15th Jun2015

‘Adventure Time: Candy Capers – Mathematical Edition’ Review

by Jack Kirby

Written by Ananth Panagariya, Yuko Ota | Artwork by Ian McGinty | Published by Titan Comics

adventure-time-candy-capers

I’ve long maintained that of the many and various comics based on licensed properties, the Adventure Time publications are perhaps among those that best capture the spirit of the title on which they’re based. As well as its Adventure Time ongoing series, Kaboom! (who first publish the comics in the US, before Titan release the collected editions over here in the UK) haven’t been particularly shy about dipping into the land of Ooo, with titles such as Banana Guard Academy, Flip Side and the recent and decent Marceline Gone Adrift being just a couple of examples. The cynical amongst you might look on this as cashing in on a highly lucrative brand, which is true to an extent, however when the levels of quality are as consistently high as these titles invariably are, then I’m happy to turn a blind eye. Indeed, I don’t think I’ve been disappointed by an Adventure Time comic yet and Candy Capers is no exception.

The set—up sees regular protagonists Finn and Jake absent from the Land of Ooo. Without heroes to protect her Candy Kingdom, Princess Bubblegum appoints Peppermint Butler as head of the Banana Guards to maintain order and find out what has happened to Finn and Jake. With the ever-moronic Cinnamon Bun at his side, Peppermint Butler teams together various inhabitants of Ooo (Marceline and Tree Trunks, Lemongrab and Lumpy Space Princess, Ice King and Susan Strong) as temporary F&J replacements with varying results, whilst trying to solve the greater mystery of where the originals have gone.

This pleasingly presented hardback collects the issues from the limited series as well as a bunch of supplementary materials at the back, including a covers gallery that features some nice homages to other fictional detectives.

The story has genuinely amusing dialogue and the voices of the characters are captured almost entirely spot on. An extended, Zelda-esque trading sequence to ask a very simple question in the Land of the Dead proves a high point and the inclusion of a new character, Agent Princess also works well. The artwork verges on manic at times, but this is no bad thing. It kind of has the feel of a child-friendly Ralph Steadman which again, is a most excellent thing (on another note though, how great would a Steadman-illustrated episode of Adventure Time be? Somebody… call somebody else! Make this happen!). Adventure Time has a very clear artistic style so it’s interesting that a bevvy of talented artists have taken this direction and created images that are very clearly Adventure Time but also distinctively their own and Ian McGinty is the latest to do so.

There are a couple of flaws – occasionally the narrative isn’t quite as rigorously structured as it needs to be and the reader is forced to make a couple of logical guess as to how we got from one panel to another on one or two occasions. Additionally, I feel the creators are a little too keen to drop in Peppermint Butler’s ‘dark side’ on numerous occasions where the beauty of the gag in the show is that it’s used sparingly. The juxtaposition of having a cute little candy-striped man being an occultism enthusiast is a fun feature of the show, but works better as an occasional twist rather than being frequently referenced.

Apart from those minor quibbles, Adventure Time: Candy Capers – Mathematical Edition is a great collected edition that will amuse fans both young and old enough to know better.

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