Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Comic review: MLP Friends Forever #10: Fluttershy and Iron Will

MLP Friends Forever #10 main cover
This is an incredible cover. Geddit? No? Oh, never mind
It's comic review time again! This month, Friends Forever features a combination we haven't seen since "Putting Your Hoof Down" back in S2 of the show itself: Best Pony with Best Minotaur. What could possibly go wrong? Christina Rice, who wrote last month's pretty good Granny/FlimFlam issue, has the writing job once again, while stalwart Agnes Garbowska brings her distinctive artistic style to the table. (You see? I can write pointless advertorialese no problem.)

Anyway, the issue opens with Iron Will returning to Fluttershy's cottage. After what happened in the show, the rest of the Mane Six are taking no chances and (rather heart-warmingly) all line up to defend their friend. As things turn out, though, the minotaur is actually coming to 'Shy for advice: he's been kicked out of the labyrinth by "the mizzuz" (*raises eyebrow* really?) for being "too aggressive" – we never get anything specific – and that she's ordered him to find his Inner Pony.

This sets off a pretty fun outing. It does take a little too long to get going, which is a shame as there's a lot of amusement to be had with Iron Will trying to be all sensitive new-age guy. Inevitably, one of his first challenges is making a salad for Angel. Who is presented with something looking remarkably like what Fluttershy gave him in S2E19. Without the cherry. The result isn't quite the same, as the minotaur is too heavy to be slapped out into the mailbox, but the rabbit's feelings clearly are!

The Mane Six (well, Five plus Spike) prepare to defend Fluttershy
That "and Spike" is a little bit last-second, Twilight...
This scene is also notable for another of the comics' periodic flirtations with death (so to speak). IW's rhyme here is: "Put food on my head, consider yourself d—". Yeah. Not sure I entirely like that: even as a figure of speech, it makes the minotaur seem just a little bit nastier than I like to see him. This is actually one of only a couple of couplets he utters, which I think is a bit of a missed opportunity. Still, otherwise the writing is fine, allowing for the slightly slow pace I identified earlier on. Fluttershy is nicely in character, as is Iron Will.

Garbowska's art is something you either love or hate. I really like it, and the drawings here look just as you'd expect from her. There are a couple of large-scale pictures: a full-page image of Iron Will reaching the end of his tether, which is okay, and a double-page spread of the Mane Six having a picnic, which is really nice. (It's a little bit predictable, though, that Rainbow Dash hates sprouts. What is with the hate for these tasty veggies?) Fluttershy is nicely drawn throughout.

The references and shout-outs aren't all very thick on the ground this time round, though we do get a nice bit of continuity with Twilight's tree-castle at the start. Instead, this Friends Forever is (surprisingly given Iron Will's presence) a somewhat quieter, more laid-back comic than some of its predecessors. It may not be to everyone's taste, but I think it's pleasant enough. By no means a classic, and it does have faults, but I think it's worth a read.

Iron Will inside Fluttershy's cottage
Note Angel's absence from the picture of "innocent creatures"!
  • Nice contrast between the two principals
  • Amusing call-backs to "Putting Your Hoof Down"
  • A bit of variation in the panel layout
  • The ponies' determination to defend Fluttershy
  • A bit slow-paced, especially at the start
  • Not entirely convinced by the "mizzuz" stuff
  • Come on, Dash. Sprouts are great!

No comments:

Post a Comment