Jan 21, 2014

[Comics] Adventure Time Vol. 2 - Pixel Princesses

At first I sort of expected that future Adventure Time graphic novels would focus on expanding on the whole Finn and Flame Princess dynamic or something like that. The way the first volume ended, it felt a lot like it was just the start of a larger tale.

So I was pretty surprised when the next book was announced to be about several other Princesses of Ooo. So I guess it appears that these graphic novels are going to tell independent stories, thus further expanding what we know of the Adventure Time world. And this isn't a bad thing at all - we can already trust the Boom! Studios on-going comic series to tell stories that span several comic book issues. These books have a completely different focus entirely.

I'm still on the fence about the whole decision to focus on releasing strictly black and white comics. And I really felt this way given this book was focusing on several Princesses - many of which don't get as much spotlight time on the television series. But of course, we just have to respect that the aesthetic that the creators were aiming for in this regard and see how things flow.

Synopsis: Pixel Princesses is the second volume of the Adventure Time graphic novel  series released by kaBOOM! Studios. Like the prior volume, the story was written by Danielle Corsetto with art by Zack Sterling.

Lumpy Space Princess is hurriedly on her way to a party - which is in fact a surprise party that the she organized for herself. But she was disappointed to find that most of her guests didn't show up - a bit of a blow to her ego. The only princesses present were Breakfast Princess, Muscle Princess, Embryo Princess, Skeleton Princess, and Turtle Princess, who happens to be LSP's best friend (in theory). Given the failure of her all-princess party, LSP decides to quit being a princess entirely. To stress this, she takes out the princess gem embedded in her forehead and throws it out the window.

Nearby, BMO feels bad that he wasn't invited to the party given BMO isn't actually a princess. He mistakes LSP's flying princess gem as a shorting star and thus wishes that he had what it took to be a princess inside him. What he didn't realize was that Magic Man was near enough to hear this wish and out of boredom decides to grant it. Thus the 6 princesses find themselves transported inside one of BMOs video games. Now they have to find a way to get past the various challenges in the game and escape back to the real world. But at the same time, you still have LSP thinking that she doesn't have what it takes to be a princess.

Like the prior volume, the comic ends with a bonus story. Instead of BMO, this story opted to focus on Gunter and the other penguins working for Ice King. These short stories are real gems and they certainly a lot of value to these graphic novels.

At first I was rather weirded out by the mix of princesses that they selected for this story. I can probably count on one hand the number of times that I've seen Skeleton Princess, while in contrast Muscle Princess is one of those background characters that get featured a lot. So definitely some interesting choices in terms of the "casting" of this comic, and I think in the end there was a lot of fun to be had with seeing these characters interact.

It's a no-brainer to say that I totally loved Skeleton Princess. In essence, she's a zombie - or at least a some sort of an animated skeleton creature. And this comic did a great job of fleshing out her character more - and they made sure that she remained  line with the visual concept that pretty much drove her creation.

On the whole though, I wasn't too keen on the overall story structure. The decision to build the plot around the individual challenges that each Princess would have to face was a decent idea, but it also proved a little limiting. And the lack of cohesion between the stories resulted in each of the challenge stories to act like a separate story within the main plot. And thus further driving the feeling of things being not quite a great fit when brought together.

And the resolution of each challenge - and eventually the main story - also felt a tad weak.  Something was lost in how everything was put together and I wish there was a bit more thought put into how they wanted the characters to achieve a sense of resolution by the end of the book. It wasn't necessarily bad, but it was still a little lacking.

Adventure Time Vol. 2 - Pixel Princesses was an interesting follow-up to the first graphic novel and a nice way to expand on the back story of some of the other Princesses. But the weakness of the overall narrative flow hurt it a bit and left the story feeling somewhat hollow. Thus the comic only rates 3 quirky Princess challenges out of a possible 5.

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