ADVANCED REVIEW: ‘Riverdale Season 3,’ Issue #3

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Riverdale Season 3 #3

In our binge-watching culture, sometimes weekly episodes just aren’t enough. For the CW’s Riverdale, an adaptation of Archie Comics characters, there isn’t a need to worry about that with the new tie-in comic in its third issue. Published by Archie Comics, Riverdale Season 3 takes a deeper dive into the skeletons rattling around Riverdale, the relationships of the series, and much more.

With each issue comprising of two stories, Riverdale Season 3 #3 features two stories titled “You’ve Got Mail” and “Funny Games.” The former focuses on the forbidden romance between Josie and Sweet Pea, and the latter gives a peak into what prison life is like for Joaquin DeSantos.

“You’ve Got Mail” is written by Michol Ostow, with art from Thomas Pitilli, colors by Andre Szymanowicz, and letters by John Workman. Since Josie is one of my favorite characters of the series, I enjoyed taking a dive into her life in this first story.

The over-achiever, Josie is constantly focused on success, this is perhaps why I identify with her so much. But, as any over-achiever knows, dating takes a backseat, especially when your parent’s don’t approve. While walking through the halls of Riverdale High, Josie eyes all of the already established couples before delving into her secret relationship with Sweet Pea, a Southside Serpent, and not someone that she can’t be seen with.

Now broken up, we get a glimpse at her relationship with him. Not told in Ostow’s writing, but in Pitilli’s ability to draw emotion, we see Josie longing for her old relationship while also balancing the expectations set on her by herself and her family. Then, circa 2000 A Cinderella Story, Josie begins a relationship with an unseen person on the other side of a chat. Now, this plot point is entirely cheesy, but Ostow’s writing of the internet flirtation is charming and it works.

This part of the issue is sweet and the reveal of the person behind the text is good enough to leave me hanging for some more to be shown in the following issues. The color palette is mostly purples in the ending of this story and that’s my favorite part of Szymanowicz’s colors and how it compliment’s Josie’s skin tone and the increasing mystery.

Since this is a comic tie-in to a live-action series I have to mention likeness, and unfortunately, Pitilli doesn’t hit the mark exactly. Outside of Betty and Kevin, the characters aren’t entirely recognizable but Pitilli’s ability to draw emotion on Josie’s face more than makes up for that.

In the second story, “Funny Games” is a stark change in tone from the first and probably my favorite of the series so far. Also written by Ostow, but with art from Joe Eisma, colors from Matt Herms, and Letters by Janice Chiang, this story focuses on Joaquin DeSantos’ time in prison, but specifically the struggle he is having adapting to life behind bars.

Told through Joaquin’s letter writing to his boyfriend Kevin, and with it, Ostow uses the unreliable narrator trope to its fullest and in the most gut-wrenching ways. As Joaquin writes his letter to Kevin he paints a picture that shows him in good spirits and good health.

Chiang’s letters find a perfect home against yellow lined paper boxes, reflecting the sheet that Joaquin is writing on. As he explains to Kevin that he gets three square meals, a place to sleep, and ultimately nothing to complain about we see the reality played out in the panels. Violence, fear, and isolation are all that Joaquin has. The violence he’s forced into, the violence he’s subjected to, all while Archie Andrew plays the guitar.

There is a sadness to this issue, one that is only highlighted by the arc Joaquin’s character has in season three of the show. Ostow’s writing brings weight and Eisma’s art fits perfectly against it, Without being hyperdetailed, the art gets the point across and the colors Herms’ colors continue to have a vibrancy that adds to the story.

While Eisma’s likenesses aren’t exact, the story and the situations and honestly, Herms’ coloring of Joaquin’s eyes and Archie’s hair make the characters immediately noticeable. This is the saddest of all of the stories in Riverdale Season 3 so far, and honestly, it is best executed as well.

Overall, Riverdale Season 3 #3 continues to show why fans of the show should pick up the series. While this issue does require prior knowledge of the CW series, it isn’t a hindrance given its nature as a tie-in. That being said, I do recommend that those who are new to the Riverdale world start watching the show, now available on Netflix, to start to get a feel for the world and the dynamics in it to fully enjoy this comic series.

As for me, a fan of the CW show, I will keep reading, because this series gives you the window into characters we only pass by on the series and deserve to have their stories told.

Riverdale Season 3 #3 will be available wherever comics are sold on May 22nd.

Riverdale Season 3 #3 
5

TL;DR

Overall, Riverdale Season 3 #3 continues to show why fans of the show should pick up the series. While this issue does require prior knowledge of the CW series, it isn’t a hindrance given its nature as a tie-in. That being said, I do recommend that those who are new to the Riverdale world start watching the show, now available on Netflix, to start to get a feel for the world and the dynamics in it to fully enjoy this comic series.