Smiley, Fone and Phoncible B. comprise the Bone cousins of Boneville. We meet them shortly after they find themselves in a seeming wasteland, following their rather hurried expulsion from said Boneville. In time, they find their way to a beautiful valley populated by a wide assortment of living things: rat creatures, dragons, an old woman that races cows and a beautiful peasant girl.
Initially, the plan is to lie low for a few weeks, then head back home. That idea is nixed with the first snowfall, and the cousins do their best (each in his own way) to find a place in this new land until spring.
Thus begins the 1,332-page edition (published in 2005) of the entire nine-volume series of Bone comic books, originally published from 1995 through 2002. It is part adventure, part fantasy and part social commentary all delivered in clean-lined black and white drawings. The character and plot continuity is tremendous, especially considering the original seven-year publication span.
At first, the sheer length (and weight) of the work seems daunting, but it is so well written that one quickly wishes it were actually longer. The characters are fully developed with individual traits, the conflicts are believable and the story progresses evenly to an exciting climax. Compared with other comic book anthologies, this one easily rises to the top in pretty much every category.
Rating: None. A clean and enjoyable reading experience.