Writer and Artist: Jeff Smith
The story picks up with Fone and Smiley Bone venturing off to return their new friend, an orphaned baby rat creature, to the wild. The critter has a name now: Bartleby, one of the frequent homages to Melville in Bone. Rock Jaw is the mountain lion whose territory they must traverse.
Bone makes excellent use of the serialized narrative format, always leaving the reader curious about unanswered questions. Recently, Drama Guy and I have been talking about cliffhangers in regards to The Walking Dead - he knows the TV show, I know the comic books. He doesn't like the cliffhangers. It occurs to me that most television programs don't make much use of serialization. Most episodes are one-shot deals. There are exceptions, of course. The Battlestar Galactica reboot was serialized, as are daytime soaps. For comic books, I'm okay with an issue being a complete, independent story but I still want to be left curious about the next issue. Otherwise, why bother reading it?
One of the best ways Bone keeps the reader going from one issue to the next is the presence of morally ambiguous characters. Both Bartleby and Rock Jaw are wonderfully nuanced. One knows intuitively they have roles to play in the tale to come, but how?