Stupid, Stupid Rat-Tails (Issue 1-3)

 

So I said I’d be continuing the Bone series immediately, but it turns out there’s a side story to read, which apparently involves the Founder of Boneville, Big Johnson Bone (great name). Big Johnson, before he discovered Rolling Bone River on his adventures as a frontier hero, is currently happy to be on the road, his companion bringing to light of he having been kicked out of town, so not having much choice, the other speaker being a monkey, Mr. Pip whom was riding atop a donkey, and had won him in a card game, Mr. Pip accused Johnson of having cheated. Johnson denies this, stating it was luck which had made his hand a winner, but Mr. Pip had seen a card fall from his sleeve, Johnson clarifying by relating a rambling story of why this had occurred, but by the time he’d finished, the monkey and donkey were asleep. The next day, Johnson is relating another tale of asparagus, when Mr. Pip notices Johnson seemed to be drawing a map, he explaining of how he could draw a map of somewhere they hadn’t been yet rather than helping them return to where they were, he being a great explorer and when being accused a liar, makes one of those statements which one would demand retribution from a higher power to strike them down, Johnson asking for a twister, and actually getting one. Johnson makes himself useful, though when they’re caught up in the twister by getting a hold of a tree trunk and grabbing hold, commanding Mr. Pip and donkey to do likewise and ride out the storm. They soon get spit out of the twister, Johnson claiming to have been done with the ride anyways, and the three landing near some rat creatures. They run off, with the rat creatures in hot pursuit, Mr. Pip in woe to his fate (I am noticing the change in writing since it isn’t Smith this time, it’s only slightly annoying, but since the story moves along, it’s fairly ignorable). The rat creatures lose the group though, and the two decide to go back to wait for more mammals to fall from the sky. After realizing the creatures were no longer chasing them, Johnson attempts to orient himself to his surroundings, and is blown away by the beautiful sight of a place unknown. Mr. Pip hears something rustling and gets scared, but Johnson, being sick of running, whips out a dagger to defend them with, but uncovers a family of mice whom talk a lot of breakfast and whether Johnson had appeared because of Lily’s wish. Johnson is soon bombarded by many questions, starting with whom Johnson was and then repeating whether he was there to save them like Lily had wished, Johnson asking what they could need saving from in a beautiful place like their home, they all leading him to someone called Stillman, whom would explain the situation. They soon meet other creatures of the forest, everyone asking about where he’d come from and whether Johnson would save them when Stillman makes his appearance known by dropping a rock on Johnson’s head and commanding he leave, the creatures of the forest sticking up for Johnson, he asking why Stillman was throwing rocks when he could be breathing fire, Stillman explaining of the fire reflux he had upon trying, making himself ill. Johnson empathizing the unfortunateness of Stillman’s situation and then learns why the forest critters needed saving, Stillman relaying it being caused by the rat creatures attempting to expand their territory and eating the younger animals parents. Johnson then considers if these rat creatures were one and the same to those who had chased him and his companions, Johnson deciding to peace pipe for a moment and have a think on a way to help everyone out of the rat creature problem. A view of the rat creature Queen conversing with one of her subjects of being groomed and the loss of her husband to bad pork. Then the two rat creatures who had run into Bone and group came in to inform their Queen of the creatures falling from the sky and their escape, she commanding a party to be made to discover them and bring them back to her. As the rat creatures searched, Johnson was telling another yarn about trapping critters and being the best, which was similar to what the rat creatures were doing, but he explaining the main differentiation between himself and the rat creatures was he was going to help the animals defeat the rat creatures, they watching on the group around their campfire. Stillman then makes the point of the group being better off waiting for the dragon council to restate a new protector of the forest before Johnson brought them to war with the rat creatures, but Johnson being adamant they needed to act first, the rat creatures agreeing and stepping into the light, Johnson relating this experience to be like another with mountain lions, this issue ending. So, it moves along, but it does get repetitive with the rambling anecdotes of Johnson; I prefer Jeff Smith, thank you, but as a completist, I will be finishing due to the series only including three parts. So away on to the next!

 

 

Big Johnson is relating his story of mountain lions as he begins to kick rat creatures’ booty. Other creatures who have cornered some of the young critters, before closing in further hear cries of pain, which stops them, they looking around to identify where the sounds are coming from. They see what’s happening to their comrades, they being tossed around by their tails, the critters shouting to Big Johnson words of encouragement. Stillman is struggling with not doing anything to help and so decides on dropping a rock on the rat creatures, but it backfires by hitting Johnson on the head, freeing the rat creature, and all deciding to retreat, but not empty-handed, grabbing two critters of the forest before leaving. When the rat creatures relate what had happened to them, the Queen decides to recruit her son to deal with Johnson. Meanwhile Johnson was coming to his senses, sort of, and talking of the handy uses the rat creatures bodies could be used for to make some cash. Johnson then describes a plan where everyone would be able to help rescue the two young animals, Mr. Pip thinking he’d cracked how Johnson had a story for everything, including how he’d lost and regained his sanity, which he did, but Mr. Pip’s idea was a bit different from the real story. The animals were quite scared of going to fight the rat creatures though, so Johnson tries to remember the last time he’d been afraid, unable to do so, but knowing at some point he had, and attempted to comfort them with encouraging words. One animal gets motivated, and decides to go along, back to Queen Maud for her speech to her people and how she was going to need their assistance is then shown. The rat creatures run off to do her bidding, the Queen’s son, stuck somehow and trying to struggle loose so he can come along too. In the forest, another animal is now bent on tagging along, as well, stressing Stillman with the madness of the situation. Johnson decides Mr. Pip would stay with Stillman and the other animals to relate his story if anything happened which wasn’t planned, Pip agreeing. As Johnson and group walked, they inquired of his other adventures, Johnson obliging, and whilst he continued to describe a scary story, some rat creatures had begun trailing them and gave themselves away with getting spooked by the story. The rat creatures run off, Johnson after them, but he runs into the Queen’s son, he a big’n, asking if they were the creatures his mama had told him about which were giving her headaches. Meanwhile, Stillman was still beating himself up about being a failure at his job, Pip trying to quiet him for not being able to do anything about it now. Stillman has grown some courage though, and decides to attempt to do his job properly, leaving the camp, the donkey going after him with Pip complaining of breaking the promise they’d made to Johnson to stay and relate his story, he riding atop the donkey. Back to Johnson whom was convincing the big rat creature, Tyson of they not being mammals, Tyson believing him and leaving the message if they were to run into the mammals to let them know of he coming for them. Johnson and group are almost home free when some other rat creatures rat them out. Tyson grabs them, but then Stillman has caught up and actually makes his aim when he lobs another rock at a rat creature, but not in time before Tyson consumes Johnson and the rest, Mr. Pip trying to interest the rat creatures in a pet: himself. This installment was a little less annoying, so I’m glad to report I’m not as hesitant to finish the last.

