Well… He does Have a Film Degree…

Which might account for Johnny’s actions and dialogue in the third panel.  As Blondie considers her options, she is surrounded by a miasma of despair and regret that blocks out all the natural and man-made surroundings…

For students of the Trailverse, let’s also consider how the universe has been reshaped… If the third panel was placed on a placard, without dialogue, presented and the question was posed, “good guy or bad guy?”  the obvious answer would be “bad.”  Look at the markers- long hair, unshaven face, brandishing weapons in an aggressive way… Even Sheriff Stober’s sideburns would have no place on the shiny side of the old coin…  I guess we live in a much different world now, don’t we??

content10202017

“Cover me!” Johnny says…  in directive fashion that may have the sheriff complying with his wish… or not… which means Johnny’s life as a “save-the-dayer” might be short lived… But boy he looks super cool brandishing  those six shooters that Sheriff Stober’s Grandfather used to use for evil purposes…  in a way faintly reminiscent of Butch and Sundance…  and don’t forget… Sheriff Stober carries a tomahawk!

Oh, he’s a dead-eye…

…that Sheriff…

content10192017

Calm and crouching, he puts a bullet right where he wants to- just above head level and into the building.  No sense in actually shooting anyone, right?   Just need to let them know who has the superior steel…

And now it’s Baldy telling people to stay clear of harm’s way?  Since when did he acquire an ounce of empathy?  Of course as Mark, invincible as ever, makes himself available for stray bullets, it’s Blondie that realizes that life is nothing but a series of choices… some good, some not so good, that land us where we happen to be at any given time.  And right now she’s wishing she’d finished Pre-Algebra in the 9th grade and didn’t leave school to wander west…

2, 3, 4…

I think Blondie wasted a round when Mark was getting his punch on

content10182017

And Baldy has now fired off 3 more in what appears to be a six-shooter…  Assuming that Blondie’s gun is fully loaded, that leaves 6-4+6=8 rounds left before reloading…

So now that we are all aware of of everyone else, what prevents a Mexican Standoff?  Am I still allowed to say that?  What does it even mean??

Mexican Standoff

Thank you, Google… and yes, completely on point.  I predict that the FBI will swoop in with Helicopter (maybe Cal from the Island “Adventure…”) and save the day.  Wouldn’t be the first time that the Feds have made an appearance in these “stories…”

And… Action!

OK!  We are finally coming to the climax!    Not that we’ll ever get to see a prairie dog or a black-footed ferret!

content10172017

As if…

Looks like in panel one Sheriff Stober has mastered the art of ventriloquism…  The words come out, but the lips aren’t moving!  But in panel two the right-eye-dominant lawman has a bead on Ol’ Baldy and Blondie! I feel the end coming!  It can’t be more than a couple of weeks now, kids!!

Two guns?

What the – !?

content10162017

And had we noticed before that Blondie is also a leftie?  A southpaw?  Depending on the source, and who knows whether a study has ever actually been done, estimates indicate a range from 10-15% of the general population that is left-handed.  Seems like my life is full of lefties, though… my wife, mom, grandpa, two cousins, two of the four people who report to me at work, not to mention my boss… and it seems that my rate of discovery is only increasing… I was in a meeting the other day with 8 people in the room and 5 were taking notes with their left hands!!  I am hopelessly right handed, for the record.

So with the tried and true “I’ve got a bad feeling about this!” Mark is now being marched at double-gunpoint to some airstrip that by pure circumstance happens to be near the ghost town…  with Sheriff and Johnny skulking about in the shadows…

OK, gross…

I saw yesterday’s strip and had to move on…

content10132017

I mean really?  I’m no Calvinist, but I really don’t need to see a full frame close-up of Sheriff Stober’s swimsuit area…  and vague references to his “pistols.”

content10142017

So now that Johnny is all gunned up and ready for a shootout, Sheriff is hoping that they just roll up like a pill bug and surrender…  Not likely, though, as Baldie is itching for a fight, and it appears that he’s not going to let anyone get between him and his money…   or the money that he claims to be his…  I mean how much are we talking, really?  Assuming he has to split it among his accomplices, even if there is now one less,  there probably isn’t enough to last him past a good bender or two, at which point he’s back on the robber circuit doing this all over again…

To the comments that pop up periodically questioning the “logic,” or lack thereof, concerning the hopelessly meandering and non-sequitur quality of the plot line, I hear you.  I guess I’ve been beaten into submission and accepted that they won’t tie up, or off… unless they do in a subsequent story arc, the way that Dr. Joyce first appeared in the Mississippi Ken and Barbie adventure only to have her show up in the Badlands…  And remember, that this going-on-a-year long slog has only covered roughly two days in real time, so when you look at it that way, there is always going to be “plenty of time” to bring seemingly meaningless plot points together…