Monday, November 17, 2014

Adventure Time: Bitter Sweets is a Mouthful

Tie-In Comic Review

Adventure Time: Bitter Sweets OGN

Adventure Time's ongoing line of original graphic novels makes the shift from a screen-toned, black and white work to a full-color book with its fourth installment. "Bitter Sweets" centers around Princess Bubblegum and her pyromaniac assistant, Peppermint Butler, as they go from kingdom to kingdom to recharge a set of gems that keep the Candy Kingdom alive and well. Just as things are going along swimmingly, PB finds out some of the kingdoms are keeping secrets from her that make her question her own capabilities as a princess.

"Bitter Sweets" expands greatly upon the Land of Ooo, featuring several new lands and princesses. In fact, it's a little too much for one graphic novel with large panels and little dialog. The story feels rushed more often than not, and you don't get much chance to connect with Princess Bubblegum's woes at the level the story wants you to. You're far too busy being thrown from one location to the next as the story progresses.

While "Bitter Sweets" fails to hit the emotional level its striving for, it has several laughs throughout. Peppermint Butler steals the show with his creepy demeanor and desire to set everything on fire. I could have read an entire book from Peppermint Butler's perspective as PB goes about her royal duties, and I may have had more fun if that had been the case. We've already seen Bubblegum going about her royal business in the show proper, and Adventure Time already has such an extensive world that putting the regular cast - even minor princesses - on the bus in favor of her characters takes up precious pagespace in what could have been an epic story if handled a little differently.

Also, while I'm aware this is very subjective, I prefered the black-and-white art style of the previous OGNs, especially alongside the manga-esque lineart that "Bitter Sweets" continues to use. It had a more unique vibe than the more generic shaded color in this piece.

With an awkwardly paced story that may have served better for Adventure Time's first original prose novel, "Bitter Sweets" is the weakest installment in the OGN line to date. That isn't to say it's bad, but it lacks a certain charm the previous volumes had.



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