 

Tyson is currently having some issues with a tummy ache and being scolded for not chewing before consuming. The rat creature guards were then leading the captured, Mr. Pip, Stillman, and donkey to having a word with the Queen before they shared the same fate as their friends, Stillman again giving himself a hard time, and Mr. Pip contemplating a position as cook for the rat creatures. When they meet the Queen, she shuts Mr. Pip down on the front of he being another servant, so he plays to her ego, but all it does is help her decide in which order she would eat them, then scolding Tyson some more about he needing to learn to chew if he was ever going to be king. What’s happened with Big Johnson and the others is given, they being in the throat hole still, and Johnson deciding the only way out was down. Mr. Pip and gang were in the pantry, of course, they a bit disappointed by Stillman not being able to save them, he again accepting his failure wholeheartedly. Pip was stressing how he hadn’t won the Queen over, the rat creatures advising them to stop worrying, for tainting their meaty flavors, and what they had in store for the rest of the forest being similar. This prospect must have made Stillman ill, since next is the rat creatures crispy and in shock Stillman could breathe fire, Pip being faced away from them and complaining of the noise for attempting to figure a way out. Meanwhile Johnson is relating another story of how slippery another experience he had was in comparison of their current surroundings not being as bad, the area rumbling, and Tyson announcing of not feeling well, still. The doctor is sent for, whom gives guesses as to what could be ailing Tyson, seeing inside his stomach again to view Johnson and kids still falling, until hitting the juicy bottom and being met with more creatures on the “shore”, they being the parents of the orphaned children, a happy reunion ensuing. Stillman is now going off to confront the Queen, viewing she is still pleading with the doctor for a diagnosis, then being interrupted by one of her minions. He reports of Stillman escaping, he coming right to them, but then realizing how many rat creatures he was soon to be dealing with, the doctor trying to coax out any wood elves which may be causing Tyson’s problem. Johnson is now trying to rally the group into building a fire, due to he being chilled, they making a honking bonfire, one of the kids even locating a musical instrument, Johnson ready to rock. Tyson is feeling the heat and the doctor then hears singing, thinking the culprit is fire sprites, Tyson now becoming sick to his stomach, he hurling Johnson and group out, Stillman being urged to blast some fire at the Queen, Tyson then attempting to defend her. Johnson has the idea to have the donkey run up Tyson’s tail, the same idea as before, to use Tyson’s “rudder” in his favor. When Tyson passes out from his doing a partial removal of his own body, the Queen believes Johnson wouldn’t dare to do anything similar to her, Johnson admiring her fur coat. The group leaves and they inquire of where Johnson would go, they wanting him to stay as their protector, but he reminding them of Stillman’s usefulness, and he needing to see more of the world. As the animals discuss how events could have turned out without Johnson having been there, Stillman then defends himself after hearing another downside, upon turning around, realizing it was the dragon from the high council, Red Dragon. Red Dragon then decides Stillman was doing a fine job and appointed him his position again, officially, Stillman ready for the challenge. The Queen is then speaking with her subjects of how the new decree of tail-cutting-off day would be implemented and the reason being caused by Johnson and his usage of them. Johnson is relating his tale to a visitor in his trade shop, and discovering how he’d purchased it and had Mr. Pip running it, the man seeing his new head wear, and Johnson saying farewell to continue adventuring. A fit ending since we now know why the rat creatures go around without tails, this shaped up to be a fairly decent story.

We then get the Bone: Holiday Special Premiere Edition, which is a fun one. Now, back to the main story!

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Bone Vol. 6: Old Man’s Cave

For the fifth volume. We discover Fone climbing a tree to get bearings as to where they were in the woods, Smiley waiting below. They’d been lost for days already and Fone still wasn’t familiar with the area, meanwhile Smiley is having trouble watching for Fone’s climb down due to a groundhog getting mad at Smiley for stepping on his home’s entrance, Fone having a moment to break his handhold and falling directly onto the groundhog. Ted the bug then finds Smiley as he’s trying to extricate Fone from his fall into the groundhog’s hole (ha ha) and Fone is as happy to see Ted, as well. The groundhog then overhears their happy reunion and who Fone was, getting scared since the rumor was Fone had killed Kingdok, he retreating inside, Ted then catching the Bones up on what had been going on, Fone getting angry with Phoney and they both being led by Ted back to where the village was.

We see Phoney in cover of the trees spying Thorn helping a family escape the burning village, meeting the rest in the brush before two groups of rat creatures approach from two sides of the clearing and everyone hiding in the darkness of the trees hoping not to be seen. The two rat creature group leaders speak of the news about Kingdok, one group leader not knowing the most recent news being of his death. The two group leaders then digress into another language which gives Wendell time to threaten Phoney for being the one with the star mentioned by the rat creatures and wanting to give him hell for getting them in this mess, Phoney cowering and knowing his words bore truth. Thorn then divulges she understood the language the two groups were speaking in, not knowing how but then giving orders as to where to take the new family and getting Wendell and a couple others to do what they had already done before, everyone having their tasks and Phoney surprised Thorn believed in his innocence. When Thorn and company get back, they don’t see the town, she making it clear they were in it already. Wendell gets newly enraged at the thought of everyone’s home being obliterated and chasing imaginary dragons because of Phoney, Thorn having to come to his rescue yet again, but not succeeding so Phoney lets out with Thorn’s secret which at first they have trouble believing.

Thorn then tries to get everyone’s attention on a trail she wanted to follow, with or without the group which she believed may lead to the other Bones. Jon, one of the group then encounters a note Thorn had written to Fone Bone and discovered it wasn’t in the place she left it, Lucius most likely having put it in the known spot for trading messages, the group, other than Thorn and Phoney deciding to check Gran’ma Ben’s farm in the morning. The two then go off in search of Fone, but the men in the group notice hooded figures, the Stick-Eaters heading towards them. When Thorn acknowledges them, one confides a message from her grandmother and where she wished Thorn to meet her, Thorn than asks what they know of Fone and they recount the latest news as to his whereabouts, she still struggling with what to do first, deciding she’ll make her final decision in the morning. We then see a dream Thorn has which shows her looking like Snow White and speaking to her younger looking grandmother who urges her to cut the vines around her, younger Lucius advises her to disobey, another young grandmother coming from behind Thorn, but not being able to see her. The younger “evil” grandmother tries to take Thorn’s sword and Thorn wakens clutching Fone’s spiked club, she walking off into the darkness.

The four left in Thorn’s group, being deserted by her during the night, end up walking in the dark trying to uncover Old Man’s Cave. The biggest in their group is still steaming about Phoney’s trouble-making ways and is about to take it out on him again when Wendell tries to hold him back, enforcing Thorn’s order to leave him alone. Gran’ma Ben soon shows up and enquires where Thorn is, stopping the two from fighting amongst themselves. They escort them back to the cave, Lucius going after Thorn. We then see where Fone and Smiley have gotten to, they soon finding themselves amongst rat creatures and when they begin threatening them with death, Thorn comes out to defend them, but upon seeing the club she brandished and giving to Fone, they truly show fear and run off for believing they were the ones to kill Kingdok. After greeting each other warmly, Thorn then figures out which direction will take them to Old Man’s Cave, then promptly heads in the opposite direction, believing they can’t be helped by anyone there, looking for shelter instead. We then see the Hooded One speaking with the Lord of the Locusts who was concerned with his interest in the one who bears the star, the Lord of the Locusts making it clear if the Hooded One’s idea failed, he’d pay for it.

We then see the Bones and Thorn spitting cherry pits at each other in the tree hollow and they getting so loud as to bring Ted back to inform them to keep it down for having to try and keep them hidden. Thorn then shares their plans to confront and over-power the Hooded One, Ted then voicing his opinion they should be going to Old Man’s Cave. Thorn still denying this to be a suitable plan and the three discussing what more is known of the Hooded One and where the Lord of the Locusts came from. Thorn then confides why the Lord of the Locusts was showing such interest in herself and Phoney and how it will aid his release from bondage, going on to confess why she doesn’t trust Gran’ma Ben at the moment and it having to do with the knowledge of a nursemaid Thorn had come to realize didn’t exist. We then see Roque Ja confronting whomever is in his presence, it turning out to be the Hooded One asking for a favor, Roque Ja turning him down before he can continue, taunting him with how he probably wouldn’t have been able to get the information from Kingdok who is now lacking an important appendage needed to speak, he coming out from the darkness as well and the Hooded One having to hold him back.

The Hooded One goes on to mention needing Roque Ja’s help in capturing the Bones once more and what state he wished the princess to be in, he accepting once he gets an agreed upon reward for his efforts. Then we see Phoney being wakened by Jon, he revealing how long Phoney’s been asleep since he’d been ill and now they all residing in Old Man’s Cave. Jon explains some of the cave’s history and Gran’ma Ben comes to see Phoney as well, he realizing her status and thinking he’s going to pay for his bad behavior, she agreeing to judge him lightly. Gran’ma Ben then takes Phoney to a part of the cave which shows drawings on the walls implying the beginning which started with a dragon queen and how the Lord of the Locusts became involved, including an ancestor of Gran’ma Ben’s and in extension, Thorn. Phoney then learns what role the rat creatures believed he would be playing in all of this, Lucius interrupting by coming to update how he hadn’t found Thorn due to her excellent training from the dragons and how they were getting boxed in by the Hooded One and rat creatures setting up camps around them. Gran’ma Ben then defends Phoney from getting decked by Lucius since he was only worried about the well-being of his cousins and when Lucius departs, he asks Gran’ma Ben who the Hooded One was, she not knowing either, but being able to clarify what would occur if he succeeded in releasing the Lord of the Locusts, the outcome not a good one.

