Just when Mark thought he was starting out with a clean slate…

Well, we can’t pretend this story is taking place in the 1980s, can we? As I and virtually every other commentator has pointed out, zebra mussels have been around for a long time. Been studied, tracked, and attacked. Is Mr. Suave even more clueless and out-of-step than Mark? Has Rivera created her own version of the Mark Trail Alternate Universe, where time is elastic and discoveries occur only as they are needed for the story? Or, as others have proposed in more direct language, is Rivera just an incompetent writer? Does Rivera depend on her old high school biology book for primary research material?
On the other hand, dear readers, this is a family-centered comic strip, not a history book or a Nature Channel documentary. Still, with all of the actual real-world nature-oriented issues we face these days, Rivera shouldn’t have any problems picking one of them to build a story around, rather than going with a relatively old, well-documented issue. But, here we are. We’ll have to see if Rivera comes up with a novel twist to the story. It might turn out, for example, that the focus actually is somebody Marks runs into during his zebra mussel research. Keeping my fingers crossed on that one!

Boy, I got it right, again. Diana Daggers returns! But, how is a director also a videographer? Seems like different skills to me. And how did she wind up in this gig?

In any event, Rafael clearly enjoys Mark’s reaction in panel 4 to his news. In fact, I’m beginning to wonder if there is something ulterior going on in this whole magazine empire. A pretty small world where Diana Daggers would also be known or available to this same magazine editor. Or is there some kind of conspiracy going on between Amy and Rafael to put the screws to Mark? Maybe this is all the work of Dirty Dyer, plying his revenge trade in the background.

In any event, this twist should make for an interesting story, don’t you think?  Maybe zebra mussels will, indeed, become less of the focus. But I have to admit it: Mark’s expression in panel 4 is priceless! Well done, Rivera.