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Adventure Time #5 – Review

Humor is a difficult thing to approach objectively. Of course, art and plot can never fully escape subjectivity, but at least with these properties there is something of a standard of coherency that most can agree upon. A drawing or a story may not be especially appealing to one person over another, but if a plot makes sense or a drawing of a person looks like a person, then there is at least some success in achieving what was intended. Jokes are not like that. Humor can be polarizing and with some jokes you simply get it or you do not. Some people do not think Adventure Time is funny. At all. Everything about it is dumb and the jokes are annoying. If that sounds like you, then this review is over. However, if your sense of humor is like mine, then congratulations: You just found perfection.
The first four issues of this series were each one part of a story and, as such, some issues were highs and some were lows. Now that this first story arc is over, Adventure Time #5 is the first issue to tell a stand-alone story and the focus that offers could not be more beneficial. Our story begins with Finn and Jake agreeing to a foot race to see who will win B-Mo’s cupcake (that is a cake baked in a cup, just for extra adorableness(and deliciousness)). On their walk they say funny things, they do funny things, and then there are more of those things. Honestly, it can easily be likened to a series of sketches revolving around them not being able to divert from this path, but that hardly diminishes how much fun the trip is. Eventually, they do reach a stopping point in their contest, but the reveal as to why is such fun, especially for those familiar with Adventure Time, that I really do not want to spoil it.
Adventure Time Paul Pope
That is basically all I have to say. It really is that simple. With this single issue focusing less on an overarching story and more on being funny, this book somehow manages to achieve both a tighter and funnier story. Everything here just works. The absolute genius that is Ryan North continues as writer of this book and neon green comments at the bottom of most pages continue to provide commentary that is often funnier than the actual comic. It seemed to me like there were less comments than in some issues, but what is here more than makes up for any potential missed opportunities. (‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves / Did gire and gimble near the butt: All mimsy were the borogoves / And the mome raths were all, “say what?”)

Comic artist Mike Holmes takes over art for this issue and, if there is a possible flaw with the book, this would be it. Why? Some of the background are bland. That’s about it. Just more than a few backgrounds filled with empty space. It is actually hard to say whether this is more the fault of Holmes or Studio Parlapa, which was responsible for the colors in this issue. Either way, it is hardly an issue. I went back through the book looking for anything I might have been able to critique and that was all I could find. For the most part, the art is nigh indistinguishable from the previous artists, who worked on the show, and the colors are vibrant and attractive. There are some detailed environments, some cool stretchy Jake powers, and a couple particularly amusing character designs. Overall, the art is a great accompaniment to the writing.

Finally, as always, there are two bonus short comics. The shorter of the two, entitled “Ice King Dumb” (GET IT?) is cute, simply for the fact that it was written by two eight year olds. Lucy Knisley’s art keeps the encounter between Ice King and Marceline just as cute.

“Emit Erutnevda!!” is the longer of the two and it is brilliant. In it, Jake finds a hole in the fabric of reality and he and Finn pass through it on an existential journey that takes them through several different art styles, each a reference to different artists and famous works. All of writer/illustrator Paul Pope’s art here is gorgeous, including several panels that exhibit a color pallet of washed out pinks and yellows that inspire a hazy dreamscape for the events. Both the art and the dialogue ask legitimate questions about the nature of reality, but all of it in a tongue-in-cheek way that never strays to far from the core mentality of Adventure Time. It is somehow amusing and inspiring and, in my mind, that is an incredible balance to find.

When I said this book was perfection, I meant it. There is no one thing that I would change about it. Of course, the nature of perfection is that it cannot exist beyond a personal measure. No one thing can be perfect to everyone, which, by the definition of perfection, makes the idea of perfection imperfect. Basically, what I’m saying is, I really like this comic book. If you give it a try, then maybe you will too.


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