As we look back over the past six days, the story has shifted from the makeshift eco-video—that we didn’t get to see—to an unexpected close encounter with one of Mark’s childhood frenemies: Rob “Cricket Bro” Bettencourt. Born with a silver spoon in his posterior, he turns out to be the investor for the unseen eco-video and invites Mark and Reptilionnaire to a party at his villa to hob-nob with some BikBok science celebs. Based on his facial expressions, Cricket Bro must have ulterior intentions; else, where is this story going? In the meantime, he takes every opportunity to set Mark up for humiliation. And in good, old-fashioned dramatic form, we ended the week with a crisis of decision: Cricket Bro entices an angry Mark Trail to take advantage of a vague, but menacing, recommendation. We are left wondering what that really is…and what Mark will do. He also has has no animal around to talk things out. Run, Mark! It’s a trap!
Within this broader view, a plot does begin to formulate around the daily humiliations. Mark is being manipulated beyond mere childhood jealousy. Can we all agree that Cricket Bro is the designated villain of our story? Are the Professor and Diane Daggers part of the gang or just one of Bettencourt’s diversions? And is Reptilionnaire also part of the plot or an innocent dupe? What is the master scheme, anyway? Every villain has one, you know! But will Mark Trail uncover it in time to defeat the bad guys? Is there even a time limit? Wow, this does feel like an old episode of Batman! Tune in next time… same Trail Time, same Trail Channel!
And now for something completely different: The Sunday nature strip.
The last skunk we saw was on Day 3 of Mark’s Very Bad Week, back in March. So, unless we are figuring on Cricket Bro doubling as a metaphorical skunk, I think the theory that the Sunday animal appears during the current week’s dailies is incorrect. Or Rivera forgot. In fact, other than Reptilionnaire’s lizard, I’m not sure we saw any actual animals. Cute pun in the last panel, by the way, Jules! And as usual, Rivera creates another nice visual pun in the title panel. Say, Mark! You should turn these Sunday discussions into YouTube videos! You don’t need help from Brotein Boy! Rusty will be your director!