It's a little ironic that it was the "Adventure Time" comic that got me to finally watch the "Adventure Time" cartoon, because I'm sure for most people the reverse path is more likely. That said, it's to Ryan North, Shelli Paroline, and Braden Lamb's credit that the "Adventure Time" comic book feels so much like the cartoon that if I didn't know better I'd think they were adapting an actual episode into the comic book format.
North's script has just the right feel for an "Adventure Time" episode. It has a lot of exuberance on the part of our heroes Finn and Jake, there's a remarkable amount of silliness going on at any given moment, but the stakes are still high in spite of the humor. So sure, this is a story where everyone has been sucked into a massive bag of holding and trapped in a dessert dimension... but it's also one where that bag of holding is being used by an evil lich that is destroying the entire planet and is seemingly unstoppable.
What's nice about "Adventure Time" #3 is that there isn't a deus ex machina whipped out to save the day; Finn and Jake have to use their brains and their courage to stop the lich, not a magical sword or pendant. It's also fun to see the plans that fail; for kids it's a good "try and try again" message, but for the rest of us it's just hysterical to see the different attempts made along the way. North is clearly having fun, with little asides between the characters crammed into panels, or coming up with ridiculous things for Jake to stretch himself into. It's also rapid-fire in terms of pacing, reminding me a lot of the show and how it fits a lot into just eleven minutes.
Paroline's art is clean and uncluttered, just like the show itself. She's mastered using just a few wiggly lines to draw the cast of "Adventure Time," and as the artist on the main feature she's a good match. I wouldn't be at all surprised if some readers mistook Paroline's art for animation cel reproductions instead, it's that similar in style.
The back-up features this month are by Michael DeForge and Zac Gorman. I like having different alternative comic creators getting to step in with each issue, and DeForge's story in particular is utterly bizarre. There's no other way to describe a story that involves the Lumpy Space Princess creating homes for bacon bacteria, so we'll just leave it at that and say that it needs to be read in order to be believed. It says a lot about the diversity of "Adventure Time" that it can fit in just as well as the main feature, though, despite being utterly different tonally.
"Adventure Time" in both comic and cartoon form is the sort of creation that appeals to all ages; I actually know far more adults into "Adventure Time" than kids, after all. If you've never watched the television show, don't let that keep you away from the comic. As someone who came into it via this format, trust me: it's a lot of fun. Great stuff all around.