82 days…

We have been laboring to bring this story to a close…  boy time flies when… well, not when it pertains to Mark Trail and his never ending quest to save the natural world from those who may want to profit from its bounty…

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And Yes!  Poor Jessica!  Letting Ethan “Marlin” Fauscett take the entire rap!  Never mind the evidence we have that she was in on the whole enterprise and that they were both afraid of being found out… and how important the income steam was to keeping the island intact and “private.”  Looks like she will have to begin opening her doors to eco-tourists and other such folk in order to keep things going…

Look at Doc… Wincing in pain from the once again smug son in law, off doing good while he and Rusty were left behind…  Mark, you really are a piece of work…

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That’s right Mark, It’ll be EASY…

Mark must have hit his head hard going into the water… Use of a contraction rather than whole words is as rare in the Trailverse as well, Mark and Cherry, well… you know, rumpling the sheets… But with the entire case handed to nameless, face shifting peace-officer on a silver platter, Mark’s work is done here.  And so with his hair magically back in place after the watery tussle, off Mark will go to pick up Doc and Rusty, with lusty tales to tell- Poaching, Punching and saving the soul of one Jessica Cannup, who it would appear is going to get off scot-free, that is unless the evidence leads back to her…

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But what of poor Jessica and the island?  We shall never know what becomes of the house and the grounds now that the main source of income has been cut off…  and there will be no more saved birds…  Ever think of that, Trail?  Life is full of trade-offs… and with your self-righteousness and your punches, you just sentenced countless birds to a fate that might have been avoided…

Hands and guns are difficult to draw…

I am not an artist, so I don’t where I get off criticizing the artwork on this strip, but here goes…  tiny hands and tiny gun in tiny hand on the left, accusing finger in the middle, and Jessica forming the Blondie Bumstead middle and ring finger glued together, pointer and pinky jutting out- sort of the opposite of the Vulcan “live long and prosper” sign.  Seriously check it out.  This is not a natural way to hold one’s fingers, and I wonder why it pops up like it does.  It has to be on purpose…

But with Jessica playing the role of the surprised and shocked spouse who clearly had NO IDEA what her boyfriend spent his time doing of where the money came from (“what? He stuffed fish for a living- big ones!!”)  Marlin will take the fall and molder in Jail for Heaven knows how long…  all I know is that we won’t be seeing him again, and Mark gets to write a hard hitting piece on the evils of poaching…  for the umpteenth time…

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And I don’t mean to keep working this (OK, maybe I do,) but aside from the blatant cut and paste job that was perpetrated between the third and fourth version from the left, this sheriff dude could be four different people…  It’s kind of creeping me out.  Let’s hope we don’t have to see a fifth version of this guy…

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Talk about mailing it in…

It’s one thing to re-use artwork from prior days and prior story arcs, but this is just blatant…  Check out Mark’s face from panel one to panel two…  at least they had the dignity to change where the water droplets are located…  And the “Officer” is none other than the random changeling who knocked on Doc’s Motel door…  only now he looks familiar since there is a blatant “copy- paste- apply different colors” thing going on here…

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And Mark!  Your hair!!  It’s all wet and mussed up!  Oh well, at least every now and then we get to see your more human side, the one that doesn’t say “camera ready” all the time…  Of course Mark has a list of his contacts, since Mr. “I don’t know what private information looks like” coughed up all the names and addresses of where Marlin Ethan Fauscett ships his illegal, ill-gotten booty…

Let’s all hope that that the plot machine that spins back at Lost Forest can come up with something other than poaching…  <<yawn…>>

When Synchronized Diving becomes Dive-Dancing…

You will see images like the one in the first panel… Though this effort will garner fairly low scores given the rough entry and the resulting splash… and considering the shallows into which they dived, it’s a miracle at least one of them isn’t paralyzed…

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One more punch for good measure, and the Chopper arrives on cue…  But how do they know which ONE is Mark Trail??  Do they assume that right makes might, that the man left standing is the one who is on their side?  Hell, a general description of either man would result in having both of them called into a line-up…

And I repeat- that is one heckuva helicopter… what is the hourly cost to run that baby?  No matter, resources are unlimited in the Trail-verse, especially when turtle eggs are on the line!!

Mark, did you really have to tackle him?

There’s no boat in the frame, he was running out onto the dock to do what?  Swim?  Your brand of vigilante justice… it’s all about putting another notch on your hiking boots, isn’t it Mark?  This “writing articles” and “taking pictures” thing is really just a means to an end, isn’t it?

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But there’s really nothing like a good tussle in the shallows, is there?  And now that we know that the chopper is on its way, and there hasn’t been a gun drawn, it’s really just a matter of time…

To Jessica’s Question “Marlin, WHERE are you going?”  The answer is obvious, Marlin is going to take a long run off a short pier…  and Mark is going to help him get there.  Marlin turns to look at Jessica with those inky-black, soulless eyes that can only be owned by a Poacher… realizing that he has gone wrong, that he has been dragging his girlfriend down with him, and that his comeuppance is nigh…  Ah, Justice!

Boat?? We don’t need no stinkin’ BOAT!

We’ve got Air Force II at our disposal…  we can be out at Pelican Point in minutes!  And by the way… If it’s an island, why is it called Pelican Point?  Is it a point that juts out from the island??  Must be a pretty big island…

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And of course a POACHER is the most dangerous criminal that a person might try to challenge!  And Mark, a mere citizen of Mother Earth, is certainly in over his head… Or so the local authorities think.  Apparently Mark’s reputation for playing all roles in fighting crime has not reached Florida…  Why, he has no use for Police, District Attorneys, Prosecutors, Judges, Juries or Jailers…

And Let’s also think for a moment about the last time Jason smith was involved- remember where that was?  Why, it was in Mark’s (or Doc’s) back yard-  there was poachin’ goin’ on right in LOST FOREST… It would seem that THE JOURNAL has quite the geographic span and regional following…