Well, wiggle me withers an' shiver me stirrups! What do ye gets when the fair beauties o' MY LITTLE PONY gets tangled up in a pirate caper? Why, ye gets "The Salty Sea Mare" and "X Marks The Spots," the components o' this latest two-issue ARRRrrrc. The "Mane 6" gets more'n what they bargained for when their vacation trip to Horseshoe Bay becomes a lengthy sea-venture with the mysterious and devil-may-care Captain Hoofbeard. Hoofbeard be after a strange treasure map where the "X" that marks the spot literally wanders all over the seascape. He's so intent on gettin' his hooves on that rag that he sends Twilight, Rarity, Pinkie Pie an' Rainbow Dash into a den o' pirates armed with nothin' but their wits ("And no cracks about going into battle unarmed!" as that kipper-livered Fenton Crackshell feller might be addin') just to get it back. There be follerin' a good ol' fashioned brawl and a close encounter with a giant crRRRRrrrab afore the lasses gets back with the pestiferous parchment. What be Hoofbeard really wantin' with the map, tho'? Why be Fluttershy obsessed with findin' a fishy friend that she earlier set free into the waters? Can those really be Seaponies our friends see before them (er, belay that an' change it to "below them," since they be standin' on board ship at the time, arter all)? Could our hale an' hearty Bearers o' the Elements o' HarrRRRmony really be' thinkin o'... mutiny? That ain't bein' very friendly, now, wouln'ja'say?
Thar be a few pieces o' loose riggin' whippin' around th' mainsail o' this story, but 'tis a pretty fair romp nonetheless. Heather Nufher, the scrivener o' that Nightmare Rarity story in issues #5-8, shows that she can turn out a mean comedy with plenty o' first-rate crackin'-wise if'n she has the hankerin' to do so, while artist Brenda Hickey be doin' a much better job hereabouts than she did in that APPLEJACK Micro-comic away back a piece, the one what had all them squashes in it. The one major flaw hereabouts be that Rainbow Dash, the Element o' Loyalty (least'n she was last time I checked), gets so carried away with her role as a pirate that she tries to stop the others when they decide to mutiny agin Hoofbeard. I be thinkin' that, while she surely be showin' loyalty to her TEMPORARY boss-man, she be fergettin' that her PRIMARY loyalty is to them other fillies first an' foremost. It don't make sense for her to be fergettin' that so quick. I don't mean to be stickin' a spanner into th' works so deadly-like, tho'. I had me a real enjoyable time perusin' these two fine comics.
* Pirate mode off*
Nothing against the two-issue arcs we have been getting of late, but I'm happy to see that MLP:FIM will be returning to the four-issue format starting in issue #17, in a story in which we will apparently be learning a great deal more about the legendary pony conjurer Starswirl the Bearded.