Well, well, well. The Trailverse is certainly becoming more adventurous and harrowing! But why the heck are Mark and his comrades-in-conspiracy holding up their arms as if they are being arrested? Do they believe Professor Bee (apparently driving at night in his pajamas) is going to shoot them down in cold blood? Where are the guns, guys!?
Funny how Prof. Bee wags his finger and scolds them, as if they are naughty children. It’s ironic that he is claiming they are the ones up to no good. But why is Mark depicted in panel 4 in that cheap movie cliché of a guilty person fingering his collar when being questioned? Surely Mark must have some degree of self-control, yes!? So much for any contingency planning. But shucks, they’ll never tumble to Mark’s true mission, based on his innocent composure!
This tale is getting a bit whacky, even for an adventure yarn. If Bee and Daggers were going to trail Trail (thank you, thank you!), they could just as easily driven to Herp Hacienda and picked him up to ensure he came alone. Right? Why bother with the cloak-and-daggers stuff? Wait. This is an adventure strip: asked and answered.
A couple of observations on the visual angle:
- Not sure what that greenish-yellow shape is in panel 2. It’s not a car door. And not a headlight.
- An interesting choice to outline Professor Bee in white to make him stand out from the background, something Rivera did not do for Daggers in panel 2 or Trail in panel 4. While it does effectively bring focus to Bee, I wonder why Rivera did not use yellow instead of white, to maintain consistency with the car lights used in prior strips and provide a practical basis for the highlight.
- Nice job of having Aparna crouching behind Mark while still peeking around him in panel 1. It’s a small, but well-done detail. Have we seen that kind of attention to poses and character in the older Trail stips? I cannot recall anything off hand. Usually, they’d all be standing around like tree trunks.
I still have a latent thought in my head that all is not what it seems and that either Cricket Bro or Professor Bee may not be bad guys. But that is asking a lot to have that kind of complexity in a comic strip. And it is already a more complex plot than we normally find in older Trail Tales. Where do we go from here?