I’m unabashedly a fan of Marceline the Vampire Queen. For those of you who don’t know, Marceline is a 1,000+-year-old vampire/demon originally hailing from the Nightosphere, land of all things creepy and dangerous. Marceline’s family is having a reunion, and she doesn’t want to go alone, because family stuff is awkward even when you’re not the spawn of the Lord of Evil. In a surprising turn, accompanying her is Jake the Dog who really just needs something to do because he’s bored.
Let’s start with that wonderful dynamic. There have been a few Marceline and Finn-focused episodes of the show, but it’s rare to pair Jake on his own with another character, never mind someone he originally wasn’t a huge fan of like Marceline. The result is brotastic. Marceline and Jake’s dialogue easily snaps together as they throw out their silly, “hip” sayings and support one another through awkward situations and challenges alike. Although Seeing Red is, without a doubt, a Marceline-focused tale, Jake provides invaluable moral support and a levity that’s needed when the issues Marceline deals with get a little weighty.
Writer Kate Leth does a fantastic job managing the Adventure Time balance between all-ages comedy and discussion of real-world issues. In Seeing Red she tackles an especially difficult one, how we all relate to family members and what it’s like to return home after being away for a while. I “awwwwed” at least as much as I laughed reading this graphic novel.
Zachary Sterling has a perfect Adventure Time art style. I swear his rendition of characters makes them look like they could be taken directly from the show. Given its Nightosphere setting, Sterling designs a whole lot of new set pieces and characters for this particular adventure and goes full out with the demon/monster themes present from pre-established characters. My one gripe art-wise in Seeing Red isgray scale. While the Nightosphere isn’t exactly known for having a diverse color palette, I’d love to have actually seen red and a whole host of other colors, especially where the new characters were concerned.
Whether you’re a Marceline fan, want a break from the Land of Ooo to check out the Nightosphere, or are looking for a saccharine family story about a group of demons, Seeing Red is well worth picking up.
Five Battleship Cats out of Five