Book 4 of Jamie Smart’s outrageously silly and gut-bustingly funny Bunny Vs Monkey series just does it all over again – it’s anarchic comedy done oh so right.
Now, I’m slightly out of sync with these reviews of Jamie Smart’s excellent Bunny Vs Monkey series by now – in fact, I already showed you a preview of the fifth book, Rise of the Maniacal Badger, a good while back. But that doesn’t mean that I’m skipping over this fourth volume, oh no.
But then again, by now, you should be well aware of just how wonderful, how silly, how chaotic, how just so darned well done these are… after all, you, your family, your kids, your kids’ friends, even that strange child who appeared out of nowhere one day and seems to eat all the food in your fridge – you’re all reading it, right?
Anyway, if you happen to be new to this, Smart’s Bunny Vs Monkey has been in The Phoenix Comic from the very beginning, giving you weekly doses of much-needed laughter across a few pages. The set-up is simplicity itself, Monkey got fired into the woods and poor Bunny hasn’t had a peaceful moment since. The cast of delightful and daft characters keeps on growing, the storylines are packed full of the greatest of gags, perfectly timed and delivered by Smart, and there’s always that sense that things are happening here, a longer tale is playing out.
So Book 4 gives us more of the same gloriously funny material we’ve read before – Monkey and Skunky are still trying to take over the woods with Skunky’s latest, ridiculously-named invention, Bunny’s still trying to just have a simple, peaceful life, Pig and Weenie are still dumb as a box of frogs, and Action Beaver and Metal Steve… well, they’re just doing whatever the heck they do.
Into this has come Ai, the Aye-Aye, another pal, hyperactive and friendly, managing to ruin Bunny’s days in all-new ways…
So, it’s time to join Bunny and the gang once more as they discover giant worms, everyone gets a cold that Skunky manages to turn into a gigantic virus-filled Action Beaver, there’s trouble with a giant egg, Monkey goes into space… well, you get the idea.
There’s a perfect gag on practically every single page here, Smart just has this way of making the gags come thick and fast, playing on the same themes again and again and yet never managing to make you anything but rolling with laughter. And his timing… oh, it’s perfection, whether it’s a purely visual gag…
It’s the DONK! that does it for me
… or a gag that just has you falling about laughing because the ridiculousness of it is so good…
Because why the heck not?
… or a gag that just has Smart playing with facial expressions…
Everything there in the middle panel with the facial expressions – you can hear the punchline building
… and that wonderful way he can take a panel or two to add a pause into things, just to make the punchline hit harder…
Pause once – good comedy. Pause twice – perfect comedy
And you remember the thing I said about Smart adding in that sense of something bigger? Well, it’s here again, as the momentum builds towards the end of the this tale, Ai going forwards in time (super fast running, of course) and realising that, at some point, they lose control of the woods, and then they get the message that there’s some ‘GRAAAAVE DAAAANGER’ coming. And the harbinger of this terrible message… well, it’s the ghostly Le Fox, the brave soul who threw himself into the Moshoggoth at the end of book three in a tragic, heartbreaking moment (which Smart semi-regularly manages to do, just another reason why BvM is so darned great.).
The return of Le Fox and the GRAAAAVE DAAANGER approaching – and a quick toilet break of course
As for what this GRAAAAVE DAAANGER turns out to be… well, that’s a moment of fun for Jamie Smart fans that I’m not giving away. Again, that way he has of being able to thread that element of threat, subtle and ominous, yet still manage to go for gag after gag before we have time to really think about what’s going on.
In the end, these BvM reviews could simply be condensed to this – It’s madcap fun, full of gags, wonderfully insane characters, and written and drawn by someone with a seemingly unending imagination for giving you gag after gag after gag – clever, silly, manic, weird, off-the-wall comedy that just gets better and better.
As always, I’ll end this by imploring you to read this and share it far and wide – give it to any children you know, donate the books to school libraries, shout from the rooftops just how great these books are. Because, they most definitely are.
Bunny Vs Monkey Book 5: Bunny Vs Monkey And The Supersonic Aye-Aye
By Jamie Smart. Formatting adaptation, additional artwork, and colours by Sammy Borras.
Published by David Fickling Books & The Phoenix Comic.
And just for an extra special treat, one of my favourite strips in this collection, in all its Jamie Smart goodness…
Book 4 of Jamie Smart’s outrageously silly and gut-bustingly funny Bunny Vs Monkey series just does it all over againCOMICONRead More