“Old Man’s Cave”

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BONE 25th ANNIVERSARY REVIEW: “Old Man’s Cave” is a collection of six comics written and illustrated by Jeff Smith (Rasl, Tüki: Save the Humans) and published on July 1st, 1999. This colored version was published in 2007 by Scholastic, with the colorist being Steve Hamaker. Thorn and the citizens of Barrelhaven are found picking up the pieces after the rat creatures’ attack on the village, while Fone Bone and Smiley regroup with them. Elsewhere, the Hooded One’s plan for Phoney Bone is revealed and the Lord of the Locusts is slowly coming back.

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Yet another shorter graphic novel, “Old Man’s Cave” throws us right back into the thick of things where “The Dragonslayer” concluded. I was itching to get into this novel as I wanted to get back into the action. Fone Bone and Smiley’s adventure was entertaining, but what is going on in Barrelhaven and with the townsfolk is more important. Surprises are unveiled in this work, from who the Hooded One actually is to why Phoney Bone is a chosen one. On top of that, chaos strikes towards the finish of this book, and it is only a matter of time until the real war begins. The biggest reason why I enjoyed “Old Man’s Cave” is simply because of its many reveals. I don’t mind it when a story asks the viewer (or, in this case, reader) questions, but it is always a treat to receive answers. Although I know the whole story, being as how I’ve read all of this before, I know that if I read this for the first time I would be thrilled and shocked. The best part, to me, of this novel would have to be the culmination of the sacrifice scene towards the very end of the book. I won’t spoil anything, but it definitely foreshadows what is to come as well as provide a sticky situation for our characters to get out of come time the next installment. In its entirety, I would say that this is another solid piece from Jeff Smith. His artwork is still terrific, as well as the coloring from Steve Hamaker. It’s difficult to talk about how great the artwork is when you’ve already covered the same bases in earlier reviews. I wish Smith could do more work, but I would choose quality over quantity any day. This is exemplified in his character development, as you can feel the struggle Thorn is having in this book. It was one of his better character situations and it paid off nicely. In reading this book, I did feel a bit anxious to put it down, but that was mainly because I was preoccupied with many other things on my mind, making it difficult to take pure enjoyment out of the read. I wouldn’t rank this book as the highest in the series, but it is surely a great read either way. FINAL SCORE: 89%= Juicy Popcorn

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