What part of Rex’s exit statement (“I gotta get to bed early”) did Mark not understand? And did Mark really miss the cues about how uninterested Rex was in spending time with him right now? Yet, Mark seems impervious to the feelings of other people. He doesn’t know Rex, but still claims to know enough that Rex needs a friend.
I’m not sure why Rivera is manipulating Mark’s personality to make him seem like a clueless, arrogant oaf (so he seems to me). In a way, he is presented as an altered manifestation of Honest Ernest, right down to the know-it-all pose in panel 4. As for Diana Daggers, what the hell happened to her? She used to be a tough gal, ready to pound anybody’s head who threatened her charge. But now, every new appearance by her seems to show less and less action and more and more passivity. I think there is enough room in this strip for two strong people (on the same side, I presume). Diana and Mark had more chemistry when they were rivals. Why dilute one of the more interesting rivalries in the strip?