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Boneyard Vol. 4

By Zak Edwards
June 17, 2010 - 17:47

Richard Moore’s take on the tropes of the horror genre continues into its fourth volume in this collection, a series which seems to only get better as it goes along.  What started out as a fairly generic, if not genuine and still enjoyable, series has grown and matured into something with depth and complexity while not sacrificing the humour the series rides upon.  This volume continues this trend in terms of both character background and development, as well as giving the great supporting cast a time to shine and really share their voices.  Overall, Boneyard continues to be a rewarding series while not losing focus of both in essence and what the series is trying to accomplish.  However, this volume in particular has a certain similarity to the concept of May sweeps, the time when television shows attempt to drum up viewers using cheap tactics.  While Moore doesn’t result in any grossly cheap tactics, many elements of this series is trying to add become forced, and the volume suffers because of this.

While there are a few examples of this throughout the volume, the best would have to be the Nessie origin story which occurs about two thirds into the story.  Nessie, the nymphomaniac swamp monster, is bitten by a zombie and subsequently launches into an extremely awkward scene in both set-up and execution, developing into something much more interesting and wonderful as it moves along.  The depth of the series, a project continued from the last volume, comes through in even greater ways, but is both poorly executed and jarring.  The scene depends on the the fact that, apparently, the bite of a zombie causes the following symptoms in the Boneyard universe: fever, hallucinations, and random truthful origin stories.  Nessie’s story even begins in a very familiar vein, including the betrayal of a first love and a stint in a circus, but soon evolves in a very short time into something with considerable more substance, much like the series itself.  Unfortunately, the entire scenario feels very forced, as if Moore was aware of this sort of origin story being praised by readers and therefore throws it in to appease them and (hopefully) drive up sales.  However, the tactic is saved only in the final moments.

This is not to say the entire volume is bad, simply a few scenes.  In fact, this volume is loaded with plenty of humour and action, as well as some time being given to the supporting cast to shine and share their own voices.  Even Glump, the demon constantly attempting to use crazy schemes to get worshipped by humanity, is given a greater role, with his latest scheme, a Doomsday Frog, being incorporated into the main plot as a sort of Red Herring.  This works well, with the subplot being more interwoven into the main plot in a sitcom style this series takes on.  Similarly, the werewolf Ralph gets screen time and a potential love interest.  While Ralph has constantly been around, this volume helps deepen the character and gives him considerable more time.  His subplot of hitting on the bookstore owner is quite funny, with constant roadblocks being placed in the way to make him come across as an idiot.  Of course, a May Sweeps moment happens, as a random rescue made by Ralph solidifies a new romantic plot in Boneyard, using both a typical move and executed in a somewhat jarring way.  Either way, the romantic interest is herself a character who could be used in interesting ways, given her outsider status.

Overall, the fourth volume of Boneyard is a rewarding experience, filled with the humour and action the series has become known for.  The dips in quality I am referring to hardly take away from the overall experience, and this series is one designed to be simply enjoyed rather than nitpicked to death.  I will be sure to get the last volume, out next month, and continue to follow Richard Moore’s career.  His ability to make an enjoyable comic which can be simultaneously accessible and complex, and funny and sincere is something some books have simply lost in a constant bid to psuedo-intellectualize.  Boneyard is still fun, and that is what counts.

Last Updated: August 31, 2023 - 08:12

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