cover image F.A.R.M. System

F.A.R.M. System

Rich Koslowski. Top Shelf, $19.99 trade paper (184p) ISBN 978-1-60309-515-0

Make up superhero teams and apply the business of Major League Baseball: that’s the conceit behind this inventive but unsatisfying graphic novel by Koslowski (Three Fingers). At the Free Agent Recruit Management (aka F.A.R.M.) base camp, wannabe heroes train to become the best in their field, motivated by the biggest payout. Two characters take the spotlight: never-named “New Kid,” searching for his superheroic identity, and grizzled, tough guy The Gymnast (looking and acting a lot like Wolverine), who quits the league in search of a missing comrade. Short subplots of other heroes are threaded through, and it all gets mish-mashed, with the main plot mired in trivia and flashbacks. The conclusion reveals a hither-to-unseen hero-killer; it comes, to extend the book’s own metaphor, out of left field. Koslowski’s action sequences are overcomplicated and as hard to follow as the plot. (The narrative often grinds to a halt as talking heads take over.) It’s a nifty concept that just gets lost along the way, overpacked with insider references. This one earnestly swings for the fences but strikes out. (Oct.)