Current Reviews


Bone #55

Posted: Sunday, June 13, 2004
By: Ray Tate

Writer/Artist: Jeff Smith
Publisher: Cartoon Books

The final issue of Bone gives readers a satisfying but bittersweet ending that reminds faithful fans where the book began and how it grew.

I first became a fan of Jeff Smith when the phrase "Stupid! Stupid, Rat Creature!" was uttered by our hero Fone Bone. This scene was hilarious slapstick at its very best. Then Bone met Thorn, and the charm knit through the story. The little cartoon creature--species unknown--fell in love with Thorn. Your heart had to be pea-sized in order not to be moved. Phoney Bone later provided the Daffy Duck archetype. Smiley Bone added the Harpo to the gang.

Jeff Smith slowly pulled these vignettes and characters into an astounding epic in the tradition of Lord of the Rings. Thorn was revealed to be a princess. Grandma Ben was in reality Rose a warrior. Dragons played a part, and the Rat Creatures we met from the early episodes became more than mere strange, mentally challenged fall-things at which to be laughed. The comedy relief of Phoney and Smiley actually contributed to the battle. New characters such as Rockjaw and new twists such as the Ghost Circles were added, and now all comes to an end.

When last we left Bone and Thorn, the devoted duo had touched the Crown of Horns and awakened the slumbering dragons. Meanwhile the Locust brings doom in the form of the Mad Queen Dragon to the villagers led by Rose. The Rat Creatures intend to eat them before the Locust's plan fruits rottenly, but the Berserkers from Pawan intend to slit them in two first.

This issue, an old character, becomes proactive in a big way as the dragons express their anger at being awoken from their nap. This character's timely actions reminded me of Aslan's actions from The Chronicles of Narnia, and in a stunning scene depicting myriad dragons--each designed slightly differently--the threat to the Valley ends in a smart fusion of art and storycrafting.

Bone's successful beginning, middle and end relays something that most readers already know. There's no excuse for lazy writing, lazy dialogue, lazy plotting and just plain laziness. You can rationalize that you didn't have the time. You can rationalize that the length of the story demanded padding, but I have one thing to say to writers who mutter such excuses Bone.

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