KaBoom! has a whole range of Adventure Time comics coming out each month alongside the show. They always feature a great range of writers, artists and variant covers, and each month, they are some of the most solid comics you can pick up. Always high quality and always enjoyable, they truly are All Ages comics in all respects, being hugely accessible for kids and us big kids, too.
In Adventure Time Annual #1, the main story, written by Frank Gibson and illustrated by Becky Dreistadt, we’re introduced to Fionna and Cake, the genderbent versions of our lovable heroes, while they’re at the age of six; meaning they’re super precocious and super cute! On the eve of Fionna’s sixth birthday, she and Cake are being told a bedtime story with a supposed moral… that Fionna shouldn’t go out and adventure! Fionna, ever our headstrong heroine, ignores this advice and sneaks off in the middle of the night, with Cake unwillingly following behind as they search for adventure. After a false start involving an angry squirrel, Fionna confesses that she thinks everyone is going to treat her as a child for the rest of her life, and how unhappy it makes her. But then, they see Ice Queen flying overhead with Prince Gumball in her evil clutches! The girls rush into action and work their way through an army of angry Gunters, a super-sweet candy maze, fight off Ice Queen and finally rescue Prince Gumball. The next day, Gumball arrives at Fionna’s birthday party with plenty of guests and a delicious Cake-shaped cake! The back-up stories, by Ian McGinty, are mostly one-page character studies of the various characters in Fionna and Cake’s world, including Kate Leth creation Lady Lemongrab and Lumpy Space Prince.
Writer Frank Gibson does a sterling job on Adventure Time Annual #1. While the concept of baby/chibi characters is hugely popular right now (just look at Skottie Young’s variants!) and can perhaps be annoying, Gibson uses it to take the Adventure Time mythos in a different direction and adds a new dimension to the characters. At the same time, Gibson’s writing still makes the Adventure Time series accessible for new readers and fans alike, offering a kind of origin story for Fionna and Cake. The characters themselves are written superbly, and their voices are just as clear and unique as they are in the show. Sure, Baby! Fionna might be precocious and disobedient, but her worry that she’ll be treated as a child for the rest of her life is a very real worry, and one that many kids have. This combination of real-life problems set against the cartoonish and fantasy-like backdrop of Ooo is part of what makes Adventure Time so enjoyable, and it works just as well in the comic book as it does in the show. The back-up stories by Ian McGinty are hugely enjoyable one-page character studies of the various inhabitants of Ooo in a hilarious way, while also exploring the world a little bit more.
Becky Dreistadt does a wonderful job on the artwork in the main story, and brings an adorable storybook-like feel to it which perfectly fits the story. Her use of thin lines and assortment of soft colors really brings Gibson’s script to life, as well as making the story flow even better, and her action scenes really pop off the page. The lettering by Britt Wilson is also an art form within itself and the delicate cursive lettering style suits the style of the story, but sadly it seems cramped in some places and loses the effect. Ian McGinty’s artwork in his back-up stories is totally chibi and totally adorable! Fred Stresing’s bright, vivid colors are the perfect complement to McGinty’s story and art, and makes them really pop off the page.
“Adventure Time Annual #1″ is a cute and charming trip through Ooo with our favorite genderbent heroines, and captures the heart of what Adventure Time is: moralistic lessons set against a cute fantasy background.
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