Tie-in comics are a unique beast. When they're good, they can take an existing property to new heights, or at least help pass the time until the next episode or game or movie comes out. When they're bad, they can court their fair share of controversy, or at very least be deemed forgettable or non-canonical by fans.
More often than not, Boom's Adventure Time comics have fallen under the first category, adapting new stories in the world of Ooo that might not make their way to the small screen. But now that the beloved Cartoon Network series has reached its conclusion, there's almost a larger set of stakes when it comes to the comic adaptations, and the first issue of Adventure Time: Season 11 largely delivers.
The story begins with the aftermath of The Great Gum War, as the ensemble prepares to throw a party to celebrate the fact that they made it through everything. As Finn and Jake get ready for the party by taking a trip down memory lane, a mysterious portal opens up, proving that the pair's adventures are far from over.
Even with a relatively small set-up and number of set pieces, the issue takes things to some interesting places, building on the happy endgame that Adventure Time's series finale closed with, while also not diminishing it. (Don't worry, this issue and the characters in it absolutely ship Bubbline.) All in all, the few plot twists aren't easy to telegraph, but also make sense.
If you've never entered the world of Adventure Time before, this issue might not necessarily be the place to start, as a bit of knowledge about the series and its lore feels necessary. Even casual fans of the series, this author included, can find a lot to enjoy with this issue, with spoilers for the final season mainly arriving as subtle hints.
Much like the show, the Adventure Time comic has had an ability to get pretty deep at times, injecting thesis statements about humanity, love, and legacy into a candy-colored world. While the first issue of Season 11 might not be the most profound example of this, there's an interesting dichotomy present, particularly with regards to how the characters process change. The start of the issue says that "destruction is often an opportunity for growth," something that the latter parts of the issue takes to a slightly heartbreaking, but also fairly logical, extreme. While it might not be entirely clear how things go from here, the core of the story that Eisner-winner Sonny Liew weaves hints that it will hopefully be a worthwhile ride.
Marina Julia, who previously contributed to both the main Adventure Time comic and the stellar Beginning of the End miniseries, crafts an awesome aesthetic in this issue, with art that simultaneously fits the established character designs and has enough of its own flair. Meg Casey's colors paint things in a lushly vibrant hue, which gives things just enough of a three-dimensional quality. And Mike Florentino's letters give everything just a whimsical enough effect while still allowing the heavier moments to have an impact.
Building off of a decade of beloved fictional lore is no easy feat, much less with a show that is barely a month out from its series finale. By building off of Adventure Time's endgame in a mostly effortless way, the issue is able to give fans even more of the characters they've known and love. With an intriguing narrative and distinct, but charming art, this first issue indicates that Season 11 of Adventure Time has promise.
Published by: Boom! Studios
Written by: Sonny Liew
Art by: Marina Julia0comments
Colors by: Meg Casey
Letters by: Mike Florentino