Robots unleashed! Everyone joins the final battle for Marceline’s sanity in the latest issue of Adventure Time!
Adventure Time Season 11 No 4, Art by Jorge Corona, colors by Meg Casey (Courtesy Cartoon Network)
While the first three issues of Adventure Time: Season 11 were concerned mostly with hunting clues to the mystery and introducing (or reintroducing) characters, part four of the new volume is straight-up action. 1000 years in the future (there’s more than one millennium distant look into the future going on these days) Finn and Jake, alongside the contemporary versions of Bubblegum, Marceline, and Simon, storm the throne room of Castle Bubblegum to finally put end to future Marceline’s painful memory lapses. It’s been obvious that the culprits behind her predicament are Bartholomew, Mingus, and Orange Juice, the trio of robots she supposedly built from parts of BMO.
The questions left to answer are why and how. The why is Hunson Abadeer. Marceline’s devious dad sent a trio of his underlings to invade her life and start stealing her memories, which they did by disguising themselves as those evil robots. Turns out it was all a bid to make her return home to the Nightosphere. Marceline has an exchange with her father that implies she literally can’t return to his domain, a situation that’s been around for a thousand years. I wonder if this is Ted Anderson setting the groundwork for another story arc. How stealing the Vampire Queen’s memories is supposed to cause a reconciliation with her estranged father isn’t exactly clear, but to borrow a phrase, if you’ve got nowhere else to turn you can always return home?
Ted Anderson does a fine job of juggling all the characters involved. Each gets some page time, even Simon, who mostly just cowers and looks awestruck. We also get a Ripley-esque Princess Bubblegum, who totes a giant blaster and takes charge as de facto field commander. The combat tactician part of her character became more prominent in the cartoon’s later seasons, and it is good to see Anderson continue developing it.
After a rousing fight, friendship wins. To my surprise, the oft-referenced army knife doesn’t turn out to be the deus ex machina that defeats the faux robotic succubae. We cap the time travel part of the story by meeting future Bubblegum, who’s back from a short 100-year quest to fix BMO. It’s a good enough reason to get the whole Adventure Time gang together for some comradery and allow both versions of ‘Bubbline’ to meet each other–and share hair samples for scientific study.
Adventure Time Season 11 No 4, Art by Marina Julia, colors by Meg Casey and
Francesco Segala (Courtesy Cartoon Network)
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Marina Julia changes up her page layouts a bit in this issue, spurred on I’d guess by the amount of action required. There are more, tighter panels per page, but she still does a great job of selling the impact of key moments, such as when Marceline’s memories flow back into her or when she’s interrogating at a pathetic demon. Meg Casey’s colors continue to be very good as well (with help from Francesco Segala this time). She makes the bright pink of future Marceline’s hair distinct from the softer pinks of her girlfriend’s skin, and she finds hues of orange and red to make it stand out against the fiery Nightosphere. The panels of combat flow rhythmically between bright pops of color and gray clouds of smoke.
Everyone goes back to their proper time, and BMO gets fixed. It’s the most attention the little bot gets in this issue, and that feels brusque considering that their injury was the inciting action for this story arc. We rejoin the celebration started in issue one with a toast to the future. I still think it was an odd choice to do a time travel tale with multiple versions of some characters as a relaunch to the series, instead of a story that explores the new political landscape of Ooo. But it was still a pretty fun four issues and it felt good to get some ‘face time’ with my favorite family of post-apocalyptic adventurers. The first four issues of Adventure Time: Season 11 have got me looking forward to the new Marcy and Simon miniseries, which also starts this month.