Yea… Settle down, Rusty.

Haven’t we talked about this in the past?  You have to pretend that you are allowed out of the Lost Forest Compound every now and then…  You can’t look all wild-eyed at every last thing you see.  Besides, slipping in a little blase and ennui for Mara’s benefit will only up your cred, young man…

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Well, at least we are finally here, you know?  That took a while.  Longer than the ride from the airport to the resort…  Nice mask on the temple!

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You know what’s amazing?

The fact that we have been on this van-ride now for a week and there seems to be no end in sight…

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…along with the fact that Mark has been allowed into the jungle with two young people, especially given his track record of inviting disaster, natural and otherwise…

Chameleon Van

Why does the van keep changing color?  OK, it’s just vacillating between black and white, but still, it’s puzzling…

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And Mark, I am sure that you aren’t the only one excited to see the temple…

…now cue the jurassic era bird…

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What? Are there prehistoric renderings of Sponge-Bob?  Now that would be different!

Proud of his van, he is…

OK, Joe, you are probably starting to over-share a bit… You are now answering questions that no one has asked.

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But meanwhile inside the sumptuous ride…

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Haven’t you been paying attention, Rusty?  Don’t you realize that you are going to see ruins now?  Or perhaps you can’t equate the phrase “temple in the jungle” with “ruins…”

Now that face in panel three is a new one… Not the usual sleepy, dopey manner we are accustomed to in panel one…

Right! His name is Joe!

Been losing your hair long, Joe?  Ever have a movie projected on your forehead, Joe?

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Nice tree frog!  It’s rare forMark Trail (the strip) to show fauna in the foreground these days.  That was a must back in the Dodd/Elrod era…

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If I’m not mistaken, we have yet to meet Professor Carter or learn his first name… but remember, Mark has “known” him for 30 years…”  Since Mark was a tad, apparently…  Which would put the good doctor in his 50’s or 60’s… that is unless they were childhood friends?  Hmmm….

Scooped again!

Oh.  My.  Goodness…  How could I have missed this one!?  I mean, this is right in my wheelhouse!  Unless of course I was too… ahem… into the movie when I saw it in high school!!

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And for whatever reason, there seems to be a conspiracy among internet providers of the colored version of the strip!  So Trail Noir it is!!

Rusty’s friend Mara… Hmmmm… Now that we know what Mr. Allen is referencing here I think Rusty is quite in over his head!!

Joe would appear to be Anglo… an expat of some kind, running from the law and laying low driving Touristas to Ancient Ruins!!  He seems harmless enough…

I think the word you are searching for is Señorito…

The overly polite and formal service staff member (concierge?) is addressing Rusty as “Mister,” not the Spanish equivalent of “Master,” which is probably more appropriate…

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Mark’s pissed too, about the head fake, but wants to find cover…

But let’s get real for a moment… this amalgam of ’57 Chevy and Panel Truck isn’t exactly Jungle-worthy either…