So, Mark gets “rescued” by his good ol’ friend, Cliff, who doesn’t take him back to Lost Forest, but to his own new fishing lodge. Where is that, exactly? Is it possible that Mark would not know about a new fishing lodge built in his own neck of the woods? I suppose that, given his propensity for being away on assignments, that it is possible. Still, to be dropped off at this location suggests they are pretty close neighbors. “De-Bait Team” sounds like on odd name for a fishing lodge, though. A boat, okay.
Once again, this must be the resurrected Cliff McQueen from the old Ed Dodd days, as I mentioned back on October 2nd. My so-called research showed that he was then a park ranger, and later, a Canadian Mountie. But that was then. This is now. And “the war” ain’t WWII, as it was for the ur-Mark. I reckon we’ll just have to assume it is one of our more recent military disasters and leave it at that. Certainly, that fire Mark mentioned was the big fire that became the turning point in the relationships between “Cherry and Mark” and “Cherry and Cliff”.
So, Cliff bears no regrets, no feelings of revenge for getting burned, so to speak? Well, it has been several decades in our timeframe, anyway. At least we can say one thing about the current strip: All the females and all the males do not look like they are related to each other! Nevertheless, let’s see how this side-trip in the story pans out. Will Cliff get involved in the mysterious zebra mussel affair, or does he have his own hidden agenda to derail Mark’s investigation? Funny thing about that: That’s exactly what Cliff did in a story back in 2011, when he attempted to stop Mark from searching for the source of a gold band with a Biblical verse Mark found one day. For those interested, you can read a few posts from the former blog of illustrator Shawn Turner (Shawn, Drawn), starting with his November 2011 submission: (http://shawndrawn.blogspot.com/2011/11/mark-trail-grows-cold.html).