Fone and Smiley meanwhile, are gathering water at the barn to prepare for a bath whilst Thorn was within, looking through her grandmother’s belongings. They continue to discuss what the next item of business will be for their group, they not knowing and figuring Thorn would be the leader. Thorn meanwhile is hearing their conversation and interjects what her plan is and reveals why she hadn’t told them until then. Fone puts in his two cents and Thorn expands on why she doesn’t want to go to Old Man’s Cave, but then Fone with Smiley’s help, convinces her it’s the best idea for now and they head in the same direction instead. Lucius is then shone giving command to the group following him in order to keep the rat creatures from completely surrounding Old Man’s Cave. Lucius then sees a woman who introduces herself as Briar and we learn who she’s related to, he in denial it could be her and Jonathan overseeing their conversation from within the woods, also noticing rat creatures approaching. Jonathan then shouts of their closing in and Lucius breaks away from Briar to help defend the cave. We skip to where Gran’ma Ben is updated on what was happening outside the cave, the scout not learning much and then continuing conversation with Phoney in relation to his soul and as she’s explaining she again gets the “gitchy” feeling and Phoney feels a rumbling around them. When they get outdoors they see the place where the Lord of the Locusts is trapped has a dust cloud rising up around it and then Gran’ma Ben learns of what’s happened to Lucius, he coming to inform what had happened to them, she hoping Thorn is alright. Then Roque Ja comes out from behind Gran’ma Ben’s farmhouse sniffing around and seemingly stalking Thorn and co.

Lucius reports back to Gran’ma Ben of who he’d seen as the Hooded One to which she has trouble believing for the one mentioned was thought to be dead, after only seeming to feel pity for her. Gran’ma Ben goes on to share no one else coming to help them and they would most likely be fighting among their own, alone. Wendell then walks up demanding for Phoney to be given to them since he’s the one the rat creatures are looking for and being in this mess because of him. Gran’ma Ben tries to appeal to Wendell and those with him they shouldn’t hand over the one thing they were after if they believed it would help release the Lord of the Locusts, but whilst they were being held off, Phoney takes off and so Gran’ma Ben spreads everyone out looking for him so he doesn’t get caught by the enemies and lose the war inadvertently because of his absence, she going off in search of him on her own and being seen by Roque Ja. Gran’ma Ben notices Phoney and stops him before he made matters worse, Lucius coming up behind the two and Roque Ja looking ready to act, Lucius warning her and Roque Ja pouncing, getting Gran’ma Ben, Lucius jumping on him and the three falling off the cliff. Gran’ma Ben starts by punching the lion though, showing her strength isn’t only rumors, Phoney continuing his ditching of them.

Roque Ja ignores them after and mentions his targets being Phoney and “the princess”, we then seeing Phoney run straight into Fone, Thorn and Smiley walking close behind. Phoney explain how he’d been to Old Man’s Cave and it not being safe anymore and then of Gran’ma Ben’s run in with Roque Ja, which makes Thorn want to go and defend her, Phoney and Fone trying to stop her, but not getting far since Roque Ja had followed Phoney and swatted Thorn out of the way. Fone gets swatted down some boulders and Roque Ja picks up Thorn and Phoney to finish his mission, Smiley trying to get Fone to wake up, but he’s gone into his dreams and sees the Red Dragon there stating for him to wake up and of Thorn’s condition, needing him to follow her. After the Red Dragon conveys how he won’t be able to go with him, Fone wakes and Smiley tells him which direction they’d gone, the two running after Roque Ja.

We then see Gran’ma Ben tending to Lucius who had been hurt, but advising her to make haste for Roque Ja so she can try and divert the lion from succeeding in catching Thorn or Phoney, he assuring her he’ll be going back to Old Man’s Cave and so Gran’ma Ben follows their trail. Smiley and Fone are then shown running over some rocks to where they witness Kingdok, some rat creatures and the Hooded One, Phoney having been bound on a flat stone, the Hooded One remarking how he may have evaded them for some time, but he was caught now and his mystic powers must not be as strong as he thought, Phoney denying knowing anything about this and admitting it was a big misunderstanding and refusing to take part in the Hooded One’s ritual to release the Lord of the Locusts, but she warning Phoney if he didn’t help her willingly she’d accept him as a sacrifice, Bone trying to reason with her, but the Hooded One then showing how the foretelling of Phoney’s coming had been known, an obvious sign, appearing through the thick smoke behind her.

Phoney then realizes what they’d seen and how Fone would definitely be mad if he knew, Fone and Smiley putting two and two together and the balloon shaped like one of the Bones being the cause of them being run out of Boneville. Gran’ma Ben then tries to stop the Hooded One from continuing the sacrifice, after Bone had tried to explain what the balloon had been for and the message beneath, it having a banner at the bottom which was ripped, partially. Gran’ma Ben then speaks of the mistake the Hooded One had made and how the balloon wasn’t the one needed to free the Lord of Locusts but Thorn, who the Hooded One said was dead. Kingdok then goes on to berate how the Hooded One had disgraced his people with the mistake made and then we see what happens to the Hooded One due to the incompetence allowed to play out. Fone goes to Thorn and gives her the necklace the dragon had given him whilst he’d been unconscious, meanwhile locusts having covered her, but when he gives her the necklace, she awakens and Gran’ma Ben and the Bones all try to make sure she can walk so they can escape the area due to it’s instability. Thorn stops only for a moment to put up her hood, giving the impression they haven’t quite saved her yet and this volume ending. I won’t like pausing in the story, but there’s a side-story to be read: Rose, but this volume and the whole series so far is definitely worth the effort.

Bone Vol. 5: Rock Jaw: Master of the Eastern Border

For the fourth volume. Smiley is shown pointing out Fone’s process of making a sandwich to the cub rat creature whilst Fone sulked. He then assuring Smiley they couldn’t linger in the woods much longer, needing to return to town soon for running out of food. Fone is then privy to Smiley naming the cub rat creature, Bartleby which makes him remind Smiley what they’d gone to the woods to do in the first place, being to set him loose. Smiley then manipulates Fone into talking about Moby Dick so he could teach Bartleby how to nap after lunch, Fone falling right into his ploy. We then see Fone settle into perusing through his book as they are being spied upon by other rat creatures. The two rat creatures sneak up on the Bones and Smiley promptly commands Fone to read from the book to bore them, but when Smiley tries first and believes he’s failed, gets Fone to start reading and it knocking them out as he suspected it would.

Smiley, trying to comfort Fone in their escape by it being possibly Fone himself whom is boring and not the story at all, then noticing Bartleby hadn’t followed and saw he was sniffing around the snoozing rat creatures. Fone gets Smiley to realize this was exactly what they were trying to do anyways and continue up the mountain, we seeing the rat creatures revive and following them. Fone and Smiley are trapped, but Bartleby comes to their rescue and ends up sticking with the Bones. Fone is stumped as to their next step when a humongous mountain lion comes up to tell them they’re trespassing. As the mountain lion tries to figure out what group the Bones belong to, he introduces himself as Roque Ja, the master of the eastern border, he wondering aloud if the Bones knew of the Bone with the star on his chest. Fone then tries to ascertain what side Roque Ja is on, but he dodges the question since they hadn’t answered themselves and when the Bones try to walk away, Roque Ja knocks them off the cliff, they hanging onto the ledge and he requesting them to hand him the rat creature cub first, to turn them all in. They try to resist, but Bartleby is first to comply and we leave them awaiting Roque Ja’s next move.

