The second installment of the Bone series finds all of the Bones, Thorn, Gran’ma Ben, and Lucius back in town to get ready for the titular Great Cow Race. Fone Bone is incredibly happy that he gets time with Thorn, until she says she’s in the market for honey…and a cute boy. It’s heartbreaking to see Fone Bone’s cartoon heart bubble actually break and therein is part of the magic of Jeff Smith’s characters, drawing, and writing. I just love these characters, even the ones love to hate, like Phoney Bone…
…Who is up to his usual tricks in this book, trying to fix the results of the Great Cow Race so he can walk off with all the winnings. He works pretty damn hard to get the townspeople to think that Gran’ma Ben is past her prime so people won’t bet on her but instead on the mysterious mystery cow (PSmiley Bone in a comically terrible cow costume). This way, when HE bets on her, he gets all the winnings. He wants Lucius to get in on the action by betting his bar so Phoney can win that, too, but the joke is on him when Lucius gets wind of what’s going on but does bet his bar…on Gran’ma Ben. (Phoney’s jaw hitting the counter of his makeshift bet booth is fantastic!)
Meanwhile, we’re learning more about Thorn’s dreams and that they’re more than likely based on the past. Also, that when she was a little girl, she drew the map the Bones found. With one of my favorite lines in the series so far (“Hello, small mammal.”), the rat creatures find Fone Bone writing “poetries” to Thorn and move to capture him. Fone Bone runs, and in the process, more rat creatures join in the chase and eventually the cows and the rats make one huge mammal melange of chaos. Through all the adversity, guess who wins the race? Gran’ma Ben, bitches!
All in all, it was an enjoyable installment in the Bone series and I heartily recommend it to anyone looking for a solid story, excellent art, and a good dose of humor throughout. Well, you know, anyone who hasn’t read it yet.