[A big welcome to one of our two new comic reporters/reviewers, Screenplay. —Doc]
The first story in this mini-series of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic comic hit store shelves Wednesday, February 20th. All I can say is the first issue of the mini-series is laced with many problems.
One of the problems that are easily noticeable is in the artwork. Just by looking at the splash page above you can tell what the main problem is. There are no outlines; rather, the outlines are just a darker shade of what the ponies’ colors are. I double checked in both the main comic and the mini-series and found there was no inker in either comic. Andy Price in the main comic does the inking himself, while Heather Breckel does the coloring. Thom Zahler in the mini-series does the same thing with Ronda Pattison as the colorist, but there is no inker. The colors of the ponies will sometimes blend in to the background, if there is even a background to speak of. I spotted nine panels where the background was all white. That does not create drama. That is downright lazy.
Let’s get into the crux of the story. Twilight, pre-alicorn, is given a task to assist an archivist who broke one of her legs. Of course, the archivist fills the crotchety, old recluse stereotype that once hit it big with a famous book, but then suddenly disappeared, or the stubborn old person that had one thing and nothing else and wants to be secluded their whole life. The audience, and Twilight, quickly figures out the stubborn archivist is the missing author, Jade Singer. Jade Singer is an obvious parallel to real life author, J.D. Salinger.
We, the readers, have seen this plot line done to death. In fact, we’ve already seen it executed better in the television show already with “A Friend in Deed.”
The archivist constantly gets Twilight’s name wrong, which I guess is supposed to be funny, but comes across as flat. There are also plenty of other references to books and other media including the Marble Universe (Marvel), Boogie Woogie Pony Boy (Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy) and a reference to Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight. It does get a chuckle every now and then.
However, there are references that I missed on a first read. The reason for that is the comic is so slow-paced you skip over panels that don’t feel important. In fact, there are two kitchen table scenes that are one page long with awkward silences. This honestly feels like it would work better in the show rather than the comic.
However, the one thing I feel that is missing that would save the book is a sense of fun. The main series has plenty of fun with the story it conveys despite the very dark tone of the story. Here, everything just feels awkward and unsettling when it does not need to be.
The only good thing I can say is done well is Twilight’s bookworm nature is 100 percent show accurate. Her obsessive compulsive nature is the only thing that saves the comic from being a complete chore to read.
This book I do not feel I should recommend, other than for collector’s value. It is a slow and mundane start to the micro-series. Hopefully, the Rainbow Dash story by Ryan Lindsay will be more of a fun read.