Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Comics Review: MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC #24 (IDW Publishing, October 2014)

October is was Fluttershy Month at IDW's House of "MY LITTLE PONY Comics," with both the regular title and FRIENDS FOREVER giving featured roles to the diffident yellow pegasus.  Let's just say that I had... markedly different reactions to these Flutter-focused efforts.  OK, let me lift the veil completely: This was the good one.  Hey, now you have a negative review to look forward to!  Life is good.


MLP #24 tackles a hitherto-underutilized (outside of fanfics, anyway) genre in the MLP canon, that of time travel.  Twilight Sparkle used a special potion when she was flung back in time to witness dramatic events in Equestria's history in Part One of the season four opener, "Princess Twilight Sparkle."  Given that Discord and the Cutie Mark Crusaders are involved in the MLP #24 story, we would expect a lighter tone, and we get one... for the most part.  Granted, Fluttershy would find drying the dishes to be traumatic, so getting her to think that an event was a potentially deadly adventure would not be that much of a stretch.  Leading the ever-excitable CMC on a wilderness journey to observe animals -- I'm assuming that the fillies called 'Shy in as a "visiting expert" for the purpose -- Fluttershy runs into former antagonist and newly-minted "friend" Discord, whose post-reformation relationship with the pegasus has become a recurring theme in the series.  Since Discord has also had relatively pleasant dealings with the CMC, he sees no reason why he shouldn't butt into the field trip and take the girls off in his own time machine (um, isn't he supposed to be a god, or the local equivalent thereof?  Why would he need to use a device?) to encounter strange beasties from the past.  The group visit "the legendary lost civilization of Anugypt" -- no ponies there, but some startling and unexpected parallels to the origins of the Elements of Harmony nonetheless, not to mention an unresolved mess that Discord had made during his chaotic earlier life -- and take quick tours of "the underwater kelpie city of Coltlantis" (yep, every single fictional character runs across that dump sooner of later) and "the era of prehistoric ponies" (which actually look like normal dinosaurs, but whatever).  Discord blithely ignores Fluttershy's placidly voiced entreaties that the gang should go home until the pegasus actually seems to be in danger.  He then shows his newfound sense of responsibility by calling in an ancient "butterdragon," "the last friend he ever had" (until Fluttershy, of course -- and I do need to point out that Discord never HAD a friend prior to Fluttershy, according to the show itself), to save the day and bringing the ladies back to the present.

Jeremy Whitley's script is solid, especially in terms of how he handles Discord.  Now that Discord is on the side of good, sort of, it will be tempting to write him as a sort of superpowered Quackerjack; Whitley avoids that trap.  The real revelation, though, is Brenda Hickey's ever-improving artwork.  That squash fiasco seems long ago and far away now.  She even crafts an attractive and dynamic cover.

FRIENDS FOREVER #10 coming soon.  Prepare yourselves for the impact.

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