REVIEW: Adventure Time #1

Written by RYAN NORTH
Art by SHELLI PAROLINE, BRADEN LAMB, AARON RENIER
 Letters by STEVE WANDS

Adventure Time #1 gets a second printing, presumably because of its popularity – it’s safe to say the cartoon series has a cult following because of Pendleton Ward’s unique, quirky and bizarre characters and world, so it makes sense that these ideas would transfer into a popular comic. The Land of Ooo is a place where anything can (and usually does) happen, and what better place to showcase these strange visual concepts than a comic page?

Writer Ryan North is probably best known for his long running webcomic Dinosaur Comics, a comic often loaded with strange unnatural dialogue choices for humourous effect and big, silly, fun concepts, and as such, he is a natural choice for the Adventure Time franchise. Indeed, I cannot think of a better match for this world than a man who makes dinosaurs talk for a living.

Straight off the bat, this is as close to the cartoon series as you can get. Every speech bubble is pitch perfect, to the point where I read them in Jake the Dog and Finn the Humans’ voices without trying. This is as faithful and true to the original creator’s vision as you can get, and as such is a bright and colourful breath of fresh air in a medium often known for its dark and gritty anti-heroes.

The art looks like it’s been lifted straight from the cartoon, albeit a bit more detailed. The colours are bright and fun and likely to appeal to children, ideal for this franchise, and Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb have done a great job in filling these pages with life. While very close to the series, the characters are expressive enough to not feel forced by the numbers. A bit of variation comes from the backup, written and illustrated by Aaron Renier, which has some nice ink and watercolour art. The combination of these two stories make for an issue full of charming art.

This is an all ages book, but that doesn’t mean that adults can’t enjoy it, as long as they let go of ridiculous concepts like ‘logic’. This is essentially a child-like imagination brought to the page, and even the blackest heart would have to smile at the silliness of it all, from Jake and Finn filming their fist bump for a future date to the conversational caption boxes to the character apparently writing fan fiction of his own life.

You’ll notice I am dancing around plot specifics, and there is a reason for that – the joy of Adventure Time (both cartoon and comic) is in the child like joy of discovery and finding out what new wonders are on every new page. To spoil that for you, potential reader, would be depriving you of a comic unlike any other. It’s not revolutionary, but there’s certainly nothing else like it on the stands today.

Of course, this doesn’t mean Adventure Time #1 is for everyone. It’s big and silly, and is unlikely to change the world of comic literature – but then what is? If you’re a fan of the cartoon, or of Ryan North himself, you probably know the sort of thing to expect from this, and it definitely won’t disappoint. It’s absolutely charming, and I’m on board for the rest of the adventure.

WRITING: 4/5
ART: 4.5/5
OVERALL: 4.25/5

About David B. Cooper

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