Metrosexual Mark…

Well, forget everything I just said (as in yesterday) about how relieved I was that James Allen wasn’t changing any of the long-held notions about role clarity…

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Maybe “doing dishes” isn’t the end of Mark as we know him, but it is a departure from what was…  and what we held most dear about him and his cloddish, oafish, generally obtuse nature…  so there he is, sleeves all rolled up, drying dishes… I am speechless…

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No, Mark, you are not … STARVING

Maybe a might peckish after heading out for an afternoon drive only to find yourself fighting for your life and spending the night in a tree!

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But of course you were able to forage… “Some Berries for breakfast!”  not much to keep body and soul together, huh, Mark??

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So of course we find ourselves back at the table where meals are served and strong, black coffee is poured…  Cherry, Baby, what IS going on with your face in the first panel?  You return to your normal look of utter supplication at the sight of your man, but seriously, you look a little alien whilst pouring coffee!

I am SO glad that James Allen isn’t messing with any of the well-defined roles in the Trail-verse…  Doc fixes animals (without receiving so much as a thanky-kindly…) Cherry serves and Mark sits there like a prince…  But wait!  Cherry made a joke- “glad you were able to get away from that bear, Honey…”  Bear…  Honey… Get it??  Ha! That’s a joke, son!!

Let’s take inventory of the expressions here…

Dusty the Ranger reminds me of Dr. Zaius from Planet of the Apes… same protruding, fixed lower mug… and then there’s Mark- cracking wise- “Well, Ol’ Friend, (he says in sort of a Ronald Reaganesque fashion) the bear delivered THAT message himself before YOU had a chance to… ha!”  He’s literally cracking himself up!  And Cherry looks back in, what? I don’t know… disbelief?  How’s the shoulder, Mark?  I bet it only hurts when you laugh…

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This must be as fun (or maybe scary and disconcerting) for Mark as it is for us… All these new emotions to try on.  It’s like when Data the Android received the “emotion chip” in an episode of Star Trek The next Generation… what will Mark do with all these new found emotions?  Cherry isn’t sure she doesn’t want the old, wooden version back…

“What happened to the man I married?,” she must be wondering…

And they already have a suspect in custody?  What up with that??  What’s Mark to do now?  I don’t get where this is going…

Well, I told you that that story in order to tell you THIS one…

Hold the phone!  Keep the clock running!  This story has only just begun!!  The look on Mark’s face is telling- jaw is clenched, eyes are narrowed, posture is forward…  Meanwhile the look on Cherry’s face tells the real story, as in, “Oh dear, there he goes again… off to save the natural world from evil-doers…”

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And of course what is Dusty’s job other than to TELL MARK about what is going on?  And then stand back and watch Mark do his job?  I mean, what?  Dusty is actually on the payroll and has in his job description to bring in bad people, but why would he do that if he has this crazy vigilante living in his jurisdiction??  Well, maybe they will work together…  maybe we will get a little Dusty back-story to help round out his character…  Remember, this is James Allen’s world now…