"The Field" Trade Paperback Review
Written by James Ferguson
Published by Image Comics
Originally published as The Field #1 - #4
Written by Ed Brisson
Illustrated by Simon Roy
2014, 132 Pages
Trade Paperback released on October 15th, 2014
Sometimes I wonder why people ever go outside. The Field isn't helping any. The comic from writer Ed Brisson and artist Simon Ray picks up with a man waking up in a wheat field wearing nothing but a pair of tighty whities. He has no memory of how he got there. A cellphone nearby starts to ring, sending him warnings. Then a crazy Bible salesman shows up allegedly trying to save him. This is just the beginning of the insanity that this comic holds. There are also cosplaying cultists, a motorcycle gang, and a bunch of meth and murder. Seriously, stay inside, people.
Depending on how you read that description, The Field could be a slapstick comedy or the most terrifying story ever. It falls somewhere in the middle. It reminded me a bit of Stephen King's Desperation in tone, although not in content. This idea of suddenly finding yourself in an unfamiliar area of the country, at the mercy of the locals is creepy, especially when you get into these backwoods towns in the middle of nowhere. See also In Sanity, AZ.
Brisson's story builds upon itself. Every time you think you've figured things out, it takes a quick turn and changes everything, ultimately leading to an epic, world-shattering conclusion as the main character struggles to figure out who he is and how he got here. Along the way, it's a balls-to-the-wall action-packed journey of gore and bloodshed. The origin of the story came from a string of tweets that Brisson posted as a prank. It's amazing where ideas can come from, huh?
The Bible salesman, aptly named Christian, is easily my favorite character in The Field. He's a big guy that is not afraid to bust someone's face in if push comes to shove, but he never curses. The result is some crazy ultra-violence with some hilarious dialogue like "Crumbling crackers!" In one memorable scream, he viciously beats a man to death, shouting "Shut your banana hole!" punctuating each word with a throw of his fist. The contrast of his words with the brutal imagery adds to the unsettling feeling that flows through the entire comic.
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That bloodshed is brought to life magnificently by Simon Roy. His characters appear rather normal, like they could be anyone that you'd pass by on the street in your every day life. The first time that blood is spilled, it hits you like a punch in the gut. It comes out of nowhere and is downright shocking. Roy delivers some over-the-top death scenes that work very well with the insanity of the story.
There are many elements of The Field that I don't want to discuss because I don't want to spoil it. This is a comic that is best read knowing as little about it as possible. Granted, I revealed a few tidbits about the plot, but that's a drop in the ocean compared to where the story ultimately ends up. It comes across as a modern day Mad Max. Instead of driving killing machines in a dystopian future, there are sedans and mini-vans filled with crazy people looking for blood.
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