Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake #3

"Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake" #3 continues the duo's ongoing adventures after Fionna has succeeded in beating back the evil Ice Queen and rescuing the feral "fire booger," as Cake has dubbed him.

It's another very strong issue by Natasha Allegri. "Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake" #3 has some hilarious jokes that alone make the issue worth picking up. My favorites are some digs at the masculine vanity of Prince Gumball and Marshall Lee, a joke about vampirism and the mostly visual punchline of Fionna's wish being granted.

The characters continue to be squishy-looking and adorable, particularly the possessive and protective Cake. As it is with Jake in "Adventure Time with Finn and Jake," one of the most consistently entertaining visual elements of "Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake" is the flexible, amoeba-like flesh of Cake the Cat. Even in the opening scene, Cake swells from normal-size to huge and angry in order to loom threateningly at Marshall Lee. She then transforms into a Cat-On-Stilts for travel, and undergoes several other transfigurations before the crucial one, in which she is invaluable in helping Fionna to save the day.

Allegri's background is in animation design and storyboarding, so it's a pleasant surprise to see how comfortable she is with using the two-dimensional space and gutters of comics storytelling. She composes for the page as well as for the panel. It's a nice touch when Cake's angry "FINE!" spills over into a lower panel. Similarly, Allegri makes great use of space in a panel in which Cake helps Fionna and Marshall Lee make a steep descent. The sheer visual joy Allegri has for the characters and for food feels contagious, especially in the story climax which has an enormous, enchanted flan as its centerpiece.

Allegri's coloring and lettering also support her script and graceful visuals. Her palette is bright and vivid, reinforcing the bouncy mood of "Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake" #3. It's also a nice touch that Allegri has a different lettering style for each character, ranging from pretty cursive for Prince Gumball to thick, grumpy capitals for Cake's shouts.

As a bonus to the fun and well-crafted storytelling, Allegri continues to handle the gender politics of this "Adventure Time" spin-off just right. Fionna and Cake feel related to, but distinctive, from their original male counterparts. The friendships between Prince Gumball, Marshall Lee and Fionna feel light and true but still subversive in their dynamics. It's a great, rare combination of an intrinsically strong cast and story that is made even more palatable because events and personalities don't play out in gender-stereotypical ways.

"Sour Candy" by Kate Leth is a short two-page backup story, and it is a surreal little spin-off that features none of the usual characters. Instead, it is set in a Candy Kingdom with lemons as the characters. The shapes of the lemons are truly bizarre, and the resolution has a tonal swerve from ominous and bizarre to friendly but still disconcerting. It also has an excellent pun in it.

I highly recommend "Adventure Time with Fionna and Cake" #3 as being some satisfying and sweet fun, especially but not only if the reader is already a fan of the "Adventure Time" cast.

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