Whenever adapting a beloved franchise into another medium, as kaboom! so often does, creators walk a fine line. Altering too many elements of the franchise can cause fans to feel betrayed, but failing to make any changes cause the work to seem derivative and forced. Despite some noticeable stumbles early on, Adventure Time manages to navigate this line and find a satisfying home in comics. Both the art style and humour will be immediately recognizable to fans of the series, and these adventures will be as entertaining as any others. To the uninitiated however, Adventure Time can be dense and difficult to break into, particularly given the relatively high price point and the small size of the book.
Opening the book, fans will be delighted to see that the art style mirrors the television show very closely. The characters and settings are simplistic and cartoony, qualities which belie the occasional depth and detail put forward in the art, and the colour palette is rich and fanciful. For the most part the artwork remains simple, aiming to tell the story in a recognizably “Adventure Time” style, but occasionally, and increasingly in issues following the first, the artists play with the static quality of the graphic image. This is particularly true of depictions of Jake’s transformations, intermediate forms as well as bizarre or overly complex forms that would be unreasonable to see and appreciate within the television show. In the comic they find purchase and allow for a type of greater depth.
North’s writing acts in many ways like Lamb and Paroline’s art, working to establish itself as a recreation of the show before really coming into its own. In the first issue of the series the dialogue is occasionally awkward or things do not come together properly. Later on, the writing seems to have settled, North becoming comfortable in his own skin, and several unique qualities of the comic book begin to be utilized. Chief amongst these are the liner notes that pick up in frequency with subsequent issues and the inclusion of small three panel asides at the bottom of certain pages. Both of these take the reader out of the story for a moment and get in a quick joke or two while making the book feel more personal and adding to the humour. Throughout the Adventure Time comics there are numerous references and in-jokes related to the show that fans will be sure to appreciate.
Included in each issue of Adventure Time are one or more side stories written and drawn by different creators. These allow for a greater departure from the established franchise and serve to fill space in what would otherwise be very short issues. While these stories are definitely interesting the quality of the story varies greatly and on some occasions they are not worth reading.
Any fan of Adventure Time will definitely find something to enjoy in this series. Those who have not watched the television before would probably be better served checking out the original TV series before approaching the comics.