Unfortunately, this volume spends a LOT of time with Phoney Bone, which seems to grind things to a halt. Whenever it focuses on other characters and storylines, it’s interesting and the tension builds. Yet, the story keeps coming back to Phoney’s latest stupid plan.
The Phoney stuff is definitely the series’s weakest element. Jeff Smith uses it to explore the fickle nature of the crowd, how the mob can turn on a dime and be dangerously foolish. OK. But it sorta feels like he belabors the point to the detriment of the overall story. Phoney is so relentlessly one-note he’s become a bore.
The ongoing story, what there is of it, is much more interesting. Evil is on the move and things are looking grim. I still don’t quite understand why Gran’ma Ben won’t just come out with explanations…but there it is.
I’m enjoying this series, but it’s not perfect. I really can’t get past the Phoney Bone stuff. Unless he turns out to be a really interesting and integral element of the finale…and even if he does…his whole part of this series feels like a big misstep. Comic relief that’s given too much time and doesn’t serve as relief, comic or otherwise.