Is this the best you can do!?

I dunno. I don’t get it. I mean, Cherry could have wrecked these bushes on her own quite easily, without the extra drama. Is there something special about hogs eating bushes that is going to create a bigger impression on Cheshire than the site of bushes that were mowed, pulled up, or scythed? Perhaps she will tell Ms Cheshire that it looks like “feral butterflies” took liberties with the bushes.

But what’s with the “Oh my!” expression in panel 2? Has dainty, Miss Wallflower never seen animals feeding? Did she think they would bring forks and knives? And in panel 3, Cherry asks a rather pointless question: ”How do we make them stop?” The obvious answer is “When they run out of things to eat, little sister!” It make me wonder what happened to Cherry?

Cherry’s supposed to be a self-aware, get-your-hands-dirty person, not afraid to mix it up with anybody itching for a fight. But, ever since meeting Ms Cheshire at the start of this story, she seems to be all talk and no walk:  getting tossed out the SSS HQ, turning to her brother for help, getting surprised left and right, and now acting as if she ate too much pizza and cheese sticks. If this is going to continue, perhaps Rivera should just retire Cherry to the cabin and have her start stocking up on flapjacks for Mark’s next temporary return home. But maybe I’m missing the point?

Visually, I really like the composition of panel 2 a lot. The distinctive differences in size between Cherry, Dirk, and the hog are wonderfully illustrated by making the hog’s head front and center, with the other two looking on in the distance. Kind of reminds me of that “Gorilla Glue” commercial with the red–headed female household owner and the much taller contractor facing down the oncoming gorilla. Okay, maybe just a thematic reference. But it’s panels like this that show Rivera’s inventiveness and compositional flair that distinguish her work from her predecessors (e.g. Dodd and Allen), whose panels are certainly direct and illustrative, if banal and rarely surprising. And that was all the readers cared about, anyway, right?

But I have to agree with some other observers that Dirk’s beard must be fake, as if for disguise. And a probable deduction, based on Dirk’s antigovernment paranoia. And I’m still wondering what that red marking is on the beard. It does not look like any kind of a natural redness in the beard. Well, it does in panel 2, but in panel 3, it definitely does not, just like in panel 2 of yesterday’s strip. Has a kind of “Asian” (e.g. Korean, Japanese, Chinese) style to it; but it’s too hard to really differentiate. This is totally invisible in the black and white versions found in most physical newspapers. There are reasons for this I’ll bring up another time.