Speaking of the art (as I was in some recent comments), I think today’s work comes across very nicely: clean lines, good compositions, and uncrowded panels. However, we do get a bit tired of Rivera’s animals looking at the viewer. We get it; it’s a riff on the Mark Trail animals meme, and also suggests we viewers are physically interrupting the space. But let’s move on, okay?
Unfortunately, I have to give a pass to the coloring, nice as it may be, since I am not sure who is doing it, or specifying it. Those decisions can vary from cartoonist to cartoonist. I’d also like to compare the actual black & white newspaper versions more often, but they are always too fuzzy, due to the low quality of the newsprint. In any event, color certainly enhances our interpretation and appreciation of the strip.
Moving on to the story, Cliff finds out it isn’t about him, after all. And Rivera reveals yet another interesting plot twist, as it turns out that Diana was just putting up a false “tough gal” front, which quickly collapsed (as did Mark’s own ethical stance) with her admission of mission failure. But it’s not for the current assignment!
Panel 2 shows this to be the case, since she apologizes to Mark for being preoccupied with her own problems. Does it have anything to do with Professor Bee Sharp? We saw him at the start of this adventure, after reading one of Diana’s posts. He was not a happy bee.
Anyway, once The Bad Guys show up, Diana should regain her focus and maybe Mark will finally let loose with his fabled fists of justice.