Happy Halloween! Only two books this week in the round-up, Adventure Time Spooktacular #1 and Forever Evil: A.R.G.U.S. #1. Which is a trick and which is a treat? Read on to find out!
ADVENTURE TIME SPOOKTACULAR #1/ Created by PENDLETON WARD/ Written by JONES WIEDLE, BRYCE CARLSON, JAY HOSLER, & KEVIN CHURCH/ Art by JONES WIEDLE, FRAZER IRVING, JAY HOSLER, & JEN VAUGHN/ Letters by ED DUKESHIRE/ Published by BOOM STUDIOS
Bursting will Halloween fun is Adventure Time Spooktacular #1. This compilation comic comes with four – count ‘em – four short stories starring Finn, Jake, Marceline, and the rest of Ooo. The quality of these four short stories are pretty evenly split, with two great ones and two no-so-great ones.
First, the good ones. Wiedle’s “Costume Party” opens the book and is a delightful, though very brief, tale of Finn and Jake hosting a costume party. Ice King isn’t invited so upon seeing the party, invites himself. Wiedle captures the voices of these characters flawlessly and nails replicating the show’s characteristic art style. Even in its brevity, Wiedle slips in plenty of Adventure Time in-jokes fans will appreciate; the best being Finn’s Susan Strong costume.
Interestingly enough, it’s the other solo-creator comic that also really shines: Hosler’s “Halloween Horticulture.” This is a comic that could easily be adapted for the show as it follows Finn and Jake on a “heroic” adventure to help Pumpkin Princess on Halloween. Hosley may not replicate Adventure Time’s designs as perfectly as Wiedle, but he has a stronger grasp of the characters. This story is cute and funny with a decidedly dark twist in the middle that embodies exactly the kind of weirdness Adventure Time exudes.
Now, for the bad. The opportunity to see Frazer Irving illustrate an Adventure Time comic is wasted on a stupid premise about Starchy’s mustache. Peripheral characters getting the limelight is typically great material for these tie-in comics, but Carlson’s story is too weird even for Ooo. On top of that, it doesn’t really provide anything other than a chance to see Finn, Jack, and Princess Bubblegum in mustaches. Plus, though Irving is a talent artist, his interpretation of these characters is unsettling.
Church’s “Bad Girl Gone Good” has plenty of potential to be an enlightening piece about Marceline branching away from her ‘bad girl’ persona, but the concept doesn’t really work. See, Marceline may be the Vampire Queen but she’s still, generally, a nice person. Vaughn’s artwork is good and matches the show’s look as well as the tone of Church’s story, but it isn’t enough the save this mediocre tale.
Adventure Time Spooktacular #1 is neat little Halloween comic fans of the series will undoubtedly like. There’s four stories for the price of one (though and inflated price of $4.99) and even if two aren’t all that great, it’s still overall an enjoyable and very seasonal book. Why not hand out copies for Trick-or-Treat*!
*Actually, don’t do that. Kids’ll egg your house. Just give ‘em candy.
FOREVER EVIL: A.R.G.U.S. #1/ Written by STERLING GATES/ Art by NEIL EDWARDS, JAVIER PINA & PHILIP TAN/ Inks by JASON PAZ, JAY LEISTEN & JAVIER PINA/ Published by DC COMICS
The world stands on a knife’s edge. The otherworldly Crime Syndicate have killed or captured the majority of the World’s Finest heroes. Their allies in the Secret Society of Supervillains have lain waste to the world’s communication systems and even now hold The White House under siege.
With the most powerful superheroes on Earth missing in action, only one group can save The President and protect the world from this new super-powered menace. A.R.G.U.S. – The Advanced Research Group Uniting Superhumans. It will fall to Colonel Steve Trevor – the highest ranking A.R.G.U.S. official still alive – to rally the soldiers who survived the destruction of their headquarters and save the day.
Those expecting an ensemble series in the same vein as Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. will be sorely disappointed. Despite the depiction of a team of agents on the book’s cover, not a single A.R.G.U.S. agent is identified by name or given any lines besides Steve Trevor or Etta Candy.
The focus of this issue is firmly upon Steve Trevor, with half the book devoted toward flashbacks of his meeting with The President of the United States to discuss the founding of A.R.G.U.S. and his first encounters with Wonder Woman and their subsequent romantic relationship. The other half of the issue features Col. Trevor leading a squad of nameless grunts against the likes of Shadow Thief and Giganta. Nobody comes off looking particularly competent in these battles – particularly Deathstroke, who has to be reminded not to exposit their plans to the enemy!
As might be expected in a book with three pencilers and three inkers, the art is a bit of a mixed bag. Even at its best, the artwork only manages to be decent. Most of it is horrifically uneven, with some pages being so heavily inked that the whites of the character’s eyes are entirely black and other pages having no inking other than a thick black line around the individual characters’ bodies!
One can only hope the Agents of A.R.G.U.S. will prove more effective in saving the world than their creative team was in inspiring interest in their team. The story is strictly standard and the artwork unattractive. This book is for Forever Evil completists only.