"Adventure Time: The Flip Side" #3 by Paul Tobin, Colleen Coover and Wook Jin Clark opens with Finn and Jake trudging through the "Post-Apocalyptic World," where they face a "rubble rumble" with the help of their friend Marceline the Vampire Queen. After the disappointment of the "Lecherous Heart" break-in mission from last issue, our heroes hit upon another possible solution to their quest. Tobin, Coover and Clark play more with their flipping/reversing theme while taking the story into new territory.
Tobin and Coover's humor and loopy plotting have really hit their stride in issues #2 and #3. The variety of jokes is excellent. There are tongue-in-cheek moments like Marceline "Showing a Bit of Leg!" as an action move worthy of its own sound effect. There are background jokes, like Finn trying (and failing) to mimic Marceline's dashing "Wall Punch" over the course of several panels. There are plenty of wacky hi-jinks and absurd plot turns and a generous amount of wordplay and fourth-wall-breaking. The flashback sequence to an award show with an Ice King as a contender for "Best Princess Kidnapping" was an especially nice touch.
The plot as a whole for "Adventure Time: The Flip Side" #3 is one big joke, just like issue #2 was -- once again, Finn and Jake are foiled in their topsy-turvy princess-kidnapping mission, this time served up with the irony of Marceline's net contribution to the mission. Just like in "Adventure Time: The Flip Side" #2, the heroes are back at square one by the end of the issue. Readers will likely see to even more imaginative failures in future issues before the Princess Painting mission is resolved.
The new characters that Tobin, Coover and Clark introduce in "Adventure Time: The Flip Side" are memorable, although they function more as plot devices or joke setup than as additional protagonists or antagonists. The name of Princess Skyblade Harbinger is as over-the-top as the character herself. The single funniest panel in "Adventure Time: The Flip Side" #3 is where Monkey Wizard is so depressed over the loss of his favorite pet, Mr. Biscuits that he ignores all the princesses around him (who are petulantly offended by his lack of interest in abducting them). The appearance by Tree Trunks also generates a humorous contrast between her gentle ways and the scuffle of battle.
Clark's art is crucial to the success of the jokes and characters. His exaggerated cartoony facial expressions are hilarious, and match the dialogue and pacing perfectly. His Finn is especially goofy. Also, Clark is excellent with action. When the characters run around or fight, each panel is full of enjoyably manic energy and movement. Cogar's coloring makes the desert setting pretty with a rich, warm palette and admirable attention to highlighting Clark's detail work in the marketplace caravan scene.
"Adventure Time: The Flip Side" #3 is ridiculous fun, building organically on the characters from the parent series while carving out its own off-beat territory. Boom continues to line up consistently strong creative teams for every "Adventure Time" spin-off miniseries. "Adventure Time: The Flip Side" is definitely worth checking out, either as a longtime fan or as a new reader.