Marceline Gone Adrift is the latest title in the Adventure Time line from Boom’s Kaboom! imprint, which I assume is another mini-series filling the slot left by the end of the Banana Guard Academy last month. Where that mini seemed very plot and situation-oriented, this one has the feeling of a more personal Marceline story, something more along the lines of Seeing Red, and the Adventure Time property really shines when they focus on character and growth. This particular issue feels like a 22 page prologue for the rest of the book. Marceline went on tour recently and is starting to feel the pressure of having to make her songs, no matter whether or not she feels like it. The pressure gets to her and she’s hit by lightning, which makes her a living magnet of sorts, who begins to wreak havoc in the Candy Kingdom. Princess Bubblegum has to deal with this threat the only way that she can think of quickly: she’ll shoot Marceline into space.
I’ll get this out of the way now: a huge part of me hopes this turns into one 6-issue riff on Planet Hulk/Word War Hulk, but in lieu of that, I do want to see this story of Marceline coming to terms with who she is as a person, because that’s what Adventure Time is good at. On the surface, it’s all wacky adventures, and Finn saying words that don’t exist, and Jake changing shape to make perfect sandwiches, but each one of their adventures helps them understand that either they are just fine as they are, or that they need to grow up a little, and accept that the world can’t always be the same. That’s the reason the show has such wide, multi-generational appeal; you’re never too old to hear that you’re okay.
Meredith Gran’s writing on this book is solid. It’s a little formulaic, as the set-up for a plot, but it feels like it kind of has to be; I can’t fault a storyteller for setting up a story well. She sets up the thrust of the series (Marceline needs to find her inspiration again and by some Ooo-ian hijinks, that inspiration will probably be in space), and she handles all the character voices very well. For the page or two with Jake and Finn, they sound like Jake and Finn; Peppermint Butler sounds like Peppermint Butler; and so on. Her pacing is spot on, as well, saving the big double page splash in this issue for the most dynamic scene.
But what I really loved about this issue is Carey Pietsch’s art. Ooo is a world that accepts many different art styles and they all feel like they belong (unlike, say, your Dexter’s Lab, where the Genndy Tartovsky design aesthetic is so strong that working outside of it makes it feel like a different property). In Pietsch’s version of Ooo, the scene has a strong watercolor (or possibly crayon? God knows I’m no artist) sense to it, that gives it a childlike feeling of a storybook, without sacrificing the more nuanced aspects of the characters.
Now that Ryan North, Shelli Paroline and Brandon Lamb have capped off their amazing run on the main Adventure Time book, the edges of the Adventure Time universe are starting to look more and more appealing. Gran and Pietsch have definitely set up a fun miniseries here for any fan of the show, and I’m excited to see where it leads.
Writer: Meredith Gran Artist: Carey Pietsch Publisher: BOOM!/KaBOOM Price: $3.99 Release Date: 1/14/15 Format: Mini-Series; Print/Digital