Compared to prior weeks, this week was rather conventional, if unexciting. That will be taken as an insult by many (or most) readers, who keep hoping for more adventure. As a point of comparison, you might agree that the reprinted pet monkey story in the Mark Trail Vintage section on Comics Kingdom is little more than a maudlin collection of sappy clichés wrapped around improbable, if predictable, events. Hardly a ripping yarn from Dodd. Rivera likes to create her own clichés within storylines that favor outrageous characters, sometimes silly plots (like the current story), and satire that doesn’t always hit the mark. Some readers have contributed additional descriptions, such as lame, pointless, and infantile.
For the strips this week, we have Cherry taking Rusty on a day trip into downtown Portland for something fun to do. They did things Cherry thought were interesting, but Rusty was having none of it. In desperation, Cherry dragged Rusty into a comic store, though Rusty fretted over being made fun of for his weak super-hero knowledge. Wah! Wah! Anyway, two things occurred after they entered the store: one predictable and one not so predictable. You decide which is which!
One: Professor Bee Sharp suddenly popped into view from another room in the store, having overheard Rusty’s interest in the Seaside Specter. Not realizing who Cherry and Rusty are, Sharp offered Rusty some advice on trapping the Seaside Specter, then left.
Two: Mark called Cherry to inform her of the fire emergency at the lumber mill. For some reason, Cherry believes they must return immediately. Why? While you ponder the possible reasons, direct your attention to today’s nature discussion.
Reader Charlie Oliver, who has reported on Pokémon references in Mark Trail might appreciate the pseudo-Pokémon reference in today’s otherwise straight-forward presentation on the porcupine. Instead of flooding our senses with lots of disparate porcupine data, Mark focuses only on the quills and their function. At first, I thought this was being lazy, but I get it: Mark wants to inform pet owners of the potential danger and how to avoid a trip to the vet. Point made.