Adventure Time with Finn & Jake is an enormously popular show on Cartoon Network. If you haven't caught an episode, it's kind of like a hybrid of Spongebob Squarepants/Ren and Stimpy/Rocko's Modern Life. It's surreal, weird and sometimes a little gross. Nate can't seem to get enough of it. So when KaBoom! announced that they were going to publish a monthly Adventure Time comic, he put his order in.
Nate literally pried it out of Super-Dad's hands the second he walked through the door with it (seriously, SD didn't even have his scooter helmet off), and read it cover to cover in about 20 minutes. I had to beg him to let me take a look as he now considers it one of his prized possessions.
The book is split into two stories, much like an episode of the show, and emulating the TV program seems to be a goal here. The first issue even had a "cold open" a (seemingly) unrelated page that preceded the title page. The first story is an ongoing serialized adventure in which Finn and Jake have to save the world from The Lich. The Lich is a bad guy intent on gathering up the world in his Bag of Holding ("It's bigger on the inside than it is on the outside..." bonus points for the DnD reference!) so he can throw it into the sun. His motivations for world-destruction are not clear, and the methods by which Finn and Jake are to defeat him - they involve special jewelry and "battle burns" - are equally unclear. This part of the story ends with a "To be continued", and Nate is already impatient for next month's issue.
The back and forth banter that the show is known for is well translated here by Ryan Ward. His writing seems to fit the cadence and style of the cartoon well. The colorful and dynamic art by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb looks just like the animated series.
"My Cider the Mountain" is the shorter standalone story at the end of the book. Aaron Renier both wrote and illustrated this story about Princess Bubblegum's favorite apple cider. The art on this story is beautifully done in watercolor, marking a nice separation from the more iconic art of the serialized portion of the book. It's a funny five page story with a punchline that is sure to make the tween set giggle and make their parents gag.
Nate recommends the comic because "it's awesome" and thinks that if a kid isn't familiar with the world of Adventure Time "they'd think it was random but awesome."
As a side note, this book seems to be insanely popular. My local comic book shop Arcane Comics, sold through their order on Wednesday. As of this writing it's going for upwards of $15 on ebay. Popularity of this magnitude almost guarantees there will be a speedy reprinting, so local shops should have it back in stock soon. If you have an iDevice you can get it digitally via Boom! Studio's app.
Age Appropriateness: If you allow your child to watch the Adventure Time cartoon, they'd be fine to read this. There's no swearing, and the conflict of the bad guy trying to destroy the world is pretty cartoony. The book is unrated, but I'd say age eight and up.
Things to look out for: Finn and Jake practice their "battle burns" (insults), Jake says something "sucks", Jake calls someone a Jerk. At one point Finn climbs inside of Jake and wears him like a suit. The world inside The Lich's bag is desolate and may be a little scary to very young or very sensitive readers. The punchline of "My Cider the Mountain" is a little gross, but non-offensive.
Talking Points: This isn't really a "talking points" type of book. It pretty much exists purely for entertainment purposes. If I was going to stretch I'd tell you to talk to your kids about absurdist humor and non-sequiturs, and how those types of jokes can work and make us laugh.