Animals can be slightly disconcerting, because they don’t necessarily emote the way humans do. It’s a little weird when you encounter one, particularly in the wild and you just can’t tell what it’s thinking. It could be friendly, hostile, hungry, or something else, and you just don’t know until you see it up close.
So Halloween is getting close, and Boom! Studios plays off those animal mysteries in the Adventure Time 2016 Spooktacular by having the entire book revolve around Gunter, the Ice King’s Penguin. Gunter is one of those characters who has a lot of personality without displaying any of it at all. The Spooktacular presents six short stories of the cast’s bizarre encounters with the penguin. It’s not quite a “Halloween” comic—and I’m not clear that the Land of Ooo celebrates anything akin to Halloween—but it gets close enough in keeping the stories in the realm of creepy.
The Spooktacular remains entirely child-friendly, however, even as it dips into the weird. “Movie Night”—the short which keeps the most within the Adventure Time “house” style—revolves around a dream where Ooo’s horror-based characters try to eat Gunter and run from him instead. “The Guntering” parodies that horror classic The Shining, though not in any way that involves axe-wielding dads or men in dog costumes performing sex acts. “Hatastrophe” remains a pure comedy story as Gunter repeatedly tries to frighten the other characters for the purpose of winning a hat in a scare contest.
In other words, Spooktacular is a decent kid-friendly comic to offer your young’uns as a Halloween treat. It’s probably too pricey to buy a stack of them for a trick-or-treat offering (at $7.99, this thing isn’t cheap), but it’s just the right price for a kid who needs a spooky-yet-pleasant distraction for an October evening.
Rating: Three Jakes out of Five.