In adventure strips of the ‘30s and ‘40s, it was common for the big Sunday panels to more or less summarize the previous week’s dailies, since many newspaper subscribers only took Sunday. We don’t have that in Mark Trail, since Sundays are reserved for nature talks. In fact, we don’t normally have recap strips at all. However, today looks mostly like an “In case you missed a day” strip, with a recap of Mark’s silly boxing match with “Killer” Bee Sharp, while the Herp Hacienda kids have (already) set off a security alarm. All old news! In short, today’s strip gives us nothing new with regard to the story.
It’s not specifically story padding, as what we have here is more review than pointless filler. But why bother? The storyline is already getting long; it’s time to move it forward.
I’m also wondering if Rivera is deliberately playing around with continuity. That is, deliberately altering space and time for some unspecified reason. I already pointed out the example of the changing clocks, which have since been absent. Today we see the presto-change-o position of Cricket Bro, originally observing from the floor; but suddenly up on the outside edge of the ring.
The composition of panel 1, lowered point of view, well done. The overall drawing of the panels is tighter, though still looking off from Rivera’s usual work. Mark’s face in panel 1 with its punch-drunk expression will likely tick off long-time readers as either incompetent drawing or just a disrespectful representation, though I think it is deliberately humorous, like the way villains and tough guys looked in the old Popeye comic strips after they got walloped.
A possible interpretation of Mark’s face in panel 1 is that he is visually suggesting to Killer Bee that this is what his face looks like, as Mark also orally taunts him in the first two panels.
Final observation: I think the dialog in panel 2 is a reference to the rhyming jokes in The Princess Bride. What do you think?