We then see the Possum kids discovering Smiley’s trail after having lost them once before. One of the kids has a slip of conscience and then they hear something, they all playing dead, but realizing it’s only a raccoon. The raccoon, Roderick tells of not trying to scare them, but was on the trail of his parents killers, getting the kids to follow him. He leads them to where he’d last seen the rat creatures, they all then encountering Roque Ja and the Bones after moving past the rat creatures. The Bones are still arguing with Roque Ja about they not wanting to choose a side and how Roque Ja seemed to be catering to the rat creatures for someone who was supposedly the ruler of the eastern border. The Possum kids then learn which side Roque Ja is on after talking with Roderick about who Roque Ja was and his thoughts on the dragons versus the rat creatures, the kids continuing closer to the Bones.

As the Possum kids are close on their tail, Roque Ja is starting to hear something suspicious, but then gets distracted by continuing his rant about rat creatures. We then see what the rat creatures are doing when the Possum kids show up to use themselves as bait to create a chase for them in the direction of Roque Ja and the Bones. Roque Ja is in the middle of relating the tale of why the valley people thought dragons created the mountains when the Possum kids show up as the rat creatures catch one of them in front of Roque Ja, who jumps at the rat creature for trespassing. The Possum kids and Roderick stop at the end of a precariously hanging log, the rat creature and Roque Ja soon following and then the second rat creature joining them, sealing their fated fall, the kids jumping to the small branch across the way. When the Bones realize the kids are safe, Smiley is first to see Roque Ja is angrily making his way back up the cliff, they needing to book it out of there, the Possum kids calling for Roderick to come along, but he not being able to for the other orphans of the mountain, hoping they could all help each other.

The orphan kids tell of their hiding places, willing to help Fone and his friends out before Roque Ja finished his climb back up, but they don’t get away undiscovered, Roque Ja following close behind them until the Bone crew have jumped into a cave in the ground, he not fitting down the gap, but Roque Ja staring at them through the crevice. Soon the orphan kids are trying to exclude the rat creature cub and the Possum kids try to aid the Bones by defending their trustworthiness of allowing the cub rat creature to accompany them through the tunnel. Soon they’re convinced to its necessity the rat creature cub be able to come along, everyone going through in darkness, until Smiley sparks a light. Soon they’re through the tunnel and walk out into an area with Aztec looking statues. The orphan kids show them how they would next need to climb down a cliff to get to the forest, which would take a moment longer to get to, but once they did, they realizing getting down was going to be tricky, unfortunately before they can even attempt it, the two rat creatures come out and stop them, then being engulfed in bugs which then turns out to be Kingdok. He is not happy to see his cronies here with the Bones, having failed to stay with him and then pushing them off the cliff, but two orphan kids are left on the side with Kingdok, Bartleby then showing how useful he could be, by jumping back over for them and bringing them to everyone else, they all then having to figure out where they’d go next.

Fone comes up with everyone needing to walk along the steep edge of the rock. Kingdok then speaking to them and giving them the option to tell him of Phoney’s whereabouts and he granting them their lives, but Fone decides not to take it and Kingdok collapses some rocks impedes their path. Roderick is almost lost, but is saved by a rat creature for selfish reasons as we observe when they stop to account for everyone’s presence. Fone decides to make a deal with the rat creatures, since the orphans weren’t going to help them, they having to agree to stop trying to eat their group and they, in return would help them get away from Kingdok, the two rat creatures taking up Fone’s offer. As they continue down the ledge though, Kingdok is seen patrolling above and since Roque Ja was back the way they’d come, they would need to go down, but then Kingdok sends his locusts out, it engulfing the bunch and they trying to stay calm as the grasshoppers’ presence thickened. Fone doesn’t make it through the locust shower, getting pushed off the ledge and then being pulled off by the locusts when the hoard clears from Smiley and the rest. Kingdok then shows up, trying to crunch on Smiley, the locusts picking up Fone, but something falling from his bag and scaring the locusts away. They then proceed to look through the items Gran’ma Ben had Fone keep safe, the rat creatures acting squirrel-y around a particular one. The orphan kids then discuss how Kingdok didn’t seem real, especially when he vanished and considered how the temple was built on a ghost circle, which would explain the strange things they were experiencing. Fone then decides they need to check on Thorn so they try to get down the mountain as quickly as possible, hoping nothing else arises.

Smiley voices how the rat creature cub would now be able to stay with them as Roque Ja stalks the group. Fone decides the cub should stay with the dense rat creatures, they taking offense, Smiley then noticing the fire which was seen near the village was out and Fone not wanting to jump to conclusions until they saw for themselves what was going on. They then learn a bit about where the Hooded One came from by the rat creatures when they were asked what they knew about the war. The rat creatures then tell of when their race were a content bunch until the locusts came and threatened them into helping the Hooded One. Fone tries to convince the rat creatures it’s possible for them to be happy without following the Hooded One, but then Roque Ja butts in with his own advice, surprising everyone and he deciding they all would return with him back up the mountain, he explaining as they go what the difference is between power and happiness, they then running into Kingdok and the two rat creatures realizing how much trouble they were in whilst the others contemplated whether Kingdok was real this time, settling with the fact he smelled real enough.

Roque Ja then claims to Kingdok he was taking his prisoners to him after Kingdok commands he release them into his custody, then scaring Roque Ja off and Fone debating escape when he and Smiley are grabbed by the two rat creatures, but the Possum kids bite them and give them their chance to flee, they taking it and jumping down a decline. They plan on splitting up at the woods, but Kingdok jumps down to block them, they then trying to get into a depression in the rocks, Roque Ja coming back to body slam Kingdok giving everyone another chance to get to the trees. When everyone gets covered, the orphan kids seperate from the Possum kids, everyone saying their goodbyes with promises to visit, they following the Bones. Smiley then notices Bartleby hadn’t followed them, they returning to the bottom of the mountain expecting to see the rat creatures, but running in to no one until they look higher on the mountain to see the rat creatures carrying Kingdok away with the two traitors following and Bartleby trying to join them, they all going off together and Smiley uncertain whether Bartleby will be alright amongst them, watching him worriedly as they walk away in the opposite direction. This series is getting better as I go, quite captivating. Here‘s the next volume.

Bone Vol. 4: The Dragonslayer

For the third volume. The Dragonslayer starts with the Heavy Metal – Stick-Eater Prologue I reviewed earlier. After, we see how far Fone, Thorn and Gran’ma have gotten from the farm to get to Barrelhaven, which isn’t known other than they’ve been travelling for days off-road so as not to be seen. They go uphill to get a look at the valley, when they reach the top Fone tries to discover if they’ll be staying in the valley once they reach the tavern, Gran’ma Ben not saying and trying to move them along until they’re relatively safe. Then we see what’s happening in the bar, which is some of the locals are sharing personal experiences with unsettling mysteries. One man describes what happened to a man’s wife when she had gone to the woodshed. As the man goes on with the story he declines a drink from Lucius but not one from Smiley. When Smiley puts in the order for more beers and snacks, he also questions Phoney on how he’s actually going to kill the dragons, Phoney revealing he had no intention of following through since the dragons weren’t actually dangerous and to keep it down for a customer walking up.

After getting another sale, Lucius demands to speak with Phoney in private to express he isn’t pleased how he’s using the dragon shtick to sell beer and wants to call the bet off. Phoney reasons Lucius must be jealous of them winning the bet and how funny it is Phoney is the one to be confessing the truth about the dragons whilst Lucius was lying, due to it being the other way around usually. Phoney then comes up with a compromise which doesn’t help Lucius much and walks back out to the bar, leaving Lucius steaming. Then we see Fone and his group walking through the wilderness when Thorn calls out to Gran’ma Ben, noticing she seems odd and she informs them she’s gotten the feeling “of bad things to come”, again. She then urges of they needing to move along quickly since she didn’t know what it was would be coming, but it was big, then we see someone speaking off-panel about Quiche and then we see them surrounded.

