It’s a strong franchise that can basically jettison all the primary characters for the bulk of a story and still end up with a totally great comic book. That’s exactly what “Adventure Time: Candy Capers” #1 does as Ananth Panagariya, Yuko Ota and artist Ian McGinty take Finn and Jake (and even Princess Bubblegum) and make them little more than a plot device so that they can shine a great big character light on Peppermint Butler and Cinnamon Bun (as his trusty sidekick). The results are super fun.
Panagariya and Ota have a deliciously consistent handle on all the characters here, and they plainly revel in the opportunity to focus on Peppermint Butler and Cinnamon Bun. When Princess Bubblegum realizes that Jake and Finn (and the completely ordinary hammer she gave them and now needs) are missing, she puts Peppermint Butler on the case. Clearly more interested in being a (somewhat evil?) Sherlock Homes with a Cinnamon Bun Watson in tow, Peppermint Butler takes his mission from PB to find Finn and Jake and runs with it. While the plot of this first issue is a bit slight — Peppermint Butler’s search for Finn and Jake — the premise it ends with (a “Royal Hero Draft”) promises much hilarity.
McGinty’s visuals are shockingly on model, almost as if they are animation cels ripped from the show itself. While I’ve enjoyed seeing other artists’ interpretations of the characters, it’s smart to keep the visuals so accurate to the show for a series focused on secondary characters. The cartoon’s expressive and off-the-wall style that never shies away from awesomely hilarious extremes is almost perfectly executed here. The storytelling is effortless and the character expressions are delightful — especially Peppermint Butler when he goes all menacing and Cinnamon Bun when he goes all gape mouthed and scream-y. The colors by Marta Laiho are also spot on, easily finding that bright almost psychedelic sweet spot that “Adventure Time” so rabidly embraces.
The “Adventure Time” comic books are, without hyperbole, some of the best adaptations I’ve ever seen from one medium to another. Without sacrificing anything, the bright colors, graphic character designs, and bizarre no holds barred sense of humor of the cartoon lends itself effortlessly to comics. And since Kaboom!/”Adventure Time” has done such a superb job of sourcing the talent — both writing and art — for these books, they are easily at the top of any list of good comics, and great adaptations.