I’m sure that many of you, like me, were super-ultra hyped about the MLP Comic when it first came out. Some of you may still feel that way, but let me tell you now, this will not be a positive review. Do not take it personally. (This counts as a disclaimer, right?) There are a few good things the comic does and many bad things; I will be focused on the bad. If you want to hear praise on the comic, listen to what Screenplay has to say. You’ll soon realize that I think about the comic itself, and the narrative, way too much.

You can say you’ve been warned.
Oh, and I guess there are spoilers too, if by some chance you haven’t got around to reading comic 1 yet.

General comments:
I have to say that the art style was interesting, if nothing else. It was obviously very high-quality and very well done. The only beef I have with it is that it was sort of harsh. More on that past the cut.

The story isn’t bad, per se, it’s just unbelievably fast. Pacing, where art thou?

By far the worst part of the comic is that the characters–vibrant, interesting, and dynamic in the show–become absolutely one sided with little-to-no account given to their deeper selves.

If you would be so kind as to “Read More”, I will gladly show you what I mean. You know, by writing all over the comic.

Let’s start from the beginning. That is, typically, a very good place to start.

The vast majority of the covers are all fantastic. The fan references are pretty great, and I just love how the world is so blindly candy-colored. Not to mention Angel’s pretty awesome. Hasbro should do a show all about Angel. Just a spin-off of the main show. They could call it…Angel! I actually think that’s been done, already. Thanks, Joss Whedon!

Then we get to the first page, featuring the cutie mark crusaders being…stupid. Their dialogue isn’t terrible, they’re just a little stupider than they are in the show. (Be sure to click the images to make them bigger: I don’t expect you to be able to read them at this size.)


Okay, I take that back. They’re particularly stupid. Did they really expect to get a cutie mark in something to do with animals without any preparation in case they were to attack? Really? Also, where in the hay is this? At a zoo? Next to a forest? Both? Why are they doing this at nighttime? Sweetie Belle even acknowledges it’s nighttime, so it isn’t just cloudy or something. So, I guess I can’t really say I feel bad for them getting captured by possessed zoo animals. This partially invalidates the plot: the characters are going to rescue the CMC because they care about them. The reader probably doesn’t care about the CMC because they saw them doing something stupid and it totally makes sense they’d get attacked by animals. If the reader doesn’t care about what the mane characters care about, then there’s a quick way to lose the connection with those characters. But I will make no assumptions about what the reader cares about, so let’s continue.

Later in the comic,

So changelings totally don’t work like that. The point of changelings is that there is no difference between changelings and the pony they’re copying. But apparently they’re just zombies now. That’s cool, I guess. You know, if you want to use zombies as a plot device, along the same lines as basically everything ever. I have nothing against zombies, but changing something pre-created in the canon to have that plot is a little ridiculous. Then again, I’m pretty sure this is non-canon. At least I hope it is…

I mentioned earlier that the characters become impossibly one-sided.
Applejack is, perhaps, the most prominent example of this. Because “Honesty” or “Hard-Working” is difficult to portray, for some reason they’ve defaulted her to “Anger.”
Maybe with the exception of 2-3 instances where she appears, she is always making an incredibly angry face. This is understandable, to an extent: if my sister was whisked away by possessed zoo animals after making no preparations in case of an animal attack, I’d be pretty mad too.

But since she has to do something about it, that’s the time the character shows that they’re capable of thinking, of making decisions, of buckling down and doing some work. She remains angry basically this entire time.

Which brings me to a bigger issue: each of these characters become the most base version of themselves. Some of the less developed characters in the show (like Rarity…sorry! Had to say it!) become rather difficult to read. Yes, Rarity. I get it. You like fashion and are dramatic. Great. Now please do something or be interesting in some other way!

(Note: I know that the characters develop a teensy bit more in the coming comics, but you’ll have to wait till I review comic 2 to hear about it!)

Moving on.


Remember earlier how Twilight showed her book on what the “infected” (or changelings looking like ponies) looked like? That’s just not true now, for some reason, because they can’t tell themselves apart from the changelings.

Good job being consistent, comic.

Also, and I will only bring this up once cause I really could blab a lot about this, Fighting is Magic was totally way tamer than this. Just putting that out there.

This page brings up another excellent example of character one-sidedness. Fluttershy! She’s shy! She’s scared of everything! She REALLY is. Minus 2-3 panels, she is basically cowering the entire comic. But she YELLS on this page! Wow! Normally nice people don’t do that! That makes her well-developed and interesting, right?

By creating a gag over that for one panel Fluttershy isn’t cowering, the narrative only emphasizes the fact that she’s had only one emotion for the entire comic. (Fortunately, she does get more interesting in later comics–more in that in the next review.)