Gran’ma Ben tries to get the two to get behind her so they wouldn’t be surrounded. The rat creatures try to convince Gran’ma Ben to give up now and surrender to being made into a Quiche which is when the rat creatures then begin their usual quarrel, Gran’ma Ben trying to take advantage of the situation and failing, but getting the rat creatures to retreat a little ways away. Gran’ma then lets them know the rat creatures arrival isn’t what her “gitchy” feeling is warning them of, since it was still happening and foretold much worse to come, then giving Thorn her sword. Gran’ma Ben then realizes the woods are quiet and they shouldn’t be, so she goes after the rat creatures, capturing one to share with her of what’s going on and as the rat creature was about to spill his guts, Kingdok shows up and throws Gran’ma Ben further into the woods, but then picks her up and we get shown Fone’s perspective, he waking up with a cut on his head and looking for Thorn and Gran’ma Ben, soon calling for the dragon for help. We then go back to Barrelhaven and see Smiley taking a nap and saying Fone’s name before being woken by Phoney, informing him they had a problem of the business slowing down. Smiley suggests a new slogan could help, but Phoney thinks they can’t do better than his current one. Smiley then divulging perhaps the patrons were saving their funds for the summer picnic, which takes Phoney by surprise for not knowing of it and then getting angry Lucius could be trying to keep him from making more money.

Then Smiley hears Phoney yelling again, one of the patrons also hearing it, so Smiley goes off running to help Fone with Phoney trailing behind him. As the Bones run off after Fone, Lucius gets his customers to gather torches so they can follow. The Bones lose Fone since he stopped yelling after they’d gotten into the woods, the townspeople catching up to them now. Lucius doesn’t give up yet, though and gets everyone to scatter around for clues, someone observing blood on the ground. Then we see Kingdok throwing Gran’ma Ben to the ground, then into a tree and before he believes he’s about to make the killing blow, Thorn comes at him with the sword, taking one of his arms. Kingdok is so overcome with pain, he believes he’s seeing Gran’ma Ben and Thorn in their true forms. After, Kingdok screams for the rat creatures who come running and then all retreat deeper into the woods. Gran’ma Ben then comforts Thorn with the words of knowing the rat creatures wouldn’t be coming back anytime soon since it was their way, Fone then detecting them. Thorn notices his cut head, which he speaks of as looking worse than it was, Gran’ma Ben then believing she needs to admit to Thorn the important information of the Lord of the Locusts looking for her and she must keep herself hidden from him no matter what.

We then see the two rat creatures in panic-mode, first believing Kingdok is dead and then trying to stanch his wound, they discussing the fault of the incident being bandied between the two of them and then realizing if Kingdok did die, the Hooded One would torture them. When they realize Kingdok’s wound has stopped bleeding they decide their best course of action is to flee and not return which they immediately begin. We then go back to Thorn trying to inspect Gran’ma Ben’s arm as Fone fools around with the detached appendage on the ground. Gran’ma Ben continues to try and inform Thorn of something she doesn’t know yet whilst she tried to bandage her arm, she confiding Thorn was an “awakened one” and had a rough track ahead of her, she then explaining the details and how the Agents of the Locust will be hunting her, this being the reason they were heading for Atheia, Thorn declining this destination since she was now rebelling against her Gran’ma who tried to convince her what she was revealing was true, but Thorn wasn’t having it and walks off.

Gran’ma Ben then tries to convince Fone to go after her and bring her back, but Fone is having trouble agreeing with Gran’ma Ben now too, she giving Fone her sword and agreeing with the both of them in surrender, ordering Fone instead to get her back to Barrelhaven Tavern safely. Gran’ma Ben makes sure Fone relays the message of what the rat creatures were up to when Fone found Lucius and gave Fone her locket as proof and truth of the information about the Lord of the Locusts. Fone catches up to Thorn and they both head back to the tavern where they run in to a wall with Jonathan guarding it and being told of how he couldn’t let them in since whomever was in charge inside since Lucius hadn’t returned told him anyone outside the walls was a stranger, they then seeing who is giving the orders.

Then we see the Hooded one relaying word from the southern front and how the Lord of the Locusts was in charge of the East once more, he asking of Atheia. He describes the area awaiting the Lord of the Lucusts’ orders and he then informing where the Bones and Thorn were, the Hooded One promising the town’s destruction and the Lord of the Locusts giving voice to his approval of the Hooded One’s service. The Lord of the Locusts then disclosing if they failed to acquire Thorn alive, she must then be destroyed, but the Hooded One being commanded not to give way. The Hooded One then tries to convince the Lord of the Locusts to suffice with his service and he not needing Thorn, hoping to destroy her, but the Lord of the Locusts communicates of needing to keep her powers within his grasp if possible and won’t be forgetting the Hooded One’s loyalty, then going on to stroke the Hooded One’s ego in preference of one day releasing the Lord of the Locusts’ bonds so he could properly reward him. We then go back to Phoney asking the townspeople how long it had been since they’d last seen Lucius, Fone, and Thorn being let into the town. Fone then asks why he keeps hearing people refer to Phoney as the Dragonslayer, Smiley almost letting loose with what had occurred and Phoney shutting him up and escorting them indoors where dinner and drinks awaited them. Thorn decides to rest and Fone goes to dinner with his cousins, but before we join them, we see the Hooded One seeing Thorn in her imagined form as she slept.

When Fone enters his cousins new digs, he’s impressed with its royal touches and immediately asks what the blockade and upgraded lifestyle was all about, Fone displaying his disgust and Phoney defending himself by assuring the townspeople won’t be helped if they’d rather live in fear. Phoney then confesses of he having a plan which will eventually get them out of town and back to Boneville on the upswing of riches, Fone revealing his plans to stay. Phoney then figures the reason for Fone wanting to stay and tries to persuade him to forget about her since she didn’t see him the same way, Fone trying to make him realize he didn’t mean it the way it sounded and was referring to the issues of the rat creatures and problems involving them, leaving the two of them to wonder how they’d get a dragon without Fone’s help.

Fone is shone harrumphing outside about his sensing Phoney trying to get his help with something and of course Fone then having to figure a way to help him out of the issue when he hears something and hoping it’s only a small animal looking for food, when he’s confronted by the creature. He’s then rubbed up against by an iddy rat creature. We then see Thorn in her other form, following her Gran’ma looking like she had in her younger days, motioning toward a tunnel in a mountain. Thorn tries to shout to her not to enter, but then a hooded figure which also turns out to be her Gran’ma instructs her to allow her to proceed, stating she’ll chance upon shelter there, but whilst she tries to convince Thorn to go inside the cave with her, someone is waking Thorn up and we see the hooded Gran’ma get angry because of this. When Thorn is awakened, Fone updates her of their new problem and shows her the iddy rat creature, she not taking this well at all and demanding to get it out of her room or she would kill it.

Jonathan is first to see Lucius return, Phoney then is wakened to give him the news, Phoney ordering the person at his door to let Lucius in and keep him comfortable whilst getting Smiley to round up their militia. Lucius is caught up to what had been going on in the town and Fone gets Smiley’s attention for his help in the stables. Meanwhile Phoney is updating Lucius of how he’d kept up the protection of the town and once revealing where Lucius would now be staying, he not taking it well at all, but being protected by the townspeople so Lucius declines Phoney’s offerings of placement in preference to the barn. We then see Fone showing Smiley the tot rat creature and Smiley noticing how the ears were different and whether he knew any tricks. Smiley tests the iddy rat creature’s ability to listen and is impressed with his first attempt, Fone then noticing someone was coming in and trying to hide the rat creature, Lucius being the visitor and asking Fone of the whereabouts of Thorn and Gran’ma Ben.

