Thursday, October 23, 2014

Book Review: Bone Vol. 5 Rock Jaw Master of the Eastern Border by Jeff Smith

Bone Volume 5 Rock Jaw, Master of the Eastern Border by Jeff Smith

Fone Bone and Smiley Bone are on a mission to return a rat creature cub to its mountain home. Smiley has developed a lot of affection for the cub, even naming him Bartleby. Fone is more serious about the task--the rat creatures are the enemy and they need to get rid of the cub. They take him to the mountains on the eastern border of the valley where they run into a giant mountain lion who calls himself "Roque Ja." The Bones pronounce it "Rock Jaw," which is a bit annoying to the lion. Rock Jaw tells them they need to choose sides--either the old cow woman (Gran'ma Ben) with the dragons or the rat creatures who serve the "Hooded One," a mysterious figure who really works for the Lord of Locusts. The Bones are unclear which side the lion is on, since he disdains both the dragons and the rat creatures. Rock Jaw claims there is neither good nor evil in the world, only power, which is the only thing worth having. His actions put him on the side of the rats (which to the Bones is the same as being on the side of evil), so they come into conflict pretty quickly. Luckily, the three baby possums from the second issue of Bone come to the rescue. I know that sounds ridiculous but it works amazingly well. Unluckily, Kingdok, leader of the rat creatures, comes to the not-rescue. His fate doesn't work out so well.

This issue has a surprising depth to it. In addition to the theme of whether the rat cub is evil or not just based on being a rat cub, a whole new theme of moral relativity is opened by Rock Jaw. The Bones aren't interested in his position and claim they are on the side of the valley-dwelling humans, a position that Rock Jaw scoffs at. Since the author named this volume "Rock Jaw" and not "Roque Ja," I imagine he definitely sides with the Bones. I enjoyed engaging with deeper issues in this volume.

This is another great book in a great series. Highly recommended!

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