Thursday, 9 March 2017

Comic review: Guardians of Harmony

Yet another comic from IDW now. I am just slightly wondering whether they're overdoing it a bit – it's starting to get expensive! – but this is a story I've been looking forward to ever since it was announced. Time to see whether the real thing matches up to my expectations. Not a mini review this time, as I'll be going through each chapter in turn in a spoiler-cut section after the main review.

MLP Guardians of Harmony comic, main cover by Andy Price
Andy Price's main cover is, as expected, great
Guardians of Harmony ties in with the toy line of the same name, and is rather more transparently toyetic than usual. This isn't fatal in itself, and with one exception things don't look too out of place in Equestria. The comic is also a multi-creator deal, with six chapters, each from a different writer/artist pair. (Heather Breckel is the only colourist credited.) The story is inevitably episodic, and there's less smooth continuity than I'd have liked. There are also a couple of slightly irritating character decisions. The chapters themselves are of uneven quality, and there's not really enough action-adventure for the GoH brand, but they're generally at least decent. This is a good comic, but it blows its chance to be a great one. Considering the high cover price (it's marketed as an annual), I can't really award it more than ★★★.

Now, come with me past the break for some spoilery comments on each chapter.

1. Shadowbolts (Anderson/Price)
I was looking forward to this chapter, given how long it's been since we saw Shadowbolts in canon, and unsurprisingly Price's art is excellent. I do rather miss the tons of background jokes and references he used to include when he collaborated with Katie Cook, but never mind. It's a nice idea for the changelings to tempt (and therefore slow down) Rainbow by impersonating the SBs, too. A pretty strong start to the comic.

2. Pinkie Pie (Rice/Fleecs)
This chapter, on the other hand, is a bit of a let-down. Given that Pinkie is teamed up with Cheese Sandwich here, I was expecting things to be a lot wackier and wilder than they actually are. Sure, it's a toy commercial – but so is the show itself, and "Pinkie Pride" walks all over this. Fleecs shows once again that he's a reliable Pony artist, but what he draws in this particular segment isn't all that energy- or imagination-filled.

3. Shining Armor (Whitley/Fleecs)
A step up for this chapter. It helps that the art is a bit more interesting than in Pinkie's chapter, especially the Crystal Empire architecture. When the focus is on Shiny, it's very good reading. Cadance is weirdly characterised: she seems almost reluctant to get involved. With changelings? I think not. And come on, can anyone view that Fluttershy scene now other than through the lens of the S6 finale? Princess Amore gets a nice return, though; better than her first appearance, frankly. 

4. Twilight (Whitley/Price)
I barely noticed the transitions between Price and Fleecs (or vice versa), which I think is a good thing. Also a good thing is that this is the best chapter of all, and this time we do get some welcome humour from Price. Actually, this bit would win just for the glory that is Lyra's "Friendship Action Harp". Twilight herself is good, too, though I can't help feeling that she's given the armour absurdly easily. Not sure Shiny would really be able to run all that way, either.

5. Wonderbolts (Whitley/Fosgitt)
We're going downhill again now – and it's not because of Fosgitt's style, which I mind far less than some readers. On the plus side, the 'Bolts actually do something important and do it well; it may even be their best outing. However, I hate the "sonic gliders". They feel totally out of place, their rainboom-creating ability dilutes Rainbow Dash's specialness and as Silver Quill pointed out, they look nothing like the toy they're supposed to be advertising!

6. Big Spike (Rice/Fosgitt)
This is better than the previous chapter, and the ending – if predictable – is okay. There is still a disappointment in that the title character – specifically Big Spike – doesn't appear until the end of the penultimate page. I thought S6 had stopped the bad breaks for the little guy? Chrysalis saying "Take no prisoners!" is out of character for a changeling leader, too. Finally... look at the full-page panel of the Mane Six armoured up. Now look at this fanart. Hmmm.

1 comment:

  1. Good review, but sadly, it looks like this annual in my eyes is not worth buying nor reading (I only got the Pinkie toy)... :(