As Eat The Rich approaches its conclusion, young Joey Dorsey struggles with just how much one can accept as she makes a potentially fatal choice that will define her world and the lives of others in Crestfall Bluffs going forward. This series ominous and gorgeously horrific look into the world of the wealthy and the broken aspects of societal systems continues to be an impressive work that everyone should be checking out.
There are a vast number of things that can be and are horrifying about the way societal systems work, especially those in place to keep particular people down or out. One majorly horrifying thing that comes from this is when one begins to find ways to potentially be okay with those horrors being inflicted upon others. As things get even direr in Crestfall Bluffs, that is where Joey Dorsey begins to find herself.
Through its four issues so far, Eat The Rich has steadily thrown its young protagonist through an emotional roller coaster when it comes to the rich families’ proclivity to brutally murder and consume those that work or them when contracts come to an end. Here we begin to see her somewhat in denial, trying to come to grips with it all, not only because of her emotional connection with boyfriend Astor but also the fact that everyone involved including the help staff are seemingly content with the arrangement. A burgeoning emotional attachment to the nanny Petal is adding a whole other level to the roller coaster.
Sarah Gailey does a wonderful job showing how these types of unfair and brutal systems become basically the status quo because desperation often leads to acceptance. Joey represents not only the outside perspective but the type of outside perspective that can often lead to cracks beginning to crack in a system. Enough people questioning the system or attempting to overturn it can sometimes lead to changes or overhauls of said system, as we’ve seen throughout history. Unfortunately, in reality, those systems are usually not as easy to overturn as this fictional one might be, then again maybe Joey will fail and it will continue on.
Another angle that was very well showcased here was the apathy and disconnect from the rich, who perpetrate and benefit from these systems. Here we’re presented with a housekeeper seeking to quit her contract earlier in order to move closer to a specialist that can help her son. As the fly on the wall, we’re privy to the Hadley family discussing the matter in a disbelieving and offended way. To them, it’s unfathomable that someone would give up the benefits they provide with the contracts, much how the rich in reality often malign the idea that we the lower classes push back against the rigged systems.
Pip even claims that the housekeeper Noreen will essentially “disempowering” herself and keeping herself down if she quits, the age-old “playing the game is the only way to succeed” nonsense, even though their very contract means she’ll be brutally killed once the contract ends. This disconnect is terrifying because we see it so regularly from those that usually have the powers over our lives.
With every issue, Pius Bak, Roman Titov, and Cardinal Rae continue to create such a moody ominous, and striking tone. Every bit of emotion, from terror to confusion to others, is just radiating off the pages. Bak’s paneling and constant use of close-ups, add much of that emotional energy as we’re able to drink in every single detail. The level of detail that is found in these pages is off the charts, making one want to study every single panel very closely to make sure they aren’t missing a single bit of what is presented.
This bright world is so covered in shadows, speaking heavily of the idea of how often the things that are meant to look pleasing on the outside are harboring a lot of darkness. There are several panels that are really great and made even greater by how often Titov colors them in a way that has Joey or other characters seemingly straddling the world of light and dark consistently. Yet at the same time it’s noticeable that the pages featuring Joey and Petal together are far more often presented in a way that is lighter with the shadows almost retreating from them but always looming nearby still.
While the dialogue work is fantastic and adds so much to the emotional moments, including the captions that read almost like a personal mental journal in style, one of the things that makes the book stand out a lot is the marriage of dialogue/caption and SFX that they have going on. These moments where Joey’s thoughts seem to burst right out of her head and float around her in the panel are so unique and fun. Sure, those could be done in the same caption boxes as her other thoughts, but it speaks to how big some of the thoughts and feelings are that they literally loom over her in the panels.
Now that things have taken a dramatic turn, as Joey takes a stand, it’ll be very interesting to see where everything goes with the next issue and what this team will pull out of their pocket.
Eat The Rich #4 is now on sale in print and digitally from Boom! Studios.