Mysterious cabin in the woods? Is this some kind of primordial Lost Forest cabin?! “Dirk Davis” sounds like the name of a typical Mark Trail villain (e.g. “Sting” Ray, “Dirty” Dyer, Black John, Rocky Rivers), but belongs to another one of Cherry’s throwback siblings. Not much action here, other than another family get-together. This time, instead of Cherry helping out her Mom and sisters, she’s getting Big Brother to help out with her own problem. Well, seems a bit early to me that Cherry would be out ammunition so early in her confrontation with Violet Cheshire, but maybe that’s looking at things too narrowly. Dirk is just another resource, another tool, for Cherry to pull out of her toolbox. But to what end?
Perhaps there is more than meets the stereotypic eye here. Sure, Dirk looks like a participant in a wilderness Reality TV show. What possible function can somebody like this perform that could help Cherry overcome the machinations of the elitist and nefarious Sunny Soleil Society? It doesn’t look like Dirk is even that big a fan of the Sun!
However, looks are not everything, as we learn. I suspect that Dirk has unexpected talents that belie his mountain man appearance. Perhaps he is some kind of former federal agent, unexplainably still equipped with a full computer suite he can use to investigate, probe, and snoop, as needed. That seems to be the kind of help she needs: Somebody to dig up background dirt that Cherry can use to bury her antagonist.
On the artistic side, this is a great series of panels, with interesting angle changes. The first panel is an especially well-done composition in terms of viewpoint, color, and contrast; to say nothing of the luna moth in the foreground providing a light contrast. Note the subtle variations in light and color in the woods behind the cabin. There is something to like in each panel, such as the smudged shading in panel 4. It’s almost an abrupt change of style. It’s a shame that a lot of this will likely not be apparent in the black and white version that appears in most newspapers. And that’s where the strip can get hurt, as it depends on color for a lot of its depth and texture.
However, I’m not sure why Cherry’s mouth drops open in panel 3, as if she is shocked. Surely, she’s been here before? Or has it been so long since she saw Dirk that she doesn’t recognize him right away? But then, why does she go on to refer to Dirk with his full name, since it is already made clear in panel 3 that they are siblings? Just for the sake of alliteration?