Fone reports to him of everything he knows plus what Gran’ma Ben wanted him to relay which Lucius realizes is similar to an attack the rat creatures had implemented before. Fone continues to fret about Kingdok and their danger in the woods, Lucius realizing they needed to get to Thorn. Then we see the townspeople about a fire and how one realized Lucius did have a point in confessing there hadn’t been an invasion of dragons in the town and it had gotten him thinking. They began considering if they were stuck in there with a dragonslayer, they may as well get the slayer to go out and dispose of the dragons so they weren’t trapped indoors. We then see Lucius visiting Thorn and comforting her when she breaks down, Fone and Smiley standing nearby. Meanwhile the rat creatures are being given a speech by the Hooded One about the new laws the Lord of the Locusts has decided upon and ending with the declaration they will take what is theirs.

We then learn anyone who lived outside the village was given accommodations within the walls of the barricade. When Phoney reaches the point of not getting a hearty meal, Wendell informs him of what the townspeople had agreed upon. Phoney comes down hard on the man and reveals he’s aware of their midsummer’s day picnic, informing him to gather what they’ve hoarded and meet him in the center of the compound at dusk, ready to teach them a lesson. Phoney then circles his thoughts back around to where Smiley could have gotten to and still planning his escape from town. He then goes to Lucius to collect tax for the newly placed families, but Phoney uncovers they’ve already taken all of his chickens, putting a back tax on Lucius until the next day. We are then shown Fone swiping some foodstuffs from the kitchen and going to the stables where Smiley is with the iddy rat creature, to Fone’s surprise, discovering Smiley was collecting food for the iddy all day, but the food Fone had brought would be made of good use by Smiley, Fone relaying to him they’re going to have to change the iddy rat creature’s point of venue because of how close it was to Thorn still. Fone comes up with the plan of needing to at least get the cub out of the compound if not all the way to the eastern mountains, he then hearing someone approach and we discovering it to be Thorn. She confides to Fone of knowing the cub is in the barn and came to apologize for her behavior, she then confiding about her dreams becoming stronger and she not having been able to sleep, then confusing Fone with the talks of wanting to go home, but she meaning the farmhouse.

Fone reminds her of it being dangerous still, but she not caring so Fone tries to convince her to come with them to free the cub, but she doesn’t want in on the plan, Fone resorting to trying to get her to at least rationalize her decision before she went through with it. When Fone mentions Gran’ma Ben’s instructions for Thorn to go south to Atheia, Thorn gets irritated about Gran’ma Ben leaving them and Fone admits they don’t actually know what happened so they shouldn’t think about it. Thorn then gives Fone the sword with the intention of he returning the sword to Gran’ma Ben if he thought he’d be seeing her again, Fone declining, but Thorn already leaving. Fone goes out after her and Smiley follows, he noticing all the people gathering into the square.

Fone then sees Thorn head into the tavern, he chasing her and Smiley asking Lucius what everyone was doing, he sensing Phoney was about to make a speech. They soon ascertain Phoney had the intention of getting everyone to gather all their valuables since the hoarding of goods wouldn’t help them keep the dragons away. Lucius steps forward after and Phoney doesn’t spare him in the villagers eyes, going so far as to back him into a corner of silence and making it seem he was doing the bidding of the dragons. After Phoney then speaks of his plans on what they’d be doing with all the loot he ends the meeting and Smiley asks Lucius why he’d lied to everyone about the dragons existence. Fone then comes out to report Thorn locked herself in her room and how he wished Gran’ma Ben would return. Then we observe the Hooded One commanding the masses to destroy the enemies, Kingdok getting his own mission of bringing Thorn and the Bones to him.

We then see Thorn’s shadow in the woods and a letter in her room left for Fone, he being outside and looking for Thorn with Smiley, but they most likely having to get the cub out of the compound without her. They get out no problem, but Smiley keeps going, Fone chasing them now. Phoney is then seen with Jonathan and making sure everything was set for their trek with the treasure the next morning making sure Jonathan would uncover his cousins soon so he could implement his greatest plan, then Ted the bug shows up. At first Phoney doesn’t remember him, but then Ted admits to knowing where his cousins are and not saying since he’d heard Phoney was planning on dragon-extinguishing, Phoney resorting to confiding his plan to Ted so he’d offer him knowledge of where Fone was. Ted imparts the last place he’d seen him and then gives the imparting words of what was in for Phoney if he kept up his crooked ways, Phoney taking his words lightly. When Phoney reaches the barn, he steps on the abandoned sword and hears something still inside, thinking it’s Fone, but no one appearing and when he leaves, the one inside taking the sword.

Thorn is next seen in the woods sleeping and being discovered by a group of hooded figures, she next waking in the woods with the sword next to her and hearing noises, which makes her run and then fall right next to the Red Dragon who greets her. Thorn then realizes she’s dreaming and sees a throne in the distance, she seeing rat creatures and after being too frightened to see what else is there, but peeking to see Gran’ma Ben and possibly someone else, realizing it was Fone and Lucius then deciding she wants to wake up, determining she won’t be going down without a fight anymore and wished to return to her friends. Thorn awakens again and the sword is next to her, she running off and we next seeing the compound again with the townspeople awaiting Phoney to come who arrives after and relates of his cousins not returning the last night. Phoney then goes through with his plan since the people are aware if they wait any longer it will be after nightfall when they reach their destination, Phoney revving them up before getting on their way.

It’s well after nightfall and Phoney is driving them on even though the people nearest him thought they should stop near the bottom of the mountain, but they soon reaching the Dragon’s Stair. He gets the townspeople to set up before they leave him and whilst they’re setting up the first part of their trap, Ted shows up asking if Phoney was planning on leaving his cousins, he stating how they’d left him and then revealing how he was planning on leaving the town as planned with the treasure, Ted deciding to help get Phoney out of the valley, but then the townspeople come to him with the news they’d caught a dragon and sure enough, the red dragon is hog-tied in the trap to Phoney’s surprise. When Phoney approaches the dragon, asking how he could’ve gotten trapped, he determines the dragon was there to help him with the plan. Soon the men have moved in to tie the dragon a little more snugly including his mouth so he couldn’t breathe fire, Phoney trying to get them away from the dragon.

The townspeople were done waiting, though and make Phoney aware he’s at the end of his stalling, especially since the sun was now dawning. They threaten Phoney with being a part of the sacrifice if he didn’t complete the task, he ready and shielding his eyes when Thorn stops him. She then asks what mess he’s gotten himself into when they notice a fire coming from their town. The townspeople are close to hysteria, wanting the dragon to be killed and Thorn continues to try and get them to realize the dragons aren’t the trouble but the rat creatures who have started the fire and they needing to release the dragon. Although when the townspeople next insist upon the dragon’s death, they are supported by the rat creatures saying if the townspeople wouldn’t, they would which then brings the panic around to their presence. Thorn is ready to defend the dragon when the hooded figures come from behind her and fight off the rat creatures, Thorn unbinding the dragon, who promptly uses his flame to bathe the rat creatures which successfully makes them retreat. Thorn tries to ask where Fone and her Gran’ma are, but the dragon takes only enough time to let her know if she’s in trouble, where she can find the dragons and takes off, she then asking Phoney where Fone is, but he also not knowing, of course. When she learns Lucius is back in town she tries to get the townspeople to arm themselves with anything they have and they being in shock they’re actually at war.

Which ends this volume and setting up the upcoming awesomeness; I’m excited to continue with what comes next.

Bone Vol. 3: Eye of the Storm

For the second volume. This one begins with Fone reenacting a scene from Moby Dick, which is overseen by Miz ‘Possum who is bewildered by the display. Fone stops reading, even though Miz ‘Possum was curious to hear more, but she had stopped by to check up on everyone. They apprise her where they’d been sleeping whilst the roof is getting fixed and then she enquires about Phoney Bone and how he’s being handled since his little cow race mischief. Miz ‘Possum leaves after to get back to her kids and Fone Bone learns Thorn is up for watch duty, offering to sit up with her, but she doesn’t mind the alone time for being free of the dreams she’s been having. On the walk back they run into Smiley and he shares Phoney’s new plan of raising enough goods to get them out of debt and back home, seeing what he had in mind set Thorn’s belief Phoney’s adjusted to his new life well, back into perspective.

