Panic is an unfortunate, imprecise, and desperate reaction we humans experience in the very places and times where it is least useful. It is the “survival instinct” run amok, as it were. And it is easy to chuckle and nod our heads at Violet’s predicament, as we view this flight of panic as if it was a comic strip version of The Birds. Of course, Violet Cheshire is imperious, shallow, self-absorbed, and a poser. But she’s not above getting her hands dirty, as we saw in her first meeting with Cherry.
With all that, there are more deserving villains in the Trailverse than Violet, so I suspect that she is simply overreacting (as is her nature) and we’ll find that these are not the infamous killer bees, but simply a horde of honey bees who didn’t much care to be disturbed. And we can understand the bees’ reaction to Violet and their aim to move her as far away from their home as they can. Nevertheless, we should not pass up an opportunity to laugh at any misfortune of pretentious snobs. We can’t see Cherry in these panels (as the proper focus today is on Violet and the bees), but I’m sure she is enjoying the situation. I suspect that in tomorrow’s strip Cherry will put an end to this farce by telling Violet that they are just common honey bees.
From a visual point of view, I think Rivera has done a pretty good job drawing the bees these past two days, though I think she could have blurred the wings of the close-up bees, like the way we see hummingbirds, for example. Drawing those smidgy bees takes a lot of time, even though Rivera is working digitally and can (and did) copy some of her bee images. But there’s enough variety to make the copying less obvious.
And I dig those horizontal bands in the middle column, though I think it is more for the sense of tension the colors provide. Yet that is a weakness for the obvious reason that the comic strip is black & white in newspapers. Furthermore, if these bands (or lines) were meant to suggest a sense of urgency or panic, wouldn’t diagonal lines be a more obvious way to go about it? As far as the newspaper version goes, the lines are fairly faint, but consistently drawn, suggesting more a general swarming and flight. What do you think?
Finally, in the prior incarnation of Mark Trail, Trailheads sometimes criticized occasional padding of storylines with pointless dialog and dragging out scenes far too long. Can we make the same claim here? I think the situation is more complicated: The bee incident ties into last Sunday’s killer bees strip and makes an obvious visual/written reference to Mark’s villains (Profess Bee Sharp and Diana Daggers) in his own storyline. Cherry’s adventure has not so much ended, as taken a different turn. In a good piece of classical music there are usually variations in tempo, intensity, and theme. So I’ll make the musical analogy that this week’s strips are like a divertimento, a lighter piece of music that could be played as an interlude between more serious works. We’ll see how that analogy plays out.