Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Comic review: Friends Forever #16: Diamond Tiara & Silver Spoon

MLP Friends Forever comic #16 sub cover
Jenn Blake's Sub cover: simple but effective
Villains month is over, and so we're back to nice, friendly My Little Pony characters like, er, Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon. Oh well, looks like there was an extra entry! This intriguing pairing (well, for Friends Forever) brings a new name to the IDW comics: Jenn Blake, who's quite well known for her pony art already, just not drawing a full comic. Jeremy Whitley handles the words, while Heather Breckel is the one with the colours. This comic looked interesting to me; was it? Let's see.

What I was hoping to see in this book was an insight into the friendship between Ponyville's two most obnoxious young bullies. Fanfic authors have done all sorts of things with their relationship, so it shouldn't really be too hard for professional comic creators to do the same. Unfortunately, they don't really manage it: you won't have any grand epiphanies after reading this. Fortunately, that doesn't ruin the comic, as it's a fun story in its own right.

The contestants gather by the Town Hall
Honestly, I'd prefer to see a few of the real schoolfoals, not just references
Whitley does show us the posh ponies' lives from DT's own perspective, but there's not much insight there – with the important exception that yes, Diamond really does like Silver on her own merits. That's almost sweet. I'm not sold on Filthy Rich's depiction, which feels a little uneven: he surely can't be gulled that easily by his brat of a daughter. The Cutie Mark Crusaders, meanwhile, are pretty much how they always are. The best character in this issue may well be the Velma-like Prancy Drew. Shame about some awful typos, though. ("Shined"? "Sugerlump"? "Cheerily"?)

Blake's artwork is very nice on the whole: the ponies look right; their expressions are, well, expressive; and there's a decent amount of variety to ther poses. (Look, for example, at the panels where the CMC are trapped in the Castle of the Two Sisters.) Breckel's colours are as bright and clear as ever, so this is a nice comic to look at. One off-putting oddity, though, is that mares like the Mane Six are shown as being hugely larger than fillies. I'm not sure why this was done, but it's really distracting.

Prancy Drew, Silver Spoon and Diamond Tiara
Silver Spoon can look adorable when she wants to. Diamond Tiara... not so much
This is a pretty solid issue when it comes to Easter eggs: there are a lot of them, but they don't really get in the way. I particularly like that eternal third wheel, Twist, reading a copy of Locke & Key – though doing so in class seems a little out of character. The one mildly iffy moment is the prominent use of Blake's own OC, Sappho (unnamed in the comic) in a scene reminscent of "The Crystal Empire, part 1". Her cutie mark is hidden for what I can't help feeling may be don't-upset-the-soccer-moms reasons.

I think this is a pretty good comic all round. It's not one of the greats, and there are a number of missed opportunities when it comes to exploring Diamond and Silver's relationship, but nor is it a failure by any means. There's always plenty going on, there are some very good jokes (Pinkie's chocolate river being the pick) and it's nice to look at. For that reason, while I wouldn't call this unmissable, I don't think you'll regret it if you've already bought it.

The Cutie Mark Crusaders set out on their treasure hunt
How come AB can get her bow under the hat, but SB not her horn?
  • Fun, engaging storyline with plenty happening
  • Prancy Drew is a good guest character
  • Enjoyable interplay with the CMC, Pinkie etc
  • The artwork is mostly very good
  • A disappointing lack of real insight into DT & SS's friendship
  • Several glaring typos in the first few pages
  • The filly-mare size gap is much too large
  • Since when was Sweetie's magic blue?


  1. Wait. Hold up. Did they misspell Cheerilee's name as "Cheerily?" I'll knife a mofo over that. Knighty's already on my list for his refusal to fix "Cherilee" over at Fimfiction... I have lots of people to knife, apparently.

    1. Note to self: never, ever, ever misspell Cheerilee's name. Ever.

      (And yes. Only once, but even so.)

    2. That mare goes through a lot. She deserves to have her named spelled correctly, at the very least.

    3. Says you, as though you had nothing at all to do with her travails... :P

    4. It's true. I put her through the wringer... and I spell her name correctly each and every time. Not my fault she's adorable when she's super frustrated.

  2. I also did a review of this for the Silver Spoon group on Fimfiction, and I pretty much agree on all points. (Except the giant mares thing, which I completely failed to notice ^^). The spelling mistakes are pretty galling: the very first word of dialogue in this comic is misspelled! What on Earth does the editor of the comic do, if not catch things like that?

  3. I see some Sailor Moon references in one of the panels presented here! :D