Then it’s night and we see some rat creatures are paranoid of someone nearby, especially the one which hasn’t been checking for four days. Once he confirms there’s no one about they settle with the thought Kingdok won’t detect them. Then one hears something again and requests the other to look, realizing Kingdok has only then found them. Kingdok isn’t going to kill them though, but has brought them a bag of rabbits, giving them words of encouragement and leaving, to their extreme relief. Then we see the farm-house and Thorn has drifted off, having another dream. First she’s quite young and practicing the flute, then she’s older and a hooded figure asks her to approach, when the hood is slid up, it’s Fone, which is when she wakes and tries to speak with Fone who’s dreaming, quite asleep.

We then see what Fone’s dreaming of, being a Moby Dick inspired one, with he and Phoney chasing the white whale, which turns out to be Smiley. Phoney still tries to catch him, though and in so doing, Fone goes overboard, but before, noticing a coffin on the ship, which had gone overboard with him. As he climbs atop the coffin, he sees the Red Dragon cresting a wave and then Fone wakes up to discover it’s late in the day and no one is inside. When he looks around outside, there isn’t anyone about out there, but Ted who makes small talk about Fone’s terrible love poetry, who then relates what the group is up to and realizing it’s break time, Fone decides to work on the new poem he’s been writing for Thorn. As he’s making headway on the poem, Thorn walks up asking about what he’s up to and after playing it off, she inquires as to whether he remembered what he’d dreamed of.

After Fone imparts what he remembers, she lets him know she’d had a dream with him, but possibly not him in it as well, making him bashful and picking her flowers, but she having left already and the Red Dragon walking up after, plays it like they’re for him, unbeknownst to Fone, but once he turning around and realizing who he’s now talking to, confides his dream, which the dragon is unsurprised to hear about, revealing they’d both had an “intruder” in their dreams and leaving him. Fone is irritated by the dragon’s parting nickname and goes back to writing his poem when Smiley and Phoney walk up and Phoney decides to intrude on what Fone’s been writing. Phoney then makes sure to differentiate how Fone’s been acting to how they’ve been acting toward Gran’ma Ben and Thorn to how he’s been offering his time like a slave, but upon hearing the “dinner” bell, go off running to the house, but to be disappointed when the bell Gran’ma Ben had rung was for them to make the dinner, not eat it. Once they realize they’ve got to kill some chickens and prepare them for cooking though, they begin to look quite shocked and dizzy at the task.

After, Lucius wakes up the boys to do some work for him since it’s his turn to make use of their manual labor, to all of their, especially Phoney Bone’s loud bemoaning. Fone soon determines he can either choose to stay with Gran’ma Ben and Thorn or go with his cousins, he of course opting to stick around with Thorn; and Gran’ma Ben, of course. So whilst the boys and Lucius get on their way to Barrelhaven, Thorn and Fone start on some chores and a project Thorn wanted to begin. Meanwhile on the road, Smiley tries to get Lucius to open up on his personal life, finally getting him to speak about an almost fiancée which didn’t become anything more. Then Lucius realizes someone is following them so they make precautions by lightning the cart and making Smiley ride the cow in case they had to make a quick escape. As Lucius and the boys are wary of the mysterious follower, Thorn is scaring bone with the back story behind ghost circles before the storm hits, they retreating to the barn. When they get comfortable in the barn, Thorn instigates conversation about the dreams they’ve been having. As this is happening Lucius and the Bones path is blocked by a falling tree and Smiley makes them realize the rat creatures are following and getting closer. Lucius asks them what they’ve come for and they ask for the star-chested Bone, Lucius then yelling for Smiley to go and get help from the town, but he having his own plan which gives them an action-packed diversion, ending with them going straight over a cliff.

They land safely, but quite a bit more wetly, since they’ve now been reached by the storm. We then skip back to Fone confessing to Thorn of his dream and the Dragon’s response which seemed odd, since he hadn’t told him the details of his dream involving him. They continue to figure out the meaning of both their dreams and Fone lands on how Gran’ma Ben is the one whom seems to know the most, before she interrupts them. She doesn’t say a word, though, giving the air of being straightforwardly mad. Fone then decides they should go after her to expose what she knows, Thorn shocked by the whole experience. After Fone goes out of the barn, Thorn recovers and shows him she’d headed into the woods, Fone becoming certain they’d get lost and should turn back for it being too dark, but Thorn believes she can follow and they soon see Gran’ma Ben up ahead of them. They confront her, with she not divulging any answers other than they should get back to the barn, but they both stand firm in learning more. Gran’ma Ben seemed to be going after the Dragon since he had made an oath not to invade Thorn’s dreams somehow and Gran’ma Ben is continuing to try and get the both of them to return to the barn when a loud crack brings the rat creatures coming towards them to Gran’ma Ben’s attention.

Then we follow Phoney and Co. walking in the woods, Smiley shouting cowboy phrases as they go, for some reason and Phoney promising idle threats as Smiley asks the usual question reserved for children on long road trips. Soon Smiley’s pointing the finger back at Phoney for feeling he’s so smart and reminding him his smarts didn’t do much for him at the cow race. Phoney soon has Lucius defending his business acumen, as well when Lucius notifies him of how he’ll be looking forward to working him like a horse through the summer and soon after Lucius is baiting Phoney to bet he wouldn’t be able to run his bar better than he can; the stakes being higher than before. They reach the bar after they make their bet and some customers are waiting inside when go in, some still ready to give Phoney a beating for rigging the race. Lucius steps in to remind them the bets had already been settled for them and they’re going to have to get used to the Bones being there for having to work there for a while, trying to ease the tension with a round of beers for them on the house also informing the Bone’s they’re going to have to win the customers over if he’s going to win their bet.

Then we see Thorn, Gran’ma Ben and Fone making their way down a steep decline, with Gran’ma Ben motioning for quiet. They climb a ways down and then Gran’ma Ben instructs Bone to have a look around behind some trees. Gran’ma Ben knows the rat creatures probably know where they are at the moment and is still mad at them for following her, but they both try to remind her they were only worried she’d pick a fight with the dragon. They continue to argue until Gran’ma Ben believes she hears the rat creature nearby and gets everyone to crouch. Gran’ma Ben sees one rat creature and warns them to stay back and hidden whilst she approaches, believing the one to be a scout. Fone then thinks he hears a noise Thorn doesn’t hear at all, thinking they should follow or do something at all, Fone only deciding to stare in the direction Gran’ma Ben had gone. They watch and agree to go after her in five seconds if she doesn’t return, but they don’t have to go anywhere since she comes back to update them of there being many rat creatures about the area and how they won’t be able to get back to the farm and they will have to run from them.

When Fone enquires what the scream was he’d heard, Gran’ma Ben says she’d disposed of the scouting rat creature and they should leave before any others noticed. They start climbing and Bone sees a rat creature chasing them, another getting closer to Thorn and Gran’ma Ben punching it in the face, grabbing all and running full tilt with Bone shouting for the dragon before Gran’ma Ben covers his mouth and they are hunkered down under a tree. When lightning strikes, we see rat creatures everywhere behind the tree in the open area. Then as a rat creature gets near them, Fone sees the dragon and the rat creatures disappearing, Fone apprising Gran’ma Ben of what happens. Gran’ma Ben then looks like she might do something about the dragon’s presence, but then warns Bone the dragon may not be there when he calls, he not coming when she’d needed at one point. As they begin their trek back, Fone mentions to Thorn they should show the map they’d discovered to Gran’ma Ben, ending the chapter; these issues only get better as I go.

