Monday, 20 October 2014

Comic review: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic issue #24

IDW MLP comic #24, cover A by Brenda Hickey
"It's all chaosy-waosy, really..."
Apologies for this review being quite so late: for some reason (I don't know what it was) IDW failed to get its My Little Pony comics to UK distributors until a full week after they were released in the US. This happened once before, in the comic's early days, but it's always a pain and I hope it was just a blip. Happily, Level Seven Comics really pushed the boat out to get it to me as fast as possible. Anyway, this month we saw the first collaboration between writer Jeremy Whitley and artist Brenda Hickey. With stalwart Heather Breckel doing the colouring, would issue #24 prove a hit?

For the most part, it works well. The CMC, Discord and Fluttershy does feel a little like two Friends Forevers stuck together – and I'll address that in a minute – but it's often a lot of fun. Everyone's favourite draconequus does as he always should do, veering somewhat unpredictably between Reformed and Chaotic, generally being both at once to some extent. Whitley does a good job with writing his character, one that's caught out plenty of writers before.

I also enjoyed the trips in Discord's "smaller on the inside" time machine. Some readers may feel that the Doctor Who references are over-the-top here, but to be fair this very thing is lampshaded by (who else?) Discord at one point! Besides, it lets us get to the main external location: Anugypt. I'm probably missing a reference in the name: it seems a little unimaginative on the face of it. But it's an interesting place, and I wouldn't have been that surprised to find out that Daring Do had been there at some point!

The CMC and Fluttershy
Fluttershy wins the "Best Hat" contest, though
I generally like Hickey's artistic style, and I think it works well in this issue. It's sufficiently different from show style to work in ink, but all the characters are easy to tell apart. Her Doctor Hooves drawing, admittedly only a one-panel thing, is notably good. Breckel's colours are great, one odd flub regarding the CMC's hats aside, but we all knew they would be. There's a reasonably imaginative panel design, too: nothing that startling, but at least it's not just page after page of squares.

Continuity is a bit strange in this issue. Discord being an honorary CMC is fine, at least for the comics: that was established back in Friends Forever #2. I'm not sure, though, how we can square the established canon that Fluttershy was Discord's first ever friend with the clear affection he shows for Baast the cat and Hubert the butterdragon here. In Baast's case, it's hinted (that ?jealous hiss) that it might be a bit more than simple friendship – an aspect of this comic I wasn't so keen on – but with Hubert? Maybe it's just another nod to Doctor Who's notoriously tangled continuity!

One thing that concerned me slightly when this comic was announced was that it seemed rather too similar to the CMC/Discord Friends Forever, with just a little added Fluttershy. Unfortunately, I think this was a problem: the CMC/Discord interaction was great, but I thought that Fluttershy (as so often) didn't quite have justice done to her character. The Discord/Fluttershy relationship is fascinating, and deserves to be explored in a little bit more depth than we saw here.

Our heroes enter the pyramid
One or two of those hieroglyphics look awfully familiar...
I didn't see a whole lot of non-Who references. Apparently there's a Sailor Moon one, but I don't watch that so missed it. Still, a comic doesn't need to go to Cook/Price extremes to be fun. It does suffer from a couple of things: notably the irritating ship-teasing and (as with several other issues) an overly abrupt ending: two more pages might have done it wonders. Even so, this was a solid comic. Not among the very best, and probably not up to the quality of the Annual's Power Ponies story, but well worth a look.

  • Good interaction between the CMC and Discord
  • Anugypt was an intriguing new setting
  • Baast and her Not-The-Mane-Six friends were fun
  • Most of the Doctor Who references hit the mark
  • Looks good, with Hickey's usual attractive art
  • Another issue with a rushed ending
  • I wasn't a big fan of the nudge-wink shipping stuff
  • Fluttershy was once more slightly underwhelming

No comments:

Post a Comment