That Rafael is clearly invested in Diana Daggers. Is she like a second cousin or something? And something else that has not been clarified this entire time is why Diana—an apparent ecology activist—is so rabidly against Mark, an avowed environmentalist/nature writer. From the moment she was introduced to Trail at Cricket Bro’s party, she has been overtly hostile. Her directing one of the famous “2 Fast 2 Explode” movies (clever title, that!), certainly reveals her relish of hot pursuit chases in hot muscle cars (and explains her driving in Mark’s L.A. adventure). It’s quite a career arc for Diana we’re seeing: A big jump from self-made eco films to directing a big-budget Hollywood action movie, and then an apparent fall from grace to a mere chauffeur and bodyguard to the narcissistic poser Professor Bee Sharp. So, is this Zebra Mussel assignment a means for her to get back into the directing game?
And speaking of action nuts, do we excuse Mark’s outburst in panel 4, even though it is a bit over-the-top and an ironic claim, given Mark’s own “action-packed” past? His expression shows his anguish at what must be a nightmare-come-to-life-situation for him. However, I do agree with his comment “What kind of assignment is this?” Indeed, I (and other critics) have already wondered what the big deal is here over zebra mussels (hardly a new threat, as Rafael implies) and why it warrants not only Mark’s attention, but that of a flamboyant, violence-prone producer. His outburst might give an editor pause to reconsider; but somehow, I don’t see that happening here. Just the opposite, it seems, as both Bill and Rafael have already shown their enjoyment at embarrassing and humiliating Mark. And humiliation is something that Mark has been running into a lot this past year! Get over it, Mark! This is your new world, so learn to deal with it!
On another topic, I think there is a bit of Jules Rivera in Diana Daggers. Not the threats and attempts at violence (I think). But from her online messaging, I see that Rivera surfs, is an activist, and doesn’t mind being controversial or confrontational. But that’s probably about as far as this comparison will go. Am I making too much of this? Writers and artists often find inspiration in people they know, including themselves. The 17th Dutch painter Rembrandt, for example, used himself, followed by his wife, as his most frequent models.
Dear reader, do you have a different point of view? Add you comments to share with me and other readers!