Newbury Comics Variant

Last month’s micro series comic was so good it could be seen as an episode in the show. This time around, the editor of the My Little Pony comics, Bobby Curnow, has his shot at the micro-series with Applejack’s spotlight. It is…weird, to say the least.

Smooth, Granny Smith. Now Applejack will freeze to death.

At first glance, the artwork looks like it was drawn by Andy Price. It is actually done by Brenda Hickey. I think the reason it looks similar to Andy Price’s work is actually because of some one that has yet to be praised, Heather Breckel. Her coloring gives life and show accuracy to the comics she colors for, while still being her own style.

The story, this time around, takes place before Hearth’s Warming Eve and the Apple family is preparing all of the apple related goods from applesauce to apple pie. Applejack is the one to get worked up over the holidays making sure everything is prepped and ready, a very relatable situation around the holidays. Granny Smith assures Applejack everything will turn out fine and she should enjoy herself. That night, several of the apples from the farm were stolen and replaced with squashes.

According to Granny Smith, it is the legendary Sass Squash. The creature was known for stealing the Apple Family’s crops and replacing them with squashes back in Granny Smith’s younger years and has not returned until today. Applejack is not going to stand for the creature’s mischief this holiday season, so she decides to capture the beast all on her own. Does this plot line sound familiar?

It should because it is the same plot line Applejack is dealing with when she gets an episode of the show focused on her. Ever since “Applebuck Season” the show staff have struggled writing for Applejack. It appears that trend spread to the comics as well because Applejack in the comic is learning the same lesson she learned in Applebuck Season about letting others help you when you are being stubborn. While not bad, it has been done twice already and it only worked the first time. Also, the last few pages of the comic will have you head scratching when the family catches the “Sass Squash.” I think the quotations just gave it away.

Speaking of head scratching, there is a song in the comic. Yes, a SONG is in the comic; and like all songs used in a visual medium like a comic book, it is poorly implemented. The only reason “Laugh, Ponyacci, Laugh” worked is because the writer reached out to a brony artist to record a song with the lyrics in the comic. It made the comic a better experience to read since we now have background music. Even if the song in today’s comic had background music did work, the lyrics are written in a “aabb” rhyme scheme. It would not work even if it did have orchestration.

However, the one thing that saves the comic is the humor. The comic is very much like an episode of The Fairly Oddparents with Applejack trying and failing to capture the Sass Squash. It has that particular kind of modern humor that Butch Hartman or Alex Hirsch would bring to the table.

So, with all of that said, the story and moral have been done to death with Applejack’s character and the song was poorly utilized. However, the comic is beautifully drawn and it has great humor. Even though I do not have a fondness of Applejack, I actually recommend picking up the comic.

2 1/2 stars out of 5

So the final rankings for the Mane 6 Micro-Series are as follows; and yes I am aware I have not reviewed Rarity’s micro comic. It is what I would have ranked it if I were to review it.

1. Pinkie Pie (5 stars)
2. Rarity (4 1/2 stars)
3. Rainbow Dash (3 1/2 stars)
4. Applejack (2 1/2 stars)
5. Twilight Sparkle (2 stars)
6. Fluttershy (1 star)

Next month, the secondary characters get their spotlight starting with the Cutie Mark Crusaders.

  • Anonymous

    Shoot, I was hoping that AJ would shine for once… she failed again, it’s useless, I can’t find anything of interesting in her character…. she’s so flat and mediocre, uncomparable to all the other mane 6 or the CMCs or Spike, the almost total absence of flaws make her a very flat character. The flaws are ESSENTIAL for characters, to make them interesting, that’s because I love MLP. But AJ is the only character in which I don’t find ANYTHING of interesting…. Infact, in my top 25 there are not Applejack episodes and (excluding Applebuck Season and The Last Roundup) non of those episode came near it either. Will the S4 make me change idea on her? I don’t think so….

  • I largely agree with your assessment. The story was sub-par, but the jokes and art carried the issue somewhat. The song fell flat for me as well. I actually disagree that the song in the Pinkie issue only worked because of the recorded version. It added a lot, sure- but the song in the Pinkie issue could easily have lived on its own for a couple of reasons: 1) The poem structure sounded up-beat and lyrical, matching the visuals and Pinkie’s personality; 2) Pinkie bursting into song is well established as a key part of her character.

    The only time Applejack starts singing in the show is when she’s calling a hoe-down for the barn-raising. There’s actual *purpose* to her singing- motivating the rest of her family, organizing the construction and keeping their energy up while they work. In the comic, the song is flat, pointless and out of character.

    Also, the initial premise of the plot put me off from the very beginning of the issue. This is just before Hearth’s Warming, so apple season should be *long* over for the year. The profits from cider season are what sustains the Apple family through the winter. This time of year they should be in full “we’ve kept our hoofsies warm at home, time off from work to play” mode. You could argue that the Pegasi *just* let winter loose on Equestria and this is the very last of the year’s harvest, but it feels like a bit of a stretch in order to shoehorn in a largely unnecessary Hearth’s Warming Eve reference.