel for him. The man is just trying to find his family, and throughout the book, you can see that piece of humanity inside of him that you relate to, despite all the terrible things around him. Frank’s descent has an emotional effect on readers because he doesn’t seem like he deserves this. (Does anyone?).
Clark Bint swings the pen like a sledgehammer because his really terrifying pages are so good. I think Bint’s use of shadows has served him well this entire series, it provides him this element to have such an edge of creepiness that you can’t easily walk away from a page.
Bint coloring his own work is next level. He thoroughly adds a layer to his inks each time. I think part of this is due to what I said about his shadow work, because his pages involving flame, where he gets to really play with lighting, is where he does his best work.
Again, LetterSquids is an absolute monster on letters. The range of font changes elevate the tone and terror throughout the story. It’s something special to this mini-series and I hope he gets the attention he deserves for it.
WHAT DOESN’T WORK?
RED FLAGS: There are definitely some violent scenes, as well as potential psychological trigger warnings in the book.
Aside from that…folks, I’ve got nothing. I think this issue is super solid.
WHY SHOULD I READ IT?
Frank at Home on the Farm #3, Page 12, Thomas/Bint
Frank at Home on the Farm #3 is a testament to horror comics if there’s ever been one. It’s a brilliant use of a character thrown into his own psychological descent. There’s a mystery unfolding here, in this issue more than others, and we’re beginning to see underneath the skin of this beast. If there has ever been a doubt in your mind about backing a Kickstarter book, this is the one to scare it out of you.
HOW DO I BUY IT?
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