Friday, 1 November 2013

Comic review: My Litlte Pony: Friendship is Magic issue 12

MLP:FiM comic issue #12, cover A
Andy Price's Cover A is the one I went for this time
Apologies for the break in service; I'll try to make up for that now! I nipped over to Birmingham's reliable Nostalgia & Comics shop on Wednesday, and bought both issue #12 of the main My Little Pony series as well the Equestria Girls annual. I'll get to the annual in a future post, but this time around I'm concentrating on the regular comic, which as usual was £3.15. This continues the backstory of Cadance and Shining Armor, as begun in issue #11. Has the Cook/Price/Breckel team done a good job with the conclusion? You know what to do by now!

The comic certainly starts off well, with the scenes at the present-day tea party being very funny. I was particularly taken with the good-natured needling between Twilight and Shining; the former's expression in particular is absolutely priceless. In fact, the comic as a whole is a bookended flashback, as right at the end we discover what happened to the infamous Buck Withers — the antagonist of the story, and in all honesty one of the more annoying stallions I've come across. I know he's meant to be, but...

Shining Armor v Twilight Sparkle!
So, any guesses? Sparky? TS? Twitwi? ...Twihard? Ahem.
It's an Andy Price comic, so it's hardly news that the ponies are drawn very expressively. I didn't find this one quite as out-and-out funny as some of Price's work, but then that was the case with issue #11 as well; maybe I just got spoilt by the amazing Big Mac arc that preceded it. Katie Cook once again shows her spot-on grasp of the ponies' speech patterns, and even though Young!Cadance's comments about label makers are a bit odd, they somehow work in context.

Are we surprised that this issue is packed with references and shout-outs? No, didn't think so. To name but a few: there are the ubiquitous Acme products, the sub-title (Presentable in Periwinkle) is a nod to Pretty in Pink, Shiny & co play Hocus-Pocus: The Get-Together, characters from Quantum Leap (where Andy Price started his comic career!) appear in passing, there's a New Foal Titans poster on the wall and there are bands such as The Equestrian League and Stallions at Work. Probably more, too!

Buck Withers realises what's going on
Shining Armor's expression is absolutely priceless
We get a backup story again this time around. Well, not so much a story as a silly ponified 1980s-ish top 10. It's light-hearted fun, which is what Katie Cook's backups usually do pretty well. Of particular note is the "Whip It" (by Devo) parody, "Crop It" – it's listed as being by Derby, with a certain grey pegasus a prominent part of the band. This is probably the closest the IDW team dared (or were allowed by Hasbro) to come to using the dreaded D-word outright.

Problems? Well, in all honesty I found the cross-dressing sub-plot with Poindexter a bit of a drag (oh, my splitting sides) and Buck was a bit of a one-dimensional antagonist. It would have been more interesting to give him a redeeming feature or two. But on the whole, this is another very solid comic from IDW's A-team, though I still hanker after another four-issue arc one day. Is it recommended? Well, of course. These comics are a fine part of Pony's Expanded Universe.

Cadance and SA in "Tack On Me"
Trotting away, I don't know if I've got hay
  • Very funny at times, with lots of nice references
  • With the last issue, fleshes out Cadance and Shining Armor
  • The Cadance/Twilight/Shiny interplay is excellent
  • Katie Cook's backup "story" is amusing
  • Buck isn't the most interesting of antagonists
  • The Poindexter sub-plot fell a little flat


  1. I liked this comic more than I was expecting to. Since I really don't think that Shining Armour was that much of a nerd when he was at school. It feels like they are trying to hard to pander to the demographics of their target audience.
    That being said, being part of said demographic I really liked it. The 80's references were awesome (I really think DEVO is becoming the most referenced band in the comics). The love story was kinda well done, though very well worn.
    I think the best reference has to be to Quantum Leap, though I guess you have to be at least 25 to even know what that show was (also available on netflix now!)

    1. Possibly they just thought that the canonical Shiny (from what we've seen of him so far) would be so boring that nobody would buy the comic. So they invented a new backstory!

      I have to admit to not being a Quantum Leap fan. I didn't *dislike* it; it just didn't grab me in the way it did so many others. I still wait for a Red Dwarf reference in the comics... :P