Where is Detective Bullitt when you need him? Better yet, where is his car?

Okay, guess we’re staying with Mark for a second week.

In a cinematic or literary car chase, the participants are usually in fairly comparable vehicles, though there are exceptions. Yet there is little doubt about the results of a flat-out race between a muscle car and low-powered hybrid. In the remake of The Italian Job, the crooks changed those odds by getting the engines of their fleet of humble Mini Coopers seriously upgraded to affect their getaway from the surprised cops. So, how does Rivera give the boys a chance in this one-sided chase? Turn left and kill the lights! If they were downtown (wherever “downtown” is), they could employ that trick driving down narrow alleys, making more quick turns, and losing the Mustang in a parking ramp, like they do in action movies. This would be a plausible way to take advantage of the car’s size and nimbleness. But there are no major downtowns available.

I suppose this is where foolishness passes from one side to the other. Having foolishly thought they bamboozled the muscle car, Mark’s next decision is to “Drive out the other end of this alley.” Really!? If that doesn’t sound like a setup, I don’t know what does.

Apparently, “Mark and his friends” did not bother to think that Bee and Diana would` figure out the amazing trick of making a quick left and turning off the car lights. Or to put it in a more positive light (!), it’s good to see that Rivera is not going to let us believe Bee and Diana are total blockheads. To make sure we get that, she added that clever caption in panel 4! And so, the story does not go completely off the rails.

Yes, Sharp and Daggers may be narcissistic sociopaths, but they are not blockheads. No, I think the inhabitants of our little green car have the margin in that department. But to be fair, “Mark and his friends” only had a 50-50 chance of going out the right way; not that it would have mattered much in the end.

But speaking of blockheads, where is Aparna, the instigator of this whole travesty? She is presumably in the back seat, unless she got left behind when the boys peeled out of the parking lot. Otherwise, she has been pretty dang quiet the entire drive. Maybe she decided to take a quick nap on the way back to the safety of the Herp Hacienda (still a catchy name!). Nothing like having a warm, self-righteous moral plane when you want to catch forty winks, I say.

In any event, we may now finally find out what all this hoorah is about with the dash cams, the hidden agenda, and Diana’s dream of turning Mark into kindling wood. But I still want to know: Is Cricket Bro the actual mastermind of whatever the hell is going on or is Bee Sharp the real puppet master here? Looking back, Cricket Bro has been a pretty ineffective villain, at least compared to Sharp and Daggers.

After all this messing about, I’m looking for some kind of surprise ending to this story, Jules Rivera! Don’t let it end in a snooze, as your predecessors liked to do.