Sunday, June 13, 2010

Jeff Smith's Bone pt.4

Even as he was approaching the end of this fantasy epic, with characters we had come to know dying as a result of the evil of the Lord of the Locusts and the distrust and betrayal from some of those in power within the city of Atheia, Smith would still inject some humor into the narratives in order to keep that balance and not allow things to become too heavy. A couple of my favorite examples from later in the story are:

Smith also knows when to allow the images to convey the story rather than overwrite things (as was seen with the scene from issue #16 when Thorn, Gran’ma, and Fone Bone were fleeing the rat creatures in the night). The final confrontation with Mim and the dragons was incredibly powerful, and carried out with no dialogue or captions whatever.

Smith’s artistic ability really conveyed the majesty and the gravity of the situation incredibly well, and made for a fitting climax to a wonderful story.

Some final thoughts:
When Thorn was moving through the Ghost Circles, particularly that final time, it reminded me very much of Aragorn’s trek through the “Paths of the Dead” from Tolkien’s Return of the King.
It had been so long since I first read BONE that I’d forgotten a lot. Many of those who died, I did not recall. The Crown of Horns was as much a surprise on this reading as the first. And, though I ultimately knew good would win out, I did not remember how it all went, and I found it even more satisfying this time than how I remember it feeling the first time I read BONE. Smith, in creating a personal story like this, imbued his story with a tension that wouldn’t be available in a mainstream book. You don’t know who will die because anyone could die at any time. It adds a level of enjoyment that I often (note, I did not say always) find missing in the mainstream.
I loved how Smiley was trying to convince Fone Bone to come with him and Phoney when they leave at the end, and the use of the “TM” symbol after all the delicacies he uses to entice his cousin.
And when I got to that last page, it was sad to think it was over.

Go, find this book, read it, and enjoy.


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