It is easy for long-time readers, I believe, to think that Rivera is making sport of them, if one reads captions like that in panel 1 as parody: “Terrifying brush with the Duck Duck Goose Shipping Liner.” Really?! There was nothing really terrifying about it, of course. Absurd, perhaps. So Mark and Diana’s escape concludes with Mark still wracked over his moral dilemma, which Diana has so far resolved by telling him to stuff it.
But Mark, himself, is still in a moral quandary. Note that he doesn’t forcefully state “We must go back for the others”, but instead settles only on the possibility of going back. It’s one thing to have your morals (or ethics, if you will) thwarted by events out of your control, but at least you know what’s right. Here, Mark seems to doubt whether his compass is pointing in the right direction. This only gives Diana room to assert more control and leadership as Mark once again settles in as a rider and not a driver. Who’s in charge?
I get Rivera’s desire to give Mark more depth of character and reduce the strong (white) male hero kind of idealism that the traditional Mark Trail represents; that is, try to make Mark more of a real person. Or maybe the point is to define a “world” where being the Big Hero is less important than being one part of a solution. Yada, yada, yada. I don’t know. My mind could be getting infected by too much California Craziness. Yet, I think there’s currently too much self-doubt and indecisiveness in Mark. It’s hard to believe that this Mark is a person who can get things done, much less solve problems. There has to be a “happy medium” some place, but I don’t think it is there, yet. Unless, of course, tomorrow brings a turnabout in Mark’s current attitude and his moral/ethical certainty dominates the scene.
Two more quick points:
- Why is Mark suddenly so out of breath? Is this some kind of delayed reaction caused by a surge of adrenalin brought on by their escape from the terrifying brush with the cargo ship? Mark certainly doesn’t sound like he’s in any condition to help the other crew, anyway.
- I forgot point two. I wasn’t quick enough.