You go, Mark. Salve your wounds. Hug a bear.

Well, now. Either Mark has attained supernatural powers that allow him to walk on water, or he somehow convinced Diana to move close to shore so he could jump ship. In a way, one can sympathize with Mark, who seems to want to be shut of this entire assignment; but in truth, the assignment has only just begun. So let’s get the obvious points out of the way:

“My panic attack”

The last we saw, Mark was just huffing and puffing from his underwater photography session. But no shivering. Mark is clearly being sarcastic about a panic attack, since he displays no real symptoms. On the other hand, the Mayo Clinic states that part of the condition is based on a strong physical and emotional reaction when there is no real danger present. As noted earlier, the attack by the cargo ship was an easily avoidable event for both ships. There was no real danger to them.

“Mark, get back here! You’ll freeze!”

Wait, Mark and Diana were dressed for a warm, sunny day. Mark didn’t wear a dry suit when he went for his swim. Diana is wearing Daisy Dukes and not much more, for goodness sake! They’ve been racing in their runabout, which would certainly give Mark more chills than wading through the shallows.

Frankly, this “abandon ship” scenario would be more convincing if Jules Rivera had had Mark walk away to a small, uninhabited island, where Diana could then stress over Mark’s isolation and potential vulnerability (he only has a towel, remember!). At least, that would have some plausibility. And he’s going to walk back to the car? I presume that when Diana raced away from the ship, she headed back towards home base.

Brave Sir Markie Ran Away.

I made the Monty Python reference a few days ago, and it bears repeating here. Instead of dealing head-on with the problem of Diana’s decision-making, Mark has decided to run away from the problem and sulk. No, this is definitely not the old Mark Trail. I’m not sure this is even the new Mark Trail, or at least the new Mark Trail that seemed to be evolving over these stories. Mark doesn’t have to be the indomitable, always right, comic strip hero of old. But does he have to be petulant so often? It wouldn’t hurt if he realized that it’s okay to assert control from time to time.

I think we saw this kind of destructive behavior in Mark’s first rebooted adventure, when he took his Dad’s boat and ran off in a temper tantrum, destroying it and everything else in his path. I could understand a bit, as Rivera was just fleshing out the new characterizations while getting her jabs in at male dominance. And Mark was trying to resolve the problem of Dad having a racing boat. But that was then. We are in the now, and Mark is still unsure, seemingly exhausted from trying to figure out if it’s okay to show initiative or assert authority. Maybe he’ll run into a bear he can talk things over with on the way back to the car.

Artwork. Today’s work is well drawn, as it has been the past several days. Rivera has been planting foreground animals, as in the old Mark Trail tradition, to carry some of the old traditions forward. But the most important tradition Trailheads want (aside from changing the artwork) is for Mark to be at least more secure in himself, a bit more decisive. I’m fine with the artwork, but hope for a more quietly confident Mark to appear.