The Triumphant Return

Yes, Mark, as you have been saying, ad nauseum…


Boom!  Right on cue!


Let the chorus ring out!


Took the words out of my mouth, Rusty (from a few days ago…)  Boy!  Such tension!  Such intrigue!!  Where do we go from here??


Put a fork in it…

…it’s done.  Overdone.


This has been a blessedly short “story.”  But that’s the point.  We are so bereft of plot under the Allen regime, we are left with dragging nature lessons and factoids through the daily strips.

We experimented with different styles of art during the “Kids Kamping” storyline, and then the best we can do, when it appears that the artistic standards have been re-established (although not clear whether it’s Allen’s actual pen or not) we are reminded that this strip really has nothing to offer.  And it’s not just pining for poachers and flapjacks (although that would be nice) it’s that there’s really nothing worth following here.

Which leads me to this:  Where the hell is Chris “Dirty” Dyer?  Raised from the dead, no compunction about killing, a score to settle.  Why hasn’t he come back into the picture?  We last saw him testing flame throwers on some secluded Caribbean Island while recruiting a man-servant.  And when was the last time we have seen Mark land a left hook?  Policing is under deserved scrutiny these days, but I would think that comic strip vigilantism would be on the rise!

Mark, do you ever grow tired of knowing everything?

The look on Rusty’s face says it all… Really, Dad?  Yet another topic upon which you can claim expertise?


Rusty, you are a patient soul…


What, Andy’s been gone a day?  Police won’t even file a missing person report that fast!  It is kind of Cherry to encourage him, though.


And here we are back at Cutter’s Bluff, a familiar sight for all avid Trailians.  Not to mention Rex, the ill-tempered grizzly who saved mark from a certain end years ago…


So this little lesson should wrap up pretty soon, with the mystery intact since there’s no way for Andy to tell his humans what he was up to…

Piling up…

…like so much Andy-scat.

Look, If I want to learn new things about nature and such, I would find the Sunday edition of Mark Trail…  The Dailies used to be focused on action and moving a plot forward…


…instead we are using Andy clip art from day to day- notice how the shot of Andy is I- (clap hands once) -dentical from day to day, just superimposed onto a new back ground?


Ataboy, Rusty.  That’s using the ol’ bean…  Mark’s face has returned to unrecognizable…  And what’s with the lonely log in the fireplace… that’s an interesting metaphor…  Has the flame at Lost Forest gone out, signaling the end (blessedly) of Mark Trail??

The art is back, but the writing…

…oh the writing!!  And let’s be clear:  Racoons are largely nocturnal creatures… what the hell is one doing out with the Deer and the Robin (which seems to have taken on goliath proportions, even with perspective in mind…)


Back home we are pondering the disappearance of Andy…


…with everyone except mark pitching in to set the table… while he waxes on about vague stories of wayward pets finding their way home…  Read an article? Sure you did, Cherry… sure you did.  That look on you face in the center panel might as well say, “Shut your pie-hole, Nature Boy, isn’t there a story you should be flagging down somewhere other than Lost Forest?”

“Father” Knows Best

With Rusty and Cherry holding down the ‘Fretful’ end of the spectrum, Mark feels compelled to dismiss their concerns…


I mean, aren’t we going to go look?  Aren’t we going to put the word out?  That tag around Andy’s neck- does it even have any useful information?

And we are off!

Well, that didn’t take long…


Trucker Travis, having vocalized his inner monologue, realizes that something is afoot!


Well, then, I bet there IS a dog in the back of your Truck!!  Barks like a dog, it’s bound to be a dog.


Oh, Andy, this could have been so simple.  But no, you had to run off… Who knows what life has in store for you at this point…  miles from home, running in a random direction.  The story starts… now!