The ComiQuad: Adventure Time with Emily Who? Review

Boom! Wham! Pow! The ComiQuad is a column dedicated to the spandex-laden world of comics and superheroes. It goes up each Wednesday and will alternate between comic book reviews and other comic book news. Reviews shall try to be spoiler-free. And it’s back! Zam!

Emily and the Strangers #1

Emily and the Strangers #1 | Cover courtesy of Dark Horse.

At last I am introduced to the darling gothic gal who adorns much of the merchandise in every Hot Topic store I go into: Miss Emily the Strange. I get immediately suspicious of any character or comic born entirely from branding and merchandise, so I went into the experience with really low expectations. Fortunately, Emily the Strange’s adventures in Emily and the Strangers #1 are no mere brand plug; they’re a visually stunning and overall quite entertaining comic experience.

The be-all and end-all of this comic is the art. Emily Ivie (it must be the first name) injects a wonderfully light-hearted gothic flair into the book that charms the reader from the get-go. Emily (the Strange, that is) floats in a suave, sassy and cool manner amidst page layouts that are very creative. The M.C. Escher painting of Emily’s mind stands out as a highlight, as do Emily’s animated cats and the book’s stellar coloring.

Ivie’s palette strongly compliments Mariah Huehner and Rob Reger’s playful and fun writing.

Huehner and Reger succeed in nailing just the right amount of humor throughout the entire book. From the crazy shenanigans her cats get her into to the “zorking” good dialogue, Emily and the Strangers is a very pleasant read. The opening issue spent just enough time introducing Emily, her cast of cats, and her lifestyle before beginning to segue into the main story of her meeting “the Strangers.” It’s a cool cat comic for people of all ages to read.

Review 8/10

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #1

Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #1 | Cover courtesy of IDW Publishing
Doctor Who: Prisoners of Time #1 | Cover courtesy of IDW Publishing

No television show or fan community intimidates me more than the Doctor Who fan community. Fans are a passionate and loyal bunch, and the show’s enormous mythos scares me. Last time I reviewed a Doctor Who comic, the experience was mediocre. Before reviewing this comic, I was nervous. After reading this comic, I was disappointed.

The biggest sore thumb for me was the art. In the opening pages it was decent, but anything past that was thoroughly disappointing. Sometimes the faces, when up close, were passable. Other times, however, expressions were oddly contorted and body positioning was bizarre. I appreciate artist Simon Fraser’s attempt to keep the faces unique, but, more often than not, it made those facial features muddled and ugly.

My favorite part of Scott and David Tipton’s writing was the beginning. In a few short pages, they explained the Doctor Who mythos in a very accessible way. It was a wonderful way to introduce a new reader in the first issue.

Unfortunately, everything else in the story fell flat afterwards.

The characters were somewhat charming but ultimately boring. The dialogue was stiff and lacked any sense of humor or any vestige of strong emotion. I never felt particularly threatened by the comic’s antagonist, and the historical setting was only tepidly interesting.

My search for an interesting, engaging, and easy to understand Doctor Who comic continues.

Review 4/10

Adventure Time #12

Adventure Time #12 | Cover courtesy of BOOM! Studios
Adventure Time #12 | Cover courtesy of BOOM! Studios

All-ages comics are great. There’s no ego, no desperate attempt on behalf of the writer to prove how “edgy” or clever they are, and no gratuitously inappropriate artwork. They’re just about fun.

Adventure Time #12, much like the popular television series, exemplifies this.

Ryan North’s writing deftly captures the distinct voices of the Adventure Time characters. Opening with the deadpan, confident, ridiculous and silly Lumpy Space Princess was the immediate hook that got me excited to read. I seriously want an ongoing comic with her and her hot date Doctor Julius Abshaver right now. 

North handles the other characters similarly well.

The overall plot was strong, although I can attest to a slight wane in interest in small patches throughout the story. Standout moments include the entrance of Truth Field Projection Princess and the relationship between a pinata and his pastry-friend.

The artwork by Shelli Paroline and Braden Lamb makes it appear as if the comic stepped right out of the television show. The coloring was vibrant and exciting, the drawing expressive and appropriately silly.

The back-up feature, a “Make Your Own Mini-Comic” tutorial for kids (and ComiQuad reviewers alike) by Alexis Frederick-Frost and Andrew Arnold was a fun, educational supplement to the comic.

Did I mention this comic was fun? I’m not sure I did.

Review: 8.5/10


About Jon Erik Christianson

Jon Christianson (COM/CAS '14) is the zany, misunderstood cousin of The Quad family. His superpowers include talking at the speed of light, tripping over walls, and defying ComiQuad deadlines with the greatest of ease. His lovely copyeditors don't appreciate that last one. If for some reason you hunger for more of his nonsense, follow him at @HonestlyJon on Twitter or contact him at!

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