Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Comic review: MLP Friends Forever #7: Luna & Pinkie Pie

MLP Friends Forever comic #7 cover
"They didn't have sticks when I was banished"
Apologies for the delay in bringing you the latest My Little Pony: Friends Forever comic review. I had to order in this month's issue, and I've only just received it through the post. Anyway, this time around we have Jeremy Whitley doing the words, Tony Fleecs handling the drawing and Heather Breckel on colouring duties. There's certainly the potential for Luna and Pinkie to make a brilliant double act, but can they pull it off? You know what to do...

This comic is, first and foremost, a nice bit of fun. I know that sounds a bit ho-hum, but on the whole the Friends Forever series hasn't been about the huge, worlds-spanning plotlines that we've often seen in the main series – most recently in the "Reflections" arc. With FF, there's a definite sense that the creators are simply going for making a story that can be enjoyed as light comedy. And I think with this issue, they have. But dig a little deeper and you'll find that there is more to this comic than simply a whole load of slapstick.

Princess Luna is always an interesting character when she goes all fish-out-of-water, as we saw right back in Season 2, and that's what happens here. She's clearly unable truly to comprehend the "Chuckle-Lot" festival that Celestia founded (her sister isn't too hot on names, is she?) and so when she meets Pinkie, hilarity looks all set to ensue. Mind you, the fact that Pinkie's worryingly-named "Funny Farm" also contains her imaginary friends from "Party of One" suggests a much darker undertone...

Happy Pinkie and Dark Luna
Luna somehow looks more sinister because of the cream cake...
...which is really rather appropriate for Luna herself. Although it's never quite brought out into the open, there's a definite sense here that the Princess of the Night is still brittle and insecure after her long banishment. She has a bit of an inferiority complex about Celestia, but doesn't like the idea of making a fool of herself in front of her subjects. Pinkie, herself no stranger to introspection (something many writers forget) is therefore probably the ideal choice to help her. (Though Pinkie is almost scary in her reaction to being told she's "just a clown".)

Of course, there's a lot of silly slapstick in here as well. Luna's unintended prank combo on the Funny Farm is very nicely set up several pages earlier, and for some reason the sight of Celestia on a unicycle at Chuckle-Lot tickled me no end. There's also a great supporting role from Twilight, who's brought in to try to teach Luna to be funny, but ends up doing everything by the book and completely missing the point of how comedy actually works. The clever thing is that this plotline is itself funny.

Most of the IDW MLP comics have a number of references and call-backs, and this one is certainly no exception. Many of us in the UK won't appreciate that Fancy Shmancy is basically Eustace Tilley, but we can all enjoy the cameos from Flax Seed, Wheat Grass and even that appalling art critic Praiser Pan. (He upset Fluttershy. Of course he's appalling.) We even get a clever tie-in to the show, with Pinkie calling Luna "Nightmare Moon" as she does in "Luna Eclipsed", and the Princess still not having entirely forgiven her for that.

Luna tells Pinkie about the past
Alicorn Lyra? Clearly M. A. Larson had a hand in this issue...
I was really quite happy with this comic, which is certainly among the better Friends Forever episodes. Fleecs' art style will never be my favourite, but it's pretty unobjectionable here apart from a couple of odd depictions of Twilight. Whitley gets the characters right, and Hickey's colours are always bright. It's not going to leave you thinking "What if?" and "Why?" as much as "Reflections" did, and there's not much that's likely to stick in your mind in the long term, but it's a more than acceptable read.

  • Luna is portrayed well, with interesting semi-hidden depths
  • Pinkie is interestingly and three-dimensionally written
  • Some of the best art that Fleecs has produced for the series
  • Clever setup for the pie catapult joke
  • The return of Madame Le Flour & co!
  • A slight sense of missed opportunity with Celestia's portrayal
  • "Chuckle-lot" is not a very good pun, to say the least


  1. I Liked this Issue a lot more than some of the past issues. It felt more engaging,
    Pinkie Pie may not be best pony but she seems to get the best episodes and comics.
    However I felt after such a good build up the last 3 pages or so felt empty and rushed.

    1. Hmm, maybe that's related to my little niggle about Celestia. A little bit of deeper sisterly bonding there would have gone a long way.

    2. Easily one of the better comics in the Friends Forever run. Tony Fleecs' artwork is getting better with each issue he does.But I can't help but think that next months issue will blow this one out the park.

    3. I am looking forward so, so much to that issue. Those two mares have developed into a fantastic double act, especially in S4, so I have very high expectations. I hope they're fulfilled!

  2. I certainly enjoyed this one a lot, which was a welcome relief after some of those earlier issues that I found so disappointing. And especially when it featured Pinkie *and* Luna, so I was very glad they managed such a decent comic for them.

    There was definitely something very amusing about the thought of Celestia on that unicycle. I suppose it's because I can't imagine her doing that at all in the show itself, which was of course the whole point of the (admittedly not very well named) Chuckle-lot festival. I also see that you'd noticed the mysterious alicorn Lyra as well, which I also spotted. We'll have to assume that Lyra has been around a lot longer than anyone thought!

    I'd agree with Griffin that if there was one complaint I'd have made, it's that the last few pages seemed fairly rushed. I can't really see any easy way they could have got round that, as there didn't seem to be pages earlier in the story that felt like they could have been removed to give more room for the ending. Ah the fun of trying to squish a story into a specific number of pages...

    Something else that really tickled me was Luna's comment while at the Funny Farm (itself a name that amused me no end) when she said "You are wise, good turnip." No idea why but I found that especially silly, in a good way.

    I got the subscription cover - not sure why Pinkie looks so worried on there, unless she's fretting that Luna has nicked all her balloons. Mostly I thought the art in the issue was great. A few hiccups (Twilight's face on page 1 at the bottom right looks a bit odd) but otherwise it was good stuff, and the colours really brought it to life. :)

    1. "You are wise, good turnip" sounds as though it ought to be the first line of a poem. Maybe one day... ;)

      Agreed on the TwiFace thing. It's much better art in general than Fleecs could manage for, say, the Fluttershy micro, though, so I suppose I shouldn't complain.