The "Adventure Time" ongoing series from Boom! Studios is by far one of the best all-ages comics being published (between it and "Snarked" they're rapidly cornering that market), so I had high hopes for Meredith Gran's spin-off mini-series "Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens." Two issues in, though, it's settled down into an absolutely average comic.
That's not to say it's bad, of course. But in the case of "Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens" #2, the wit and humor that flies so fast and furious in the regular "Adventure Time" comic (as well as, of course, the animated series that it's based on) isn't quite at the same level. After setting up a road-trip/buddy-adventure story in the first issue, "Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens" #2 falls into predictability. Neither Princess Bubblegum nor Marceline come across as terribly enticing characters here; Bubblegum swerves between snippy and a little too saccharine, while Marceline comes across as a bit spoiled.
There also isn't a lot to chuckle at this issue. Gran appears to be going for some sort of pastiche of young-band-trying-to-make-it stories, and it makes me wonder just how much the all-ages target audience will warm to that. Aside from Marceline desperately wanting to drink the red out of a recording executive's big puffy lips, it ends up feeling flat from one scene to the next. It's not the right tone for an "Adventure Time" story. The art at least is nice; it's similar to what we see in "Adventure Time" on the screen, but stays true to Gran's art style as seen in comics like "Octopus Pie."
Better is Faith Erin Hicks' back-up story, where the duo travels to a portion of the world of Ooo where everything is blue. Since Marceline sucks the red color out of objects to survive, it's a strange but amusing story involving an attempt to set up a way for Marceline to still drink her red while allowing others to express themselves. It's a cute way to wrap up the issue, and it's nice that "Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens" gets the back-up strips in the way that the main "Adventure Time" comic does.
The primary "Adventure Time" is the sort of comic that I'll recommend to anyone, regardless of age or how much/little they've seen of "Adventure Time" the show. It's a book that appeals to just about anyone, and if you aren't already reading it, give it a try. "Adventure Time: Marceline and the Scream Queens" #2, however, is a book that feels like it's intended more for only the "Adventure Time" completest. Ultimately, that universal appeal just isn't present.