I certainly don’t want to turn this podcast into a one-dimensional snarkfest, which is not only unfair, but unoriginal and boring. Besides there are other sites that handle that well enough! Nevertheless, this storyline is really pushing my buttons.
Panel 1: Mark’s face looks like he’s a daydreaming teen fantasizing and drooling over some Internet babe.
Panel 2: Mark’s head morphed into some kind of pushed-in face, with the wings of Mercury above his ears. Of course, those are his standard “older man” hair lines, but appearing as if they have their own independent identity. And making me wonder if Rivera has been watching reruns of the original “Twilight Zone”, the four Herp Hacienda Oddballs are once again pointlessly lined up against the fence, as if to ensure we haven’t forgotten them from yesterday’s strip. And to date, no explanation for the two goofiest characters on the extreme left and right. I’d certainly keep my kids away from them. Also troubling is that Mark has, for some reason, bonded with these nerds! After all of his discomfort, ineptness, and questionable activities, you’d think he would be satisfied to never come back.
Panels 3 and 4: Amy Lee brings up Cricket Bro, who has been spilling the beans to her about Mark and his new friends. Well, I suppose he might have discovered the connection with Amy Lee, based on Mark’s prior story she published about his family’s business. Nevertheless, she is definitely not looking like the hip, coffee mug-holding, exuberantly mouth-wide-open editor we’re used to seeing. No, indeed! She is clearly upset with what she’s heard. And it appears Mark is trying to downplay his guilt and embarrassment at being caught out once again. I’m betting he wished his gray hair lines really were the wings of Mercury at this point.
Well, Mark. What did you expect!? You got involved in something you had no knowledge of, something completely outside of your wheelhouse. You let personal fears of inadequacy lead you astray and got you to help complete strangers commit likely illegal acts. You never came across any of your traditional crime-busting situations, such as poachers, drug runners, abductions, animal or insect cruelty, or missing pets. You never really came across any criminal activity at all, except for what you participated in. You did not even get a chance to fully bring out your vaunted Fists O’ Justice™. And now, you actually want to come back to hang out with your new friends?! Worst of all, you didn’t get photographs of anything! Amy won’t like that!
Well, if the mission of Jules Rivera is to totally make a mockery of Mark the Pro-Nature Hero and his paternalistic value system, I think she’s done a bang-up job so far. But Mark seems too wrapped up in his sense of self to be too bothered by this. Always the optimist?
One of the pundits on the Comics Kingdom site proposed that the result of Cricket Bro’s phone call was that he buys up Amy’s magazine and gets his revenge by firing Mark. Plausible. I wish I had thought of that. I think none of this nonsense would have happened had Mark taken the time to talk with his snake friend back at Lost Forest, before he flew out here. But as Gregory Peck told David Niven in “The Guns of Navarone”, “You’re in it now, up to your neck!”