‘Eat The Rich’ #2 slows things down in order to dive deeper into the horrific situation of Cresfall Bluffs while masterfully digging into some of the worst aspects of capitalism and our current reality. What this series does best is magnify the true horror that surrounds us daily, that is baked into the very systems that create and maintain our society.
Society is built upon systems that are generally unkind to those that do not fit within certain realms, especially when it comes to matters of finances. The rich have all that they want while the rest have to struggle and scrape by the best that they can.
What if though there was a way to handle all those things that plague yourself or those you love, by just signing one contract with the rich? Enter Eat the Rich #2.
Rather than beat around the bush with what main character Joey saw at the conclusion of the first issue (the rich going cannibal on one of their workers who was retired and verbally roasted at a party), Sarah Gailey gets right to the point in this second issue. What happens is not only known by others but is accepted by those that work for the rich. Through the nanny Petal, we are given a peek behind the curtain that showcases just what this system is and why it happens.
Digging into wealth inequality and how the rich can take advantage of the poor by just offering the things that the poor need with a bit of a catch is of course very relevant for real life. The idea of the rich eating you once you retire from working for them seems and is horrifying, yet as Petal shows off being able to take care of your own health/needs or the needs of those you love without going into debt is a powerful thing.
Any time a series slows things down shortly into its run to do a dialogue-heavy “taking head” sort of issue, it can be a risk. When it’s well done though, as this issue does, it’s not even close to risky. Honestly, this was the best move because it gets the whole “mystery” out of the way quickly and allows for the horror of the situation to unfold in other more character-focused ways. Sometimes a mystery should be drawn out and other times it’s best to get to the point quickly.
Issue one set the tone of this series in a lot of ways, very much through the art of Pius Bak and Roman Titov. While they delivered a very moody and emotional and great bit of artwork in the first issue, they seemed to step it up even more for this second issue. Right off the bat, there are striking panels that hit the reader with the emotions that Joey and others are dealing with, like a panel with her crying and the fires of her memory being beautifully reflected within her eyes.
What really works is that Bak has panels like that where details are deep and stunning next to panels where the characters are a bit less detailed (faces blurred or distanced), all depending on what feeling is needed or what the panel is asking for. The panic or the anxiety or other emotions are still radiating off the page no matter the level of details that are clear or not. Stories like this are reliant on the characters, and here even with just the second issue, they feel extremely fleshed out.
Titov continues to really bring the shadows and ominous feeling while switching easily between cooler and warmer color palates pages to page and even panel to panel. While the last issue relied on a lot of oranges in the coloring (fitting with the cliffhanger ending fires) this one has a lot more blues and yellows. Generally, blues can feel like a more calming color, but with the aforementioned shadows and the imagery on the page, these blues feel anything but cool or comforting.
The really great stories that dabble in horror often are the ones that take things that we generally trust or feel comfort in or take for granted and flip them around into something that puts us at unease. After the first issue Titov’s coloring does that beautifully as color splashes that normally might not cause concern in us, now do that because they all come with ominous connotations. At this rate, before the book is over several highlighting colors will have such ominous feelings attached, and that’s pretty great.
Cardinal Rae continues to help set the tone with their great lettering choices. It’s easy at times to go with standard bubbles and captions and it works, but it stands out far more when the lettering devices can also equally showcase emotions or qualities of the story. Such as the way Astor’s bubbles appear early on in the issue when he’s medicated and sleepy, the bubbles having a more ragged and sleepy-like look to them making one read the words as if from a sleepy person. Rather than having to make him say he’s tired, we can see it right away.
SFX are an art form of their own. Whether one should have a few or a lot all depends on the type of story that is being told here. Superhero/action-heavy stories tend to have a lot, whereas a more dramatic story or a horror story might have fewer. Here they are used sparingly but accurately in order to hit at the right moments to build up the most dramatic tension. They have their own personality too and one can just “hear” them coming off the page.
Eat the Rich #2 is now on sale in print and digitally from BOOM! Studios.