Ralph the Freudian Snake makes his triumphal return to the strip, signaling to Mark that his problem might be closer than he thought; or so the snake implies. He’s got a sharp tongue that snake.
This is a more interesting take on a comic strip character having a conversation with himself than the usual series of thought balloons. Ralph brings up some interesting questions, such as: What is his purpose; why the name “Ralph”; and why not a beaver or fox? You may recall that Mark’s first re-appearance under Rivera’s pen (October 13, 2020) is him making a video about scarlet king snakes. Coincidence? Maybe a favorite animal for Rivera? Nevertheless, it’s an engaging feature.
These animal talks seem to occur during a crisis of conscience, rather than just small talk, such as the conversations Mark had with some sharks and gulls while running off with Daddy’s boat back in January 2021. And we have another crisis of conscience today. It’s surprising that Rivera didn’t take advantage of that in the Cricket Bro story that just completed, given Mark’s “bedroom” full of reptiles.
And Ralph shows he can be quick with the sarcastic remark when called for, as Mark’s expression in panel 3 suggests that he realizes Diana is not the only dangerous person going on this assignment.