Adventure Time: Marceline Gone Adrift is becoming more and more of a Major Tom story set in (and far, far above) the Land of Ooo, and both my David Bowie half and my Adventure Time half could not be happier.
When last we left Ooo, Marceline’s space bubble was captured by the gravitational field (and a lasso) from a strange planet, PB was wracked with guilt over what she’d done to her friend, and Finn was convinced he was the worst. This time around, Finn spies Suspencer being totally un-math and stealing things from Marcy’s house for his memorabilia sales; PB convinces Peppermint Butler to help her get launched up in a space shuttle to try to find Marceline; and Marceline explores her maybe-not-so barren new digs, looking for more red.
I don’t know if it’s happened officially in the show, but I think this may be the first time someone aside from Finn and Jake and/or Glob have seen Ooo from above. Outside PB’s window in this issue, you can see that Ooo is clearly the Earth, and that it is clearly missing about 1/8 of its mass, in one big friggin’ chunk. As a 25-year-old, grown-ass man, that freaks me out, and makes me wonder why it’s still in orbit, if it’s drifted somewhere completely different, how life has gone on, etc. I would have to find a 7-year-old to ask, but I assume they just think that’s cool and kind of scary. That’s the Adventure Time sweet spot I’m always talking about. Simple enough to scare everyone, but not too scary for the right demographic.
So, since I’m terrible and didn’t even think to check, I discovered at the shop where I work that this is not Meredith Gran’s first time dipping her toe into the Adventure Time pool--she wrote and illustrated the Marceline & The Scream Queens miniseries a couple of years back, and that book was hecka lots of fun as well. Clearly, Gran’s got a lot of love for Marceline and PB, and she definitely has a handle on both characters and their voices. In this issue, she gives PB some momentary self-awareness that made me laugh out loud, and Marceline gets some of the most hip, self-aware dialogue I’ve seen in anything since Juno (choice bits: “The indignity of other people’s problems!”; “An unchill scenario?”; “[Infinity of expletives]”; all of these are feelings and thoughts that I have personally experienced, and I applaud her for putting them into words). They’re some of the other various ways the Adventure Time universe, and particularly this book, have made themselves feel like pretty grown-up adventures, even if kids are enjoying them.
This is not to say Adventure Time is not primarily for kids; I don’t want to be the Adventure Time equivalent of a brony, dorking up a space that can be really great for kids.
Meanwhile, Carey Pietsch’s art is still the vibrant show it has been for the past few issues. No matter what weirdness Gran throws into the dialogue, or what kind of ethereal space-energy has to get thrown in, Pietsch pulls it off with apparent ease.
This is certainly a book by people who love the characters they get to play with. It has to be, if it’s only going to be six issues; there’s a lot to get in there. My only concern with the book is that it feels a little airy, and a little (pardon the pun) spacey, in terms of pacing, but that’s always kind of been the way Adventure Time functions, so that’s probably more of an issue with the property itself than this book. We’re at the halfway point, and there should be plenty of opportunities to catch up, so I would recommend anyone who loves this universe and these characters pick it up.