Saturday, 4 July 2015

Comic review: Friends Forever #18: Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash

MLP Friends Forever comic #18 main cover
Cloud Kicker won the "Most Popular" award. Well, well...
Okay, folks, this is the big one: the Friends Forever that really, really matters to me. It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Fluttershy in general, and of FlutterDash friendshipping in particular, so this is a comic I badly wanted to get things right. It's drawn by Jay Fosgitt, who seems to be establishing himself as a regular MLP artist, with a story by Christina Rice and colours by the dependable Heather Breckel. Let's see how it goes...

Happily, the answer is "pretty well". It would be horribly misleading to claim that this comic's story is one that's likely to leave anyone gasping with surprise – it's a pretty standard "Fluttershy faces her fears" tale – but it's done neatly and efficiently. As seems to have been the case quite a lot lately, FF plays it safe but succeeds in its limited ambitions, whereas the main series goes bigger and is very hit-and-miss.

Flashback to FillyShy being bullied
But why would you have an obstacle course made of cheese anyway?
Fosgitt's art continues to divide opinion, but I think its cutesy style works rather well for this series. It's pleasing to note that Fosgitt has obviously done a bit of homework since his slightly iffy debut, and there are now no obvious off-model drawings – particularly important here, since the greater part of this comic is set in Cloudsdale. The art isn't as detailed as Andy Price's, but it's clean and easy on the eye.

As I said, the storyline isn't anything much to write home about, what with Rainbow and (slightly belatedly) Fluttershy being invited to the Cloudsdale Flight Camp reunion and Dash being much happier about this than 'Shy. Inevitably, they meet up with some of the ponies who were bullying idiots back in Flight Camp days. The "Rainbow Crash" colts remain idiots as stallions, but the Gothy Cirrus Cloud has turned over a new leaf.

Yeah, it's the "Rainbow Crash" and "Klutzershy" ponies
Shouldn't their saddlebags have their cutie marks?
This is one of the oddities about the comic: it's clear from flashbacks that Cirrus dressed Gothily even then, so it's stretching it a bit to have her only say now that being yourself is more important than fitting in. Oh well. One of the other strange things is the green creature who operates the rainbow cannon right at the end: it's presumably supposed to be an odd-featured pony, but it doesn't half look like an outsized Tank!

The reason I like this comic, though, is that it does excellently in portraying the friendship between Rainbow and Flutters. This comes through especially in the final pages, with Dash showing the deep understanding of her close friend that we've seen several times, most obviously in "Hurricane Fluttershy". This was certainly my favourite aspect of this issue, and it made up a great deal for the otherwise thin storyline.

Rainbow Dash praises Fluttershy
We-ell, sometimes he's on your side. Sometimes
I'm not sure whether or not there are references in here: there's a fairly obvious (and a little surprising) one to Carrie, but there are also several ponies who look as though they're modelled on someone else: the green and blue couple at the top left of page 9, for example. Still, that's not the point of this comic: it is, instead, a fairly gently-paced adventure, cute rather than exciting, about – well – friends forever. And I like it a lot.

Yays
  • Very nice depiction of the FlutterDash friendship
  • Cute, clean art style and colouring
  • No obvious architectural flubs this time
  • It's full of Fluttershy being adorable, inc Fillyshy!
Neighs
  • Not the most action-packed story ever
  • Why wasn't Cirrus herself bullied as a filly?
  • "Cadence"? "Phillydelphia"?
★★★★

4 comments:

  1. My copy arrived this morning (I wanted to see what you thought of the issue first, and then ordered a copy via mail order) and I ended up with the subscriber cover. I can't really add anything much to what you said here, because that sums it up very nicely and I'd agree with all that you said here. Four stars would match my own opinion.

    I do very much like Fosgitt's art style, and it was nice to see that he also drew the cover for the copy I received. I thought it was the perfect artist choice for this particular story, and although admittedly the story itself isn't anything that would class as truly deep, I don't think it needed to be. It did its job and got the message across nicely without being preachy, and it was a nice, cute little story.

    I can't say that I noticed any other references either, apart from the Carrie reference. That was definitely a surprise, but thankfully Fluttershy didn't start using mystical mind powers to throw things about. Now if she had been a unicorn.... ;)

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    1. Oh yes, I know the cover you mean. They didn't have a copy of it in FP, but I'd probably have chosen the main one anyway so it didn't matter. :)

      I get the impression that IDW like Fosgitt as well, since he seems to be appearing more and more. With that in mind, it wouldn't surprise me if we see him again before too long. I'd be happy with that, at least in a cute story -- I'm not sure he'd work so well for something like the Fiendship issues!

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  2. From what I found out for the next 3 Friends Forever (I'm one of the "Anonymouses" that was on here), #19 will be about Rarity and the Cake Family, #20 Discord and Luna (what about a Celestia one?) and #21 Spike and Zecora.

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    1. That's right. I guess most people are looking forward to the Discord/Luna one the most.

      FF #3 was Celestia/Spike, so they have done one with her, but I wouldn't mind seeing another one, certainly. Celestia/Pinkie could be fun.

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