Comic Review: My Little Pony – Friendship is Magic, Issue #7
Hard to believe that in less than three years, the fandom of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has expanded the world of Equestria beyond the boundaries of the animated series. The internet is alive with fanfiction, fanart, and music remixes from the show.
Spinoffs were inevitable, and that’s what’s happened thanks to IDW Publishing. Tying into the world of the animated series, the comic series appears to do for the fandom, what the Expanded Universe has done for Star Wars: take familiar characters and places, into realms that are limited by the source material. You won’t get swearing ponies or adult-appropriate material, but you will most likely see storylines that wouldn’t pass muster by Hasbro to appear in animated form.
Issue #7 brings us the third part of the comic’s second major (4-part) storyline.
After the mane 6 ponies (Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, and Fluttershy) end up having a series of nightmares, they are shocked when Rarity is whisked away to the moon. Apparently, the dark spirits that had possessed Princess Luna, turning her into the dreaded Nightmare Moon, were never fully destroyed. Preying on Rarity’s fears and elemental powers of ‘help and generosity,’ they end up overtaking her, turning the prissy pony into: Nightmare Rarity.
This proves a rather interesting dilemma: with Rarity overtaken by these forces, the Elements of Harmony that were used to repel the dark spirits can’t be summoned. As well, Princess Luna holds her stoic demeanor, while seeming troubled over the events. Though the other 5 still trust her and maintain she is their friend, one can’t help but wonder if there is some revelation coming down the pike, that may make their trust in her waver.
The latest in this 4-issue story arc continues with the artistic/writing duo of Amy Mebberson, and Heather Nuhfer. What’s lovely about these two, is they have been all across fandom with their talents. Nuhfer has written for the Fraggle Rock comic series, and Amy’s art has run the gamut from Muppets to Disney (she also worked for DisneyToon Studios in Australia!) .
Mebberson’s art style seems a little more whimsical and streamlined than Price’s, whose artistic work looks like ponies by way of MAD or Cracked Magazine (not that that’s a bad thing, mind you). The streamlining of characters definitely comes out in Princess Luna, whose Alicorn features are a bit more angular in the animated series, but seem ‘softened’ with Amy’s art style.
The latest story arc also seems to be going into an area that may cause some unease among fans, in that this storyline does have humor, but seems to be going for a plot that runs a little more ‘serious’ in nature. It also serves as a call-back to the events in the animated series’ introductory story arc, The Mare in the Moon. The little shout-outs to previous storylines help establish familiarity to fans, and jog their memories regarding what has come before, but I do have to wonder about those that may just be joining the fandom, and if they’ll be able to keep up.
Also brought into play in issue #7, is Spike’s crush on Rarity. He ends up getting a little more attention in this issue, with a rather touching few pages near the end.
On a (slightly) negative note, I must say that there are a few areas in this issue that felt…muddled. A few panels don’t seem to have very good ‘flow’ in telling the story, and a few feel like they could have been restructured to get down the narration of the scenes involved. As well, there are a few jokes that just seem to fall flat.
Overall, the story continues to build on the foundations of the previous two issues. We all have a pretty good idea how the story will end, but the big question is, “how” will it end? It feels like a storm is coming, and issue #8 is when it makes landfall.
On a final note, I thought I’d share the image on the left. I recently attended the C2E2 expo in Chicago, where I got the chance to meet several of the persons working on the MLP:FiM comic series. Meeting Amy Mebberson in person was definitely a highlight, as she drew this image of Fluttershy for me on an issue #1 variant sketch cover.
You can find out more about her artistic endeavors, by going to www.amymebberson.com.