Apparently the first MLP:FiM comic run was pretty good for IDW. (and I checked the numbers… they were) Enough that they started a SECOND line of MLP:FiM comics, the “micro-series”. Unlike the main title (which runs a story arc over multiple issues so far), this series takes a focused look at one character per issue. So to keep in theme with the main comic run, I’ve decided to review the first four issues of the micro series.
- First up, Twilight Sparkle‘s issue. Storyline is a standard motif: Twilight must go to an archive and assist a cranky recluse who don’t be needin’ any help! If you’ve seen anything like the movie Finding Forester or DS9’s “the Visitor” or one quarter of the Hallmark movies ever produced, you’ve seen the storyline here and where it’s going. Which is fine, part of the delight in this issue is watching Twilight interact with someone new and make friends with an adult (something we haven’t really seen her do). The artwork is good and is a lot more settled and mellow compared with the regular series. The issue is also an interesting study on the decompression debate in comics.
Oh I’ve probably lost a few of you. See, as in all mediums, comics as an art form has certain styles to it. The “decompression” debate with comics can be summed up as over how much time passes between panels. Early age comics could… give you some whiplash with how much they would jump around. Nowadays comics sometime hide so little time between panels that one could cut them all out and make an animated flip book. This first issue of the micro-series actually demonstrates both sequences side by side with a rather brilliant flair. Several hours and sequences will pass between 2 panels, then we’ll get an entire page of the characters just eating breakfast. I… ended up liking this more mixed style, it gave the comic a really good rhythm on top of a competently done story. 4/5 score.
- Rainbow Dash‘s issue is… well it’s very boyish. A “great” evil (emphasis on the air quotes) attacks ponyville and RD ends up fighting it off single-handedly. It’s written in the very classic myth style where the hero’s external struggles are representative of his (or her in this case) internal struggles. By overcoming the external threat, the hero conquers their internal flaws. Not a bad idea but the threat in this issue is rather nebulous, and a lot of the “challenge” seems to be self-inflicted by Rainbow Dash’s pride. Really, if things were that bad, why did she struggle so hard to go solo? Why not team up with all the other pegasi or why did Celestia get involved? Yeah I know Celestia is pretty busy but this story supposedly takes place over 28 days. Almost a month! You’re telling me Celestia NEVER had a free moment? This was one… that really falls apart under its own logic. 2/5
- Rarity does a hippie issue! This issue has a lot in common with the King of Hill episode where Hank helps out a “co-op” grocery, only with a more positive ending. After that… it’s mostly predictable and you’ll be able to figure out where it’s going in a few pages. Still, I do commend the issue for not strictly abiding by the cliches. It brings just enough of a new spin to the story motif to keep the issue from being a boring retread. This one I do recommend as it is a good time and shows the best of what Rarity brings to the show and to Ponyville. It earns a solid, 3/5.
- Lastly (for today) we have Fluttershy‘s issue. Of any of these, this one has the most canon implications I think. The adventures and stories in the other issues? It doesn’t really make a difference whether the characters or plots are ever mentioned or brought up in the show ever. But this issue brings a whole new talent to Fluttershy’s repertoire and a new aspect to her character that really should be looked at, or even given a background gag, in the show. This one… I’m not going to spoil. I mean the plot is predictable as the others (with the usual variant touches to it) BUT the art in this issue is F.A.N.T.A.S.T.I.C. and gorgeous to look at. This is one you’re picking up more for the visuals than the plot. 4/5