Thursday, 19 December 2013

Comic review: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic issue 14

MLP:FiM comic #14 cover A
Dash! Aaah! Queen of the impossible
As an early Christmas present, IDW gave us not one but two My Little Pony comics this week. I'll review the final instalment in the Micro-series in due course, but here I'm going to concentrate on issue #14 of the main series. This is the second and concluding part of the two-issue "pirates" arc by Heather Nuhfer, Brenda Hickey and Heather Breckel. I was fairly impressed by issue #13, and I was more than happy to hand over the usual £3.15 to Nostalgia & Comics in Birmingham. After the break, I'll talk about what I thought.

The story was quite interestingly told, with plenty of action (especially when Rainbow Dash was in the thick of things) but also some interesting character interaction as well. I'm still slightly unsure about the Fluttershy and Gil subplot; it was almost perfect for 'Shy but somehow didn't entirely click. What worked really well, though, was the twist near the end, when it was revealed that Captain Hoofbeard's lost "Jewel" was not a gem at all, but in fact a beloved mermare of that name.

Captain Hoofbeard gets gills and fins
No, I'm not going to sing it. Not happening. Shoo- No. NO
Oh yes, mermare. We didn't quite have actual seaponies in this issue, but mermares are as close as you can get otherwise. There seems to have been a conscious nod here to Under the Sparkling Sea, a feeling underlined on the very last page with the appearance of a Manta Hawk. (Drawn rather impressively, I must add.) Assuming it was a deliberate crossover, it was a really nice one. No mention of Aquastria or the mysterious Cosmic Council from that book, but I suppose you can't have it all ways.

I touched on one aspect of the art a moment ago, so let's consider it in the round. I like Hickey's style on the whole, and thought it was the best aspect of the otherwise moderate Applejack micro. Her Cover A for issue #14 is especially good, as were a couple of things on the opening few pages: the first appearance of the giant crab was one, and Winkie Pinkie at the bottom of the third page was another. I don't like the way she draws wings quite as much as Andy Price's style, but that's a minor complaint.

Pinkie Pie reveals yet another hidden talent
But Crab just smiled and gave me a dandelion sandwich
There were some amusing references tucked away in here, too: my own favourite of those was the "Pona Lisa" in the treasure stash on page two. There's also the nice in-universe reference of the "Elements of Harmony" sail design. There were probably some One Piece nods, but I know nothing about that, so nyah. I suspect there of being the odd shout-out to The Little Mermaid during the last few pages, but again it's a while since I've seen that, so I can't be sure.

Were there any problems? Well, yes: I am getting seriously tired of Pinkie's fart jokes: one was too many; two is just plain annoying. Without being funny as well. There's some drifting in the story before we actually make it to the point about Jewel. Also, Fluttershy drinks the Pineapple Truth Serum and lets out a line about putting her friend (Gil) in a coconut. Applejack comments directly on this, but doesn't seem to make the connection. Finally, Rainbow Dash: pirates say "Arrr!" not "Argh!" Well, unless someone's stuck a cutlass in them.

Fluttershy fires the cannon
Flutterrage had nothing on this...
All that aside, this was another solid comic. It maybe wasn't quite as thrilling as a piratey comic should be, and it didn't compensate for that with quite enough laughs. It got fairly close on both counts, though, and the well drawn and finely coloured scenes gave it a good atmosphere. It's hard to dislike a story in which Fluttershy fires a cannon simply to get ponies' attention, or in which Spike has to talk loudly about how girls probably chat about candy apples.

  • Attractively drawn and coloured throughout
  • Mermares and Manta Hawk were impressive
  • Nice twist regarding Jewel
  • Fluttershy and the cannon!
  • Rarely really clicked into top gear
  • Pinkie's toilet humour is not funny
  • The Gil subplot was all over the place


  1. I'd have to see this in order to find out what I think of Pinkie's jokes. Fart jokes are hit and miss for me.

  2. (I was the anon here)

    What was that fart joke that was in this issue (which was good btw)? I seem to have missed it.