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Adventure Time, Vol. 3: Seeing Red

Review

Adventure Time, Vol. 3: Seeing Red

Exploring a largely neglected portion of the Adventure Time setting, SEEING RED pairs Marceline the Vampire Queen with Jake the Dog as they travel to the Nightosphere to retrieve Marceline's bass guitar. It's a shockingly simple premise, and a fairly unusual pairing, as Finn and Princess Bubblegum are both conveniently unavailable to take on the quest. But the combination of Jake's fear and sarcasm and laid-back nature mesh well with Marceline's rebelliousness and frightening anger, and the story moves smoothly, with plenty of laughs and some great character moments.

 

As with almost everything BOOM! puts out under the Adventure Time license, SEEING RED manages to match the tone and feel of the show incredibly well. Much of that is thanks to the cartoonish art, and holds the visual consistency of the characters with their television counterparts. Even though the volume is largely colorless, the art captures the movement of the show, the emotional resonance of each action, from Marceline's mercurial rage as she transforms to the creepiness of Jake being watched as he sleeps.

 

The story itself is relatively simple, with Marceline determined to regain her bass guitar after her father sells it. Braving a shady pawnshop, a rival witch, and a rocking concert, Marceline and Jake overcome the obstacles in front of them with originality and fun and just a few threats of grievous bodily harm. It's entertaining to see the two characters interact and make their way through the Nightosphere, an area of the Adventure Time setting that hasn't been completely fleshed out. A bit more familiar, though no less powerful, is the further development of the relationship between Marceline and her father, which continues to grow and become more complex. Despite him technically being "evil," their relationship is compelling and gives the volume some emotional weight.

 

The conclusion of the story, unfortunately, comes across as just a bit cheesy. Adventure Time seems to excel most when it handles its messages a bit more subtly, and the musical ending just didn't seem to come across as well on the page as it might have as an actual episode. The small flourishes around the ending, though, are still great, from Jake having to deal with the creepy bellhop to getting a glimpse at some of Marceline's extended family. And the volume is still very much a fun read, and worth the time of any Adventure Time fan.

 

Of course, it would be nearly criminal to not mention the bonus story in the back of the volume. While SEEING RED is mostly about Marceline and Jake, the bonus in the back is all about Lumpy Space Princess. And in some ways the short completely steals the show. The art and story are insane and completely true to the spirit and character of LSP. And from the giant spider to the talking gem to LSP herself, everything is adorable, faithful to the idea of the characters if not the style established in the show. But it is great, and spot on, and would have been worth putting down money to have even if the rest of the volume hadn't been. Luckily for all involved, though, the entire volume is solid, and filled with a fun energy that cannot be denied.

Reviewed by Charles Payseur on March 19, 2014

Adventure Time, Vol. 3: Seeing Red
by Kate Leth

  • Publication Date: March 14, 2014
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Titan Books Ltd
  • ISBN-10: 1782761667
  • ISBN-13: 9781782761662