Adventure Time is a bonafide hit as a comic, the main series has been great, many of the mini-series and original graphic novels have been just as good. This time we have a full color graphic novel focusing on Princess Bubblegum and Peppermint Butler as they travel the various kingdoms to complete a ritual ten years in the making. So let's jam the Adventure Time theme song and jump right in. First off, the art is spot on, it looks like someone just took still shots from the cartoon. The colors are bright and the characters are expressive. Each panel feels lively and flows well when there is action. There are some odd panel choices though, due to how the pages are laid out it feels like characters are randomly moving around in frame. I can't properly explain it, but I felt like I was missing a change over when I flipped to the next page.
The story itself starts off strong, Princess Bubblegum is a great character and more solo adventures for her are always welcome. She is strong, smart, in charge, and also able to be the butt of a joke while being charming. Her quest to recharge the charms that power the Candy Kingdom while visiting other kingdoms in the land lets us see more of the world. But each kingdom there is something off with those she meets with. Something shady is happening, but what could it be?
And that mystery is pretty much where it all falls apart. What precisely is wrong is easily discovered, Princess Bubblegum quickly figures it all out and goes about getting confessions and dishing out punishment. But the punishment is negligible. The solution at the end, is not just negligible, but is even worse it is predictable, although it does lead to a few pages of some great artwork. The conflict never delivers, nor does the solution...just everything seems to drag on.
This comic should just be a normal comic length, the pacing wouldn't change much, we would lose pages of some beautiful setting and designs, but we'd also get to skip out on all the fat. The boring, flat plot that is straight out of most of the cartoons I watched when I was a kid. Adventure Time can do so much more than this, it is brilliantly off the wall and while it always follows a logic, it isn't scared to take giant leaps to the left when you expect it to go right. This Bitter Sweets lacks all of the best features of Adventure Time, which is disheartening.
But all isn't lost! Peppermint Butler is great in this book. He completely steals the show, and I wish more of his random outbursts made up more of the comic. Peppermint does get the last few pages of to give us a wonderful nod to darker themes then the rest of this meandering story deserves. If only Peppermint were given the freedom to run wild, why must he be persecuted so? Is it because he is just a “lowly” butler? I would imagine the Land of Ooo had moved past such perceptions.
If you love Adventure Time, skip this and go buy the main series. If you want to see a story focusing more on the women of Adventure Time, go grab Marceline and the Scream Queens, it is Marceline on tour with her band and has Princess Bubblegum as the band's manager, it is very mathematical.
Writer: Kate Leth Artist: Zachary Sterling with Chrystin Garland Publisher: BOOM!/KaBOOM Price: $12.99 Release Date: 11/5/14 Format: OGN; Print/Digital