BONE 25th ANNIVERSARY REVIEW: “Eyes of the Storm” is a collection of eight comics written and drawn by Jeff Smith (Rasl, Shazam!: The Monster Society of Evil) and published in 1996. This colored version was published in 2005 by Scholastic, with the colorist being Steve Hamaker. As a deadly storm approaches, even more dangerous creatures lurk in the shadows. Grandma Ben, Fone Bone, and Thorn will have to traverse through the woods in a heated battle against the rat creatures, while Lucius, Smiley, and Phoney run into the same trouble.
“Eyes of the Storm” seems to be a pivotal graphic novel of the series. Not only do we learn of the secrets Grandma Ben is hiding from Thorn and Fone Bone, but their embarkment from home commences, symbolizing how nothing will be the same again (and to think this is only the third book out of nine). Honestly, besides the first, second, fifth, and ninth books, I hardly remember any details about this graphic novel series, and that realization comes suddenly as I read this third installment. It was actually pleasant to not remember because of how it made me feel like I was discovering this series all over again. Sure, I know the endgame to it all, but it’s always nice to see the progression once more after taking in the big picture. “Eyes of the Storm” is yet another terrific piece to read. There is a ton of meat to eat up in the dialogue as, like I said, progress is being made to keep the wheels turning in this huge story. Even when we are away from the importance of Thorn and Fone Bone’s conflict with Grandma Ben, we are thrusted into an entertaining adventure with Lucius, Smiley, and Phoney, from their encounter with the rat creatures to Phoney and Lucius’ risky bet. There’s a ton to offer, and I loved how long this graphic novel was. I will admit that there were moments that felt slow in the storyline, that were mainly used solely for comedy, but overall everything shaped up nicely. Symbolism was a heavy factor in this book, with a mixture of dreams and the storm contributing to a sense of eeriness and danger to come. I enjoyed Smith’s use of dream sequences in this, as he now has incorporated Fone Bone’s Moby Dick dream into the pot. It was interesting and challenging to make sense of. Thorn’s is as good as it gets, giving us enough information where we are learning more, yet we are still shrouded in darkness. It is at the climax of this book where Grandma Ben explains everything and sets events into motion. In this read, we also get a glimpse at the Hooded One’s operations, and it’s dealings with the Lord of the Locusts. I completely forgot about this foe, and I must say that Smith couldn’t have crafted a more chilling, unknown villain. It will be interesting to read the unraveling of this foe, and figuring out the backstory to it. Moving along to the artwork, there isn’t much else I can say that I haven’t before. Jeff Smith is a master, however there is one thing I must talk about that he did exceptionally well on: the sequences involving the storm. Once the day fell to night and lightning lit up the sky, his skill was put to the test, and he did a fantastic job. I studied the panels where lightning was used to cast a certain light along the landscapes because of how realistic and beautiful it looked. It also worked well with the story when Grandma Ben, Fone Bone, and Thorn were trying to see if they were being followed. Light was used as a device to reveal figures, and I think that was my favorite part about this book, besides the unfolding of more information of Grandma Ben’s past and who Thorn really is. Compared to the previous books, this one focuses more on its story than getting us settled into the surroundings. We have grown accustomed to these characters at this point, so it is only necessary for the story to get a move on. The length of this book can cause a few filler issues, but it isn’t a big deal. Like I said, I enjoyed reading a bigger book, and the size of these varies throughout the course of the series (the ninth being the biggest of the bunch). Overall, “Eyes of the Storm” is another solid read that builds on the story, taking a big bite out of what Jeff Smith is planning for the rest of the series to become. I think it is the best one so far. FINAL SCORE: 93%= Juicy Popcorn