Bone: Rose

bone rose cover trade paperback tpb scholastic
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Art: 9/10

Great art, good origin story

More adult than some of the other Bone volumes

Comic Info

Comic Name: Rose

Publisher: Scholastic

Writer: Jeff Smith

Artist: Charles Vess

# of Issues: 3

Release Date: 2009

rose #2 cover review bone charles vess

Rose #2

Reprints Rose #1-3 (January 2000-February 2002).  Rose and her sister Briar are the future of the Valley.  While Rose is impulsive, her Dreaming Eye is wide open, but Briar’s Dreaming Eye appears to be sealed shut.  When the threat of the Lord of the Locust begins to rise again, fears of a secret emancipator who has the power to free the Lord of the Locust begin to spread.  Rose’s dreams of a dragon lead to disaster, and Rose is ready to prove her innocence…but innocence could come at a great cost.

Written by Jeff Smith, Bone:  Rose is a prequel to the Jeff Smith critically acclaimed series Bone.  Originally published by Cartoon Books, it was recollected by Scholastic under their Graphix imprint.  The story features art by Charles Vess.

I was pretty deep into Bone when Rose started to be released.  I opted out of buying Rose, and the slow release schedule helped solidify that decision.  With Jeff Smith keeping a rather proprietary control over Bone, it seemed odd that an important “origin story” wouldn’t be presented by Smith…but that doesn’t mean changing up the format of Bone was a mistake.

The story presents essentially what is Gran’ma Ben’s tale.  The story of Rose and Briar was touched upon throughout the Bone series, but this provides a more solid and concrete telling of the events that came before Bone.  Here, more of the relationship between the sisters is explored and a slight explanation of how Briar was tempted to the “dark side” of the Lord of Locusts.

rose #3 cover charles vess art

Rose #3

Unlike a lot of the Bone series, the story is more adult.  While there is nothing too adult, the tone of the story might be darker than some of the readers of the books might expect (at least those who haven’t gotten to the last few collections).  With that in mind, I don’t know that this volume has as much broad appeal for some readers.

Jeff Smith’s art is distinctive but so is Charles Vess’s.  The art is rich and textured.  Vess manages to give a more “real world” feel to the characters, but it is also interesting to see how he co-ops Smith’s work for the series (a prime example would be the Red Dragon).  I would love to have seen some of Vess’s designs for the Bone cousins and other characters from the Bone series proper just to see how he’d paint them.

Bone:  Rose is a worthy addition to the Bone story and worth seeking out if you didn’t read along with Bone when it was published.  The series is both like a classic Bone tale but it also feels different from a classic Bone story which is part of its appeal.  Reading Bone:  Rose makes you wonder what other artists would do with Bone…and has me wishing that Smith might put out a big Bone story which brings in multiple artists and styles to tell it.

Related Links:

Bone 1:  Out from Boneville

Bone 2:  The Great Cow Race

Bone 3:  Eyes of the Storm

Bone 4:  The Dragonslayer

Bone:  Tall Tales

Bone:  Quest for the Spark—Book 1

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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