Adventure Time: Bitter Sweets

STK656111Author: Kate Leth
Artist: Zachary Sterling
Release Date: November 5, 2014
Publisher: BOOM! Studios
Source: BOOM! Studios Press Site
Genre(s): All-Ages, Comedy, Drama

Rating: ★★★★☆
Review Spoilers: Low

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Every ten years, Princess Bonnibel Bubblegum has to go on a journey to the outer edges of Ooo to recharge the gems that maintain the Candy Kingdom. The time has come again, but the journey she takes to visit old friends becomes a mission of responsibility.

Bitter Sweets is the fourth Adventure Time OGN and the second by Kate or Die! creator Kate Leth and the fourth illustrated by Zachary Sterling. Where the team’s previous outing was focused on Marceline making the extra none more goth journey across the Nightosphere to get her bass back, Bitter Sweets is pretty much exclusively focused on Bubblegum being a responsible leader as she has to work to help her friends.

I’ll admit that I’m super behind on the Adventure Time series right now, but some of the stories coming from the comics have been irresistible. Stories like Playing With Fire and the previously mentioned Seeing Red have done a great job focusing on the ladies of the show who many not get their own episodes all the time. Bitter Sweets is no different. On the series, Bubblegum’s responsibility to her kingdom is often presented as a burden, causing her to make tough choices that often paint her as a bad guy or “crazy.” Leth’s story of Bubblegum making a journey across Ooo to recharge the gems that run her kingdom show the burdens she deals with, but it also shows that she is a great leader and friend as well. She worries about how to confront her friends about their misdeeds, but once she gains the courage, she isn’t afraid to throw the hammer down. Leth understands the complexity of Bubblegum’s role to the Candy Kingdom and it shows.

The art is just lush as well. Sterling has always had clean lines and great designs for the character’s clothing as well as new characters. Bubblegum’s outfits in this story especially are particularly on point. This time though, we get the added benefit of the story being in color. Whitney Cogar’s coloring on the story manages to be bright and cozy all at once. It’s still Ooo, but it’s an Ooo that feels like going home after a long day. And really, in a story about seeing people for the first time in ten years, that effect is perfect.

Compared to Seeing Red, the story is a little less comedic since it deals more with a conflict between kingdoms. However, there are still some choice lines from Bonni and Peppermint Butler kind of steals the show with his complete and utter pyromania. Not to mention that the original character of Princess Fern is kind of magical. I hope she appears again in a future story.

Really though, the cherry on top of this story is Marceline escorting Bonnibel off for a dance towards the end. OTP forever…

Final Thoughts: If you’re a fan of Princess Bubblegum or stories about awesome lady leaders, Adventure Time: Bitter Sweets is right up your alley. Leth’s writing is on point for showing the type of leader Bonni is. Not to mention the art by Sterling and Cogar is so lovely and cozy, I want to curl up into it. Also, be sure to keep reading for the silent comic at the end by Meredith McClaren about Forest Princess.

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