Uh, oh… She’s calling him Gabriel…

What, like the desert ecosystem, where humans would survive less that a day or two unless they brought in everything they need?  Like bottles and bottles of Spring Water, like the Marines in the movie Jarhead?

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I can tell that Carina is already regretting her decision to go into the desert with her professor… His teachings, preachings and ministrations are already wearing thin on her…  besides, isn’t there some rule that suggests that students and their professors should not be alone, 1 on 1?  Haven’t they read the  book Lolita or seen the movie Gone Girl??

I can tell we are in for another 170+ day schlog… get comfortable, everyone…

And the lección continues…

With the palette muted in the desert, we have less to distract our eyes, so we are drawn to the riveting lecture being delivered by Gabriel.  Indicator Species?  Don’t you mean Sentinel Species?  Canary in a coal mine?  No, he’s correct… There is a difference between and indicator species and an animal sentinel.  The latter is purposely put in harm’s way to alert humans to dangers… the former signals changes in the environment in an ecosystem where they would naturally occur.  OK enough of that… my brain hurts…

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Note the Desert Hare and how large the ears are… allowing the animal to dissipate heat, not to mention hearing things from literally miles away…  While we are on the desert theme, here is the Sunday edition as an added bonus:

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I bet this little guy gets teased all the time…

Good Lord, Man, Let the Woman Speak

Twice now- “Call me Gabriel” and “No, No, etc…”  Have another coffee, Professor Gabriel…  what – are you going to sound your trumpet next?  Announce the End of the World?  Beginning of the new age?  No, just talk about how eemportante bats are to our general well being etc, etc…

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So, apologize all you want, horn blower, you are still a rude man.

Chiropterologist?  Really? From the fact that Bats are of the order chiroptera… the only mammals capable of flight- as opposed to falling with style

Oh thank Goodness…

…we have been blessedly and mercifully removed from Lost Forest and are now back in the Desert!  Good thing… no telling what Mark and Cherry were going to do next…

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Enter two new Characters: Professor Gabriel (“Call me Gabriel”) Chavira and Carina, the impressionable estudiante…  In a dust-covered jeep doing who-knows-what kind of field work.

Chavira is a family name from Spain (original conquerors) and has since morphed into Chavez…

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Let’s hope the Professor doesn’t let that go to his head…

 

More clip art…

…except for the first panel…  Cherry – what happened, girl??  Your face / neck / shoulder situation is all off…

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Let us not be too hard on these two.  Could be that this is nothing new for them, we just never had this vantage point before in the Legacy Mark Trail under Dodd and Elrod.

But what could possibly make Our Hero cross paths with ‘Jefe’? (Which is Spanish for “Boss” or “Chief,” I am told…)  What could lure Mark away from the ardent embrace of his One and Only?  Fear not, he will soon return to the wooden Mark Trail of old, hearing the siren call of adventure, or maybe just the shrill call of the one they call Rusty- “Hey Mark (I mean ‘Dad’) want to do a little fishing??”

OK- news flash- I have it all wrong! Upon re-reading the timeline,  Jefe is the underling and Jose is the Boss!  I am soooo confused!!  …and I need a life!!

Oh, ‘B’ as in ‘B’, ‘S’ as in ‘S’…

With all respect, Mark, that’s a bunch of Malarkey.  Wow… listening to Biden in 2011 is really something when you consider the Hot Mess the world is now, especially with ISIS and Russia ascending and…  but I digress…

Really Mark?  You were thinking about Cherry and the Boy and the Dog while the cortisol was flowing freely and the bullets were piercing your backside??  Nice line.

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And such big words we have now…  comforting, reassuring, enabling… Yup, your entire existence is the epitome of being enabled…  now hunch down over that keyboard and write your damn article…

Wow… he actually went home…

If it seems like Mark was “away” for a while, it’s because he was!  175 days since we saw the octopus eat the crab and we were introduced to “Mississippi” Ken and “How old ARE you anyway?” Kelly… Sorry boys and girls, your faithful scribe had to step away “on business” for a couple of days.  But it’s probably best to take these Lost Forest scenes down in a big swallow…

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I see the Beaver Family is still intact-

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And I see that Mr. Allen has no compunction about grabbing more stock scenes from the library… misshapen Cherry serving coffee to her adventure-seeking husband…  Nice try at bonding, Rusty.  Mark’s been home less than an hour and he is already dismissing your comments with a verbal shrug…  But it looks like Mark has regaled his family with lusty tales of good vs. evil, etc…  And it appears that Mark is not afraid to call out Terrorism when he sees it…

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Yes.  Good to be home with you, Cherry, not that kid… But check out the concerned look on Mark’s face when Cherry suggest they “Step Outside…” Huh?  What?? Why???

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Cherry, your man is not brave, he’s a murderer!  Of course I’m sure that Mark’s version of the story is replete with notions of self-defense and they-had-it-coming, I needed to save the planet, etc…  Yes… Happy when the Feds arrived to give you a ride back… but no mention of the boat you destroyed?  No repercussions?  Well, at least all is right again in the Trailverse…  Unless one considers that Andy is on a leash in the first panel…  What- has he become a flight risk in Mark’s absence??

Worse than Smuggling Birds?!?

Or better than??  More lucrative, anyway… According to Jose… That’s a mighty big word there… He’s clearly the brains behind this operation.

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Judging by the reaction in panel two, this is not the first time the Ol’ Jefe is a little slow on the uptake…  As Jose laughs and grimaces and holds his head in pain, he calmly and collectively suggests that he has bigger plans in store, a bigger payoff…

But seriously… this is Mark Trail we are talking about.  It’s been at least two story arcs since we last had smuggling animals in the plot…  Remember the whole “My Friends call me Dirty” story?  There can be no greater foul than trafficking in poached animals and their parts… So while Jose’s idea may be more lucrative, let’s hope it’s at least as interesting as smuggling birds!!

But back to the abrupt transition away from Ken and Kelly!  What became of Kelly?  Are Mark and Ken cooling their heels in a decontamination chamber? Is Mark talking his way out of having to pay for the boat?  So many loose ends!!  Do we ever go back to Lost forest so Mark and Cherry can get their smooch on?

Eww…  sorry… shouldn’t have gone there…

Goin’ South of the Border…

Almost in the shadow of the Hacienda…  This is awesome.  Mr. Lizard becomes Hawk bait even before he can begin to digest the Spider…

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“So, Jose… Why have you asked me to meet you here?”

“Ah, Jefe, Mee Ameego,  would you be eenterested in makeeng some queek money??”  I can imagine Jose saying/sounding like…

OK I’ll get into trouble for that one, but let’s see how racially sensitive (or not) this story line becomes…  Immediately conjuring up images of Breaking Bad…  Cooking meth in the desert

Man? or Beast?

It’s clear enough now how James Allen likes to start his story lines and transition between story lines – with Adrian Peterson-Quality Jump-cuts to new locales involving animals eating other animals…  witness the Octopus eating crab sequence at the beginning the radioactive shark story line… and here we have Lizard eating Spider with whatever might follow…

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But lo! What doth cast such a mean shadow on the eater-of-spiders?  Man? Beast? Is there a difference?  Maybe it’s Bear Grylls of TV fame showing us how to survive in the Desert…