So, Mark’s last night on assignment? Looks like Amy Lee once again called “right on time”, at the wrap of Mark’s adventure (so we must assume). Apparently, Mark has gotten into Cosplay fun at the Herp Hacienda and is wearing a “Walking Dead” mask in panel 1. Or maybe it’s feral hog.
Hard not to notice that Amy Lee’s depiction in panel 3 is quite decently drawn in comparison with Mark’s two images. It’s not as if Rivera could not have drawn a half-length image of Mark in panel 1 instead of that sketchy and flat scene with the too-small figures. Perhaps this is one reason (other than laziness) that former Trail cartoonists liked to use head shots of Mark to fill panels as much as possible.
So, this is Day 3 of the Epilogue, tying up several loose ends. Critics less charitable than I might call this a week of padding the ending to accommodate the entire week, as if Rivera is getting paid by the word, like some 19th century writer. But do we deserve perfect closure? Do we always find out what happened to that person at the Motor Vehicles Office who rejected your vanity plate slogan? Do we know the fate of that lover we abandoned because she needs to read Tarot cards to decide what to wear for the day? What will those weirdos do after Mark leaves? Do we even care?
Life is full of dead-ends, unexplained absences, and detours. People come and go, many not even speaking of Michelangelo. Life is messy, but stories are expected to make sense and have a clear Beginning-Active Middle-Meaningful End. Yes, stories need to have Endings. You can’t just pull the plug on a story and cut to a scene of Mark leaning against a porch rail as Cherry extols his manliness and professes her undying love and devotion. Rivera seems to be bucking the standard Trail Story ending technique and I’m down with that.
But the biggest black holes are still the so-called antagonists. Where are they? What are they doing? Why did they bother with this entire farce? The entire story still seems like a con. What was the point? How is it that Mark’s childhood nemesis just happened to be the Sugar Daddy for Reptile Man and the Herp Hacienda crowd?