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Mary Worth, 8/18/09

See, this is what keeps drawing me back to Mary Worth year after year — the brief moments of terror amid the long stretches of boredom. Panel two seems to lurch at us directly out of some Escherian nightmare, with Delilah’s head and Lawrence’s hand looming impossibly large for the relative distances established in the first panel. And artistic trauma aside, I’m unsettled by Lawrence’s instinct to muffle whatever mildly simpering response Delilah’s about to come up with. “When we have kids, I’ll want to spend time raising them. It’s a more important job.” “I feel the same! But what about the loss of incMMMMFFFF!” “Hush, my beauty. I SAID I’LL BE SPENDING MY TIME RAISING THEM WHILE YOU LOOK ON IN ADORING SILENCE!”

Mark Trail, 8/18/09

Oh, bitter irony! Having trained for so long to merely wound and scare with his gun, our rifleman finds himself unable to finish off Mark, and instead sets loose an avalanche of toxic waster barrels that will crush him to pulp. Of course, if my many years of reading comics have taught me anything, it’s that the noxious chemicals will preserve his mangled body and grant him terrifying superpowers. Mark will return to his cabin with his usual smug grin, unaware that Lost Forest is being stalked by a monstrous orange supervillain: The Near Misser!

Rex Morgan, M.D., 8/18/09

If Becka’s look of mounting anxiety in the third panel is any indication, this half-assed flirting is going even worse than I had feared. “Oh, God, fly fishing? Really? This is awful. I gotta find one of those depressing demented people to chat with.”

Apartment 3-G, 8/18/09

Actually, Lu Ann, I think it’s more accurate to say that Tommie is socially awkward.