Riverdale Season 3 #1
Micol Ostow (writer), Thomas Pitilli (artist), Andre Skymanowicz (colours), John Workman (letters)
Janice Chiang (letters), Joe Eisma (artist), Matt Herms (colours), Micol Ostow (writer)
13 March, 2019
Riverdale’s third season on The CW has introduced some interesting plotlines, but this new tie-in series from Archie Comics should shed some light on even the weirdest of proceedings. The first story of Riverdale Season 3 #1, ‘Rear Window,’ ties in directly to the Griffins and Gargoyles storyline that has had viewers both peeved and entertained throughout this season.
In ‘Rear Window,’ Veronica Lodge’s parents are out of town, and Veronica, Archie, Jughead, and Betty get some much-needed R&R in the beautiful Pembrooke Hotel. But when Jughead trains a pair of binoculars on a neighbouring apartment, the group find themselves entangled in a possible murder mystery.
I definitely liked the feel of ‘Rear Window,’ which encapsulates the grimness of Riverdale, while still infusing lighter moments from time to time. The story is too derivative of Alfred Hitchcock’s Rear Window, except for the addition of the Griffins and Gargoyles element, and I would have preferred some kind of subversion of the classic film. However, it is only the first issue, so I will reserve judgement till the rest of the story plays out.
In contrast to ‘Rear Window,’ ‘Mommie Dearest’ is much lighter and more in line with the Archie Comics of yore. Veronica sets up a fundraiser for her Speakeasy, but her mother doesn’t take kindly to Veronica’s freedom. However, when it comes to Veronica’s dreams, not even her mother can get in the way—especially when wily Betty is by Veronica’s side. There isn’t much at stake in this story, and it helps to undercut the overall darkness that is Riverdale. However, that may change if the denouement of ‘Mommie Dearest’ is anything to go by. Nobody stays happy for long in this town.
Writer Micol Ostow does a great job of recreating Riverdale’s atmosphere throughout Riverdale Season 3 #1. The chemistry between the characters is palpable, and the intonations are remarkably like the show. Ostow manages to balance the tones of the two stories while still giving readers that quintessential Riverdale vibe.
My excitement about Riverdale Season 3 #1 is matched by my disappointment in the art. Thomas Pitilli’s artistic style for ‘Rear Window’ is too Mad Magazine—the thick outlines look old school and out of place for a modern story. The shadow work is also a bit heavy-handed, and often feels like it is obscuring the details in the panels. I’m also not a fan of the distorted faces and features, but Pitilli’s art works for the kind of story ‘Rear Window’ is. My dislike for it is more a matter of personal taste. The colours by Andre Skymanowicz are beautiful, though, managing to add depth and vibrancy to the story. I am looking forward to seeing more of his colour-work in upcoming issues.
Joe Eisma takes on art duties for ‘Mommie Dearest’. His style is much cleaner with clear lines and more distinct features for the characters. His panels are rich with detail, with one particular page featuring the fundraiser that is absolutely stunning. Matt Herms’ colours are gorgeous, evoking the brightness of Riverdale in daytime. For me, the luscious colours were the biggest highlight of Riverdale Season 3.
As an opening issue, Riverdale Season 3 #1 will leave readers hungry for more. Both stories are strong enough to keep readers interested, and the potential to explain the stranger elements of the show—the Game and the Farm—is a good enough reason to read further.