Written and illustrated by Natasha Allegri
“The Sweater Bandit”
Written and illustrated by Noelle Stevenson
Retails for $3.99
If you browsed art-driven websites like DeviantArt, you probably viewed a few gender-swapped fan art during your time there. Gender swapping is a popular practice among artists who want to see their favorite characters as the opposite sex. Natasha Allegri, a character designer for Cartoon Network’s Adventure Time, joined in on the fun by drawing Finn the Human and Jake the Dog as Fionna the Human and Cake the Cat. Fionna and Cake became a big hit with the fans, inspiring countless fan art and starring in an episode of their own (with another episode planned for season five). Given the high demand for Fionna and Cake, it’s no wonder why KaBOOM! decided to create a mini-series about them and gave the task to Allegri’s herself. Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake #1 fulfills the need for more Fionna and Cake, even if their adventure was cut short.
After Cake finishes telling Fionna a bedtime story, they discover a pack of baby fire lions running away from the Ice Queen. Fearing for the baby fire lions’ safety, Fionna and Cake step out of their comfy home and into the cold monsoon to kick the evil queen’s butt. Like the regular Adventure Time ongoing by KaBOOM!, issue one of Fionna & Cake assumes you’re familiar with their animated debut while remaining accessible for newcomers. Cake’s bedtime story, which serves as the opening to this issue, is visually and emotionally beautiful. Fionna may criticize the story for its lack of action, but images like the fire woman crying lava tears is one that will stay in your head for a long time. As a whole, issue one is full of appealing designs and comical expressions by Allegri, with Britt Wilson’s elegant lettering adding much to its beauty.
If there’s one drawback to Allegri’s artwork, it’s that her panels are bigger than they need to be. The excessive size of the panels also contributes to a flaw with this issue: the main story is too short. As entertaining as Allegri’s story was, it concluded way too soon. If there were less full page layouts and oversized panels, then there could have been more meat on this issue’s bones. With that said, there are some great full pages layouts like Cake’s hilarious assortments of swords for Fionna.
In contrast, Noelle Stevenson’s “The Sweater Bandit” is more satisfying despite being only four pages long. Like Allegri, Stevenson’s artwork is charming, but the panels are arranged more appropriately for the story. It’s also amusing to see Fionna wear Cake as a sweater as she searches for her and her friends’ sweaters. It was puzzling to see Marshal Lee, Fionna’s vampire friend, unaffected by the sunlight, but the small hiccup is forgivable.
Even though the fun ends too soon in Adventure Time with Fionna & Cake #1, I’m still looking forward to the rest of the series. Allegri’s involvement brings so much life into the book and the story’s good so far, albeit short. I’m also excited to see how other artists will interpret Fionna and Cake in future issues. Adventure Time has been a terrific inspiration for promising artists. Seeing the gender-swapped fan art of Finn and Jake become stars of their own cements this the show’s love for their community even further.