Riverdale Season 3 #2
‘Cold Comfort Farm’
Micol Ostow (Writer), Thomas Pitilli (Artist), Andre Skymanowicz (Colours), John Workman (Letters)
‘Choni Goes West’
Janice Chiang (Letters), Joe Eisma (Artist), Matt Herms (Colours), Micol Ostow (Writer)
24 April, 2019
The Farm has been a mystery throughout season three of Riverdale, but if you were hoping to understand it better in Riverdale Season 3 #2, you will be disappointed. In ‘Cold Comfort Farm’, we finally see the Farm from Polly Cooper’s point of view. Though her sister Betty thinks of the Farm as a dangerous place, to Polly it is a safe haven for herself and her children. But no matter how much she tries to convince Betty otherwise, her sister is certain that Farm recruiter Evelyn Evernever has ill intentions. Is Betty right?
This story is meant to be continued in later issues, so in this book, we only get Polly’s musings about her short time with Jason Blossom as she reminisces with her infant children. How and why Evelyn Evernever finds Polly isn’t explained, only hinted at, and we are still no closer to understanding the Evernevers’ motivations behind creating the Farm.
Though set up as a mystery tale, ‘Cold Comfort Farm’ is more a story of lost love and heartbreak, and in that sense, it is quite a moving and romantic YA story. I liked the almost poetic quality to Polly’s monologue—you can hear the sorrow and wistfulness in it. One can easily see how the Farm would have appealed to her and Jason in their time of need. If only there had been more to this opening chapter, though.
Thomas Pitilli’s art is not a style I usually like and the characters look so different from the show that it took me a moment to figure out who I was looking at. But once I got used to it, I quite liked his adaptation of the characters. I feel like he’s making a visual language of his own for this series, and with time, I will get accustomed to it. Andre Skymanowicz’s colours are far more extravagant than one would expect in a melancholic story like this but it works to set the mood for Polly’s reminisces.
In the second story, ‘Choni Goes West’, Cheryl Blossom and Toni Topaz take a much-needed break from the drama back in Riverdale by heading out on a romantic getaway to Los Angeles. While there, they meet up with fellow Serpents and Cheryl indulges her wilder side. But is she going a bit too far in her efforts to impress Toni?
‘Choni Goes West’ is more a filler story and not directly tied into the events in Riverdale’s third season. Not much really happens in this tale and I do wonder about the point of it. Essentially, Choni and the Serpents go out for a night on the town, find annoying men at the club, and promptly steal their wallets to ‘pay it forward’. That’s a crime, is it not? What precisely is this story trying to tell readers? It’s okay to commit crimes as long as you’ve got good intentions?
I know the ethics in Riverdale have been debateable—at best—but it is still a strange direction for a story to go. I would have much preferred a simple story about a couple enjoying a getaway. ‘Choni Goes West’ could even have been a fun travel-based story with Cheryl and Toni taking in the sights and sounds of romantic LA.
Like Pitili, Joe Eisma’s art is an interpretation of the characters on the show. His style is more pared back and the expressions on the characters’ faces aren’t as nuanced, but for a lighter story, this technique works. I did sometimes struggle with distinguishing the characters from each other, except for Cheryl, who is always recognisable by her bright red hair.
Colourist Matt Herms’ work is good but his shadow-work is even better. The majority of the story takes place in a club, and there are a lot of shadows thrown on the characters, which he manages to capture well without being obvious about it.
As a follow-up, Riverdale Season 3 #2 hasn’t quite lived up to expectations. I like the anthology format of this series but the stories aren’t as captivating as they should be. One can only hope that the next issue manages to be more interesting than this one.