Well, you knew there was going to be a skeleton. In the long history of adventure stories (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Goonies, Pirates of the Caribbean, Treasure Island, etc.) there is often a skeleton. But this one might sting a little more because we knew and liked the person who left these bones.
Bigfoot took good care of them, though. In the first panel, we see that the ever-present giant boulders are gone from the top of the mountain. And we can see that, after secreting the body deep in the woods, the young Bigfoot moved those ponderous boulders by himself to form a fortress around his friend, hiding and protecting him from the elements and intruders. How long he stayed with his friend after that is anyone’s guess, but we know now that no one ever came to disturb The Naturalist’s final resting place.
We also get Bigfoot’s longest speech so far. Readers who have been with us from the beginning know that Bigfoot started out with just a few words. But ever since they started on this quest, as Bigfoot moved closer to the top of this mountain, the memories he suppressed were unlocked along with more of the language The Naturalist taught him.
Sadly, and most poignantly, we see that Bigfoot has taken on a lot of responsibility for The Naturalist’s death for not being there to protect him, and not getting to him in time with his pills — “Bigfoot too late.” Remember, Bigfoot wasn’t aware the poachers were coming for him, nor was he aware of Michael’s heroic efforts to chase them away. And Michael never did get to teach Bigfoot that one last important lesson about the dangers of man. So what we’re left with is a lonely, guilt-ridden sasquatch who has spent the last three-and-a-half decades lumbering through the woods alone, modeling his life after The Naturalist’s example and trying in vain to recreate that first loyal friendship. My psychologist friend would have a field day with that last sentence.
For those interested, I posted the inks for this page below. I tried out some different techniques and I feel like they worked out for me. We’ll see more of Scout’s reaction to this whole thing next week. I can’t imagine he’s thrilled. -v