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posted December 21, 2005
Cartoon Books, $2.95
#29 continues in the high fantasy veins of recent issues of the title, with liberal doses of Smith's signature, broad-based humor thrown in. This issue of the title is its usual well-crafted self; I even noticed in an opening sequence with the three possums and a new raccoon character how well Smith draws his little cartoon arms.
Two things jumped out at me about the more serious portions of the narrative. The issue features the Roque Ja character (a talking lion creature), which falls into the tradition in fantasy storyteller of the "unique outsider," a character mostly ambivalent to the good vs. evil of the main storyline who either acts as an unique commentary on the nature of the forces involved (Tolkein's Tom Bombadil) or upon whose choice between the sides hinges a good deal of the story's thematic point (George Lucas's Han Solo). It's hardly new, but Smith does a nice job using him to enlighten the Bones on the context of their struggles. Roque Ja also moves differently than the other characters, letting Smith play at depicting his feline grace; a difference which plays against the disappointment of a new character being another large, talking animal.
This issue also includes a great deal of Bone
back material, including a convention season photo-log and a wagged finger at the print Journal
This review was written in the late 1990s as part of a then-ongoing freelance gig; I apologize if it reads oddly or seems incomplete.