Gran’ma Ben is mending the fence near their home as we watch from the rat creature’s perspective, they trying to listen to what’s being said. Fone and Thorn are about to confess to Gran’ma Ben about what’s on their minds when she interrupts by letting Fone know she owes Fone an apology for how she’d been acting towards him. After she regards her bad behavior Thorn brings up what they’d been wanting to show her. First he accidentally shows her a poem and then gets to the real thing they wanted to show her, being the map. Thorn admits she drew it after Gran’ma noticed it’s simplistic sketch-style, hushing her due to the forest’s many ears. We then see two rat creatures looking out from a dark area of the forest, one sending the other away. Meanwhile Gran’ma gets them back to the farmhouse and indoors. Once inside Gran’ma Ben asks Bone where he’d found the map and after mentioning how they were chased away by locusts, Gran’ma talks to herself which makes Thorn protest her not divulging everything to them. After sending Fone to get her water, Gran’ma Ben considers where to begin, Thorn suggesting they start with her dreams. Gran’ma Ben proceeds to relate leaving Thorn with the dragons to detect a safe place where no one knew them and the latter gets upset for being deceived as the former tries to justify what she’d done.

Gran’ma Ben goes on to explain why they had been at war with the rat creatures the first time and how there had been disagreement to those who had taken over the valley, ending with the rat creatures retreat, Fone then asking why it was necessary to hide Thorn, then revealing her ancestry. Thorn is then spurred by Fone to mention the dream she’d had of being handed over to the dragons. Gran’ma Ben fills in the blanks which young Thorn couldn’t remember even in her dream, like who was among the hooded figures and what had happened after they’d been attacked. After sharing the tale, Gran’ma Ben reveals if the locusts are back, then war will soon follow and she hadn’t done her duty which was to protect Thorn. We then follow the rat creatures as they gather their ranks, one huge one, Kingdok speaking to the Hooded One of Thorn’s true station in life, the Hooded One expressing of already being privy to this information and how Kingdok isn’t doing his job as leader of the rat creatures as well as he believed, the Hooded One leaving him there to enter the swarm of locusts which appear in the sky and dropping him onto a bridge then entering a cave tunnel to speak with another creature of unknown appearance, but turning out to be the Lord of Locust. The Hooded One asks what he should do about the “star-chested one”, he now being told to wait their instruction, the Hooded One believing they should prepare against the Red Dragon, but the Lord of Locust ends their conversation, also ending the chapter.

Next we see Lucius is getting the attention of the patrons in the bar, stating of a contest and knowing everyone had a grudge against the Bones, but needing everyone to stay civil since they still had to work off what they owed Lucius, who also kept them in check as to how much blame they should take on themselves as well as the Bones. Lucius then gets into the details of the contest which involves Phoney up against Lucius in who can run the bar better, making a red line to divide the bar and letting the patrons decide who wins. When the contest starts, Lucius is obviously favored, which gets Smiley questioning how they’ll win, coming up with some wild ideas, making Phoney realize their terrible fate. Meanwhile, Thorn is still coming to terms with the truth of her dreams. Fone tries to get Thorn to remember what happens once she’s with the dragons which she still can’t see clearly. Fone asks if Gran’ma Ben has anyone to help protect them, she thinking not since the Lord of the Locust is back. Soon after Thorn leaves them to lie down in the barn, Fone making sure she’s alright and leaving her to rest. Then we see what kind of plan the Bones have come up with at the bar. Phoney realizes the futility of the plan and goes over to Lucius to see if he can figure out why they’re all over there, other than for the obvious reason, when he gets over there though, he begins to see everyone going over to their side of the bar, Lucius now wondering what’s going on. When Phoney figures out what Smiley had done and stops him, it angers the patrons again and they’re ready to beat Phoney up again. Smiley then wishes loudly for Fone’s dragon to help them, getting one of the patron’s to confirm his words.

We then see the patron insisting on knowing what Smiley had meant, he repeating himself and everyone surprised Fone would have a dragon in his power. They start to ask too many questions after and Lucius puts a stop to it. The townsfolk don’t give up easily though, so Phoney has to stick up for his cousins by spouting their “dragon problems” are theirs alone and nothing to do with he and his cousins. Then Jonathan, a young man is told to convey what he’d seen in the forest since Lucius was unwilling to let any of them off the hook for even believing dragons existed. Phoney then fans the flame of their fears by considering if there’s one dragon about, there must be more. After the townspeople work themselves up to take action, they ask Phoney what they should do, he figuring they need to hire a dragon exterminator and they in luck since he was exactly what they needed. Then to rub in what Phoney had cooking up, he imparts to Lucius after he asked him what he had up his sleeve and how this would be how he’d win their bet, Phoney hints to everyone they needed something to whet their whistles before getting down to business, the first round would be on the house and after everyone would have to get their own tabs, all the patrons going along with Phoney’s clever ruse.

Lucius is about to put a stop to it when a hooded figure walks through the door, he noticing a medallion around his neck. Lucius approaches the man and asks him if he required lodgings for the night, the man confiding in him he had news from the south and Lucius replying for him to wait outside. Then we see how Fone is doing, Ted asking how he was and then sharing with him how he’d been to see Lucius and his cousins and how they were up to the usual mischief then asking what was going on with Thorn and Gran’ma Ben, Fone letting him in on some vague details, but Ted surprising him by filling in the blanks, he then going on to inquire where Gran’ma Ben was for having an important message to deliver, then going off to the house to speak with her. Fone is next called on by Gran’ma Ben herself to get his knapsack and meet her in the barn. We see Gran’ma Ben relating to Thorn to get up for receiving news the action had changed in the south and they’d have to leave because a large number of rat creatures would be heading their way. Gran’ma Ben goes back into the house to get their food supply and a cloak for Thorn, revealing to them how to uncover a secret door under the straw Thorn was lying on and to get the trunk within. When Gran’ma Ben asks for Bone’s knapsack after opening the trunk and puts in a concealed object, advising him to keep good care of it. She then straps on her old sword, handing the shield to Fone, then making sure everyone was ready to go before heading out the door, ending the book. I’m looking forward to the next installment.

Heavy Metal – Stick-Eater Prologue

The prologue starts with Smiley serving a hooded figure, but is stopped by Mr. Down, covering the pipe-smoking hooded guy’s tab, Smiley heading back to the kitchen. Then someone scoffs at Mr. Down’s display, accusing the hooded figure of working with the dragons. Wendell, the one doing the complaining, is asked by Lucius if he’s got a problem with whom he sells beer to, he, not making a fuss anymore, but saying to himself he’ll be buying from Smiley from now on, which is more humorous since they’ve got a bet going between them as to who will sell the most beer between, Smiley and Lucius.

Bone Sourcebook

The Bone Sourcebook I decided to check out since I was near the start of the series and it probably wouldn’t hurt to get an idea about the characters involved. For instance, discovering the dinosaur in the first appearance issue is actually a reoccurring character which was a dragon whom tends to save Bone from trouble, but not always. Phoney Bone meanwhile is being targeted by a dark force and has the ability to come up with terribly chaotic-inducing scams. Fone Bone, (which I had already figured out from the start), has a major crush on Thorn, to which she doesn’t realize and he can’t seem to profess to her, but has the ability to keep his head in difficult situations and is there to bail Phoney Bone out of whatever trouble he may get into. Smiley Bone is down for any terrible scheme and likes to dress up in costumes with big heads. Mr. Down has a tavern in Barrelhaven, which Phoney continues to try and commandeer, but having his plans foiled by Mr. Down, he also having a romantic interest in Grandma Ben.

We also get descriptions of Ted the bug, (which I didn’t realize had a large part in this series and one of Grand’ma Ben) of course and her ability to run faster than the fastest cow and a strength which belies her size. The Hooded One, who has a indecipherable interest in Phoney Bone doesn’t have many facts known of him, other than he being not the highest in power, being claimed by Lord of Locusts. It continues to describe the Bone’s enemies, including Kingdok and his rat creatures. Then we are given a timeline of the story so far, which one should wait on unless they’ve read at least up to Lonesome Road. After which we get a blurb of Jeff Smith, telling us he’d come up with his Bone characters as a kindergartner even though he hadn’t started to draw them up to four years before the release of this source book. We learn what had inspired him most when he discovered he wanted to be a cartoonist, also at an early age. This is a nice summarization if one needs to get familiarized with the story and characters, but then there’s also the Bone Handbook, which goes into greater detail. Now I’ll be getting back into the swing of Bone.