In the opening two issues of this limited series, Frank Cross returned home from the horrors of World War I to discover his family farm inexplicably vacated. In issue three, the mysteries of the farm deepen when a talking pig greets Frank at his kitchen table. The pig has plans to protect the farm from unwanted intruders and needs Frank's help, so he provides some cryptic details about the disappearance of Frank's family. But a shadow of doubt is cast later in the issue when a cow warns Frank of the pig's ulterior motives. But are these talking farm animals real? Or are they perverse hallucinations brought about by Frank's post-traumatic stress? Meanwhile, in the local village, the constabulary widens their search for an arsonist after a series of fires in local municipal buildings.
Frank at Home on the Farm is a beautifully chilling entanglement of overlapping mysteries. At first, the third issue appears to resolve the cliffhanger ending from the previous chapter, but, instead, it raises more questions. Can the animals on the farm actually talk? Or is it all in Frank's head? And if they can talk, can they be trusted? The major appeal of this issue is Frank as the unreliable narrator. The story is told almost entirely from his perspective, but his paranoia is intensifying and his grip on reality is loosening. Add onto that his continued isolation; Frank doesn't talk to a single human character in the entire issue. There's no one else there to corroborate his story for the reader or substantiate what's actually happening on the farm.
Issue three contains some of Bint's best visuals in the series so far. The two splash pages of Frank and the pig conversing were especially entertaining and showcased Bint's delightfully unsettling aesthetic style. Shadows engulf every panel as Frank's nightmares become real, heightening the constricting emptiness and mounting desperation. And even though Frank's post-traumatic flashbacks are less gruesome than previous chapters, the way Bint renders the animals in issue three is remarkably more grotesque. In their Kickstarter campaigns, the creators promised a Guillermo Del Toro-inspired design for their farm animals, and in issue three they successfully fulfill that commitment.
A brief supplemental at the end of issue three gives us a grisly preview of what's to come in the concluding chapter which is currently crowdfunding on Kickstarter. I'm looking forward to seeing which mysteries of the farm, if any, will be resolved in the final installment.
Creative Team: Jordan Thomas (story), Clark Bint (artist), LetterSquids (letters), Daniel Gruitt (graphics)
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