First Impressions – MARCELINE AND THE SCREAM QUEENS #1

“Two conflicting personalities on a journey of rock and self-discovery…Lump Yeah! Great idea, Me!”

Those who follow my Weekly Pull posts will remember I occasionally discuss a particular all-ages comic based on the hit TV show, Adventure Time. They’ll also remember I love Adventure Time, as I do the comic. Boom evidently noticed many people liked that particular comic, and released a spinoff miniseries. ADVENTURE TIME PRESENTS MARCELINE AND THE SCREAM QUEENS, starring Princess Bubblegum and the titular Marceline, the Vampire Queen.

And no, I won’t be adding the ADVENTURE TIME PRESENTS before it from here on. I have enough to type when it comes time to talk about that Star Trek/Doctor Who crossover miniseries.

For those unfamiliar with Marceline or Adventure Time in general, she’s a 1000 year old punk rock vampire who frequently hangs around with the main Adventure Time gang. She’s also got mysterious relationship with Princess Bubblegum, ruler of the Candy Kingdom. This relationship isn’t always the most pleasant one. Both characters act as potential love interests for Finn the Protagonist, along with others like the Flame Princess.

Those who don’t read my Weekly Pull posts, I talk about this kind of thing basically every month. Often beside talks of mature comics. I’m in an interesting line of work.

MARCELINE AND THE SCREAM QUEENS #1 (the first in a six part miniseries) has the titular Marceline putting on a show during the Candy Kingdom’s music festival alongside her band, the titular Scream Queens. The band consists of a bunch of monsters, but one of them looks like a humanoid girl with long ears and teeth, and another looks in no way inhuman. So is he a human? That can’t be right, because Finn is supposed to be the only confirmed human in the land of Ooo, and I doubt Marceline would have kept it a secret if she just happened to have another one playing keyboard for her. Maybe the writers weren’t given the memo, though his brief character bio at the beginning does cite his super mysteriousness as a trait. The last guy is just a ghost.

Meanwhile, while everyone else in the kingdom is stoked about the concert, Princess Bubblegum is not amused because she doesn’t care for Rock n’ Roll. Because you can’t come from a posh upbringing without having a stereotypical disdain for such lowbrow music. Naturally that changes when she’s basically browbeaten into watching the concert, and instantly loves it then. Maybe I’ve just become too jaded, but it’s really a standard plot I’ve seen a million times before.

Anyway, Bubblegum offers to manage the band while on their concert tour, since it’s obvious to everyone – especially Marceline – that their group really needs organization. So the group packs up (leaving Jake the Dog in charge of the kingdom…oh boy…) and goes on tour. Presumably their adventures on the road will comprise the next five issues.

There’s just one problem: I don’t think I want to keep reading.

Know why comics with a heavy emphasis on music have a lot of trouble? It’s because comics aren’t an auditory medium. They’re a visual medium. And there’s an entire sequence where the band is performing for a crowd, and we’re meant to think they’re really good. And in the show, this would be an easy feat to perform since they’d just make a bunch of songs and play them, and the music in Adventure Time is really good. But in comic form, I can only take their word for it that any of the music is any good, because I can’t listen to a comic.

I am not transcended or high enough to hear comics. Yet.

Like the regular Adventure Time ongoing, Marceline and the Scream Queens also comes with a backup story, starring the metal strigoi herself. Marceline finds a guitar in the middle of the woods, and when she strums it, a genie pops out promising wishes. But is it really a genie?

I don’t want to say this is a bad comic. What I want to say is that it’s a story that doesn’t really work in the format it’s presented. Now if it had been an episode of the TV series and came with its own musical numbers, then we’d have something here. As it stands, I can only say I may or may not be reading later issues. Enough books clog my pull list already, especially the new CAPTAIN MARVEL ongoing series. But we’ll get to that later down the line.

In the meantime, if you’ve got a kid or just like Adventure Time and don’t spend hundreds on comics, check this one out.

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