First Problem: The CMC are fairly chill. They’re not in pain, they’re not passed out, they’re just sitting there annoying Queen Chrysalis. This doesn’t help the already weak narrative become any stronger. Sure, Applejack and Rarity love their sisters and I’m certain Rainbow Dash sort of likes her most dedicated groupie, but what drives the other characters? Obligation to their friends? To the CMC?

“Obligation” is not a good thing to have drive an entire adventure. Obligation drives you to do things like go to weddings for ugly family members and take care of your neighbor’s smelly cat, not go on epic comic-book adventures.

For the most part, the individual motivation for these characters is really not well-defined. What is Chrysalis even doing if she has control of Ponyville and then takes three blank flanks? (This is explained in a later comic, but it really should have come earlier…because, as of Comic 1, it just looks like she’s being evil just for the sake of being evil, which is remarkably boring.)

Then, Queen Chrysalis gives a completely arbitrary deadline for the characters to journey to the Changeling Kingdom. The problem here is that that number doesn’t mean anything. If in three days the moon and stars aligned to create a “Death to all Blank Flanks” beam that she was going to put them under, okay. That’s valid.

The fact that we don’t know what’s going to happen to them at the end of that time again means there’s basically no motivation to go rescue them at this point, except, for at this point, obligation.

To end on a positive point: I really love the art of this entire comic. Queen Chrysalis, in particular, is absolutely beautiful. The colors are pretty freaking sweet, and I can basically back this entire comic on the basis of its art.

Overall, very weak narrative, but awesome art.

  • Anon

    Uh… you do realize, that the Infected in Twi’s book have absolutely nothing to do with the Changelings, right? It’s a Monster Manual of sorts, with a different monster on each page. It’s a shoutout to role playing games and to the Zombie genre, that they choose Infected as the Monster on this page.

    You probably shouldn’t critique a narrative you don’t completely understand. Even though you have some valid points, especially about AJ and Rarity. Also critiquing that some plotpoints only get resolved until later in the series is kinda… moot for a project like that. It’s why it’s called a series, after all. Imagining Harry Potter when you know from the beginning why Snape is “evil”.

  • Anon

    Also implying rescuing three kids from an evil Queen isn’t really something the heroes should do as long as they don’t exactly know what the Queen will do to them? Seriously? Oh boy. And sure Twilight and Fluttershy see it as an OBLIGATION to accompany their best friends for rescuing their abducted siblings. Wow.

  • Anonymous

    >implying the comic is canon
    >implying your headcanon is absolute

    I’ve seen better “reviews” from the Pony Fiction Archive.

  • MobileStarshine

    I understand some of your critisisms regarding the comic, but honestly i really enjoy it. I think its crucial to realize that comics are a diffferent style of storytelling and that odd. Characterization is sometimes necessary. Just my thoughts.

    • Shiek927

      Indeed; they try, but it’s hard to pull off the same presentation as the show, simply because it’s a totally different medium. The humor, the pacing….everything is going to be different, and that immediately attracts/detracts some people.

  • muffinmare

    There are SO many fan comics that are superior to the IDW comic book. Any way you wanna slice it, the comic book is subpar for the even the “average” licensed comic book in terms of looking or reading anything like the source material. I hate being so negative. There have been some beautiful covers, but a cover alone isn’t going to make me buy an overall awful book. Very disappointing.

    • Anonymous

      You’re wrong in every regard. The art is fantastic, the writing is solid and funny, and it’s very obvious that a lot of thought was put into making the comic just as good, if not better, than the actual show.

      • Shiek927

        Let’s agree to disagree – we all perceive things differently, and everyone is entitled to their opinion :).

        Hopefully the next issue will interest this writer more.

  • Pickapok

    This entire review just comes off as a bunch of nitpicks to me…

  • Worthy Soup

    Hang on a minute, some of the “unexplained” plot points you’ve outlined in this review were explained on the page next to the one you pointed them out on.
    Where was the “zoo” the CMC were exploring on the first two pages? Fluttershy’s backyard. Sweetie Belle says so in the first panel of the issue.
    Why three days? The Secretariat Comet will be passing through the Horse Head Nebula over Equestria in three days. “It’s the single biggest conjunction in celestial events in over 3,000 years!” says Twilight in the next panel. “It’s a magical phenomenon, every magical creature is going to feel the effects.”
    Not far off from the moon and stars aligning to create a Death to all Blank Flanks beam, I might add.
    Next panel: “…we need to do some investigation into what the Queen is up to! How is she going to use that magical surge? Why do WE need to be there?”
    Ok I guess Twilight doesn’t have ALL the answers, but it pretty clearly implies that Chrysalis captured the CMC and set the deadline in order to get the Mane 6 to her castle in time for the “magical surge”. We don’t yet know why Chrysalis wants this, but it’s a lot better explained than the review makes it out to be.

    In addition, with regards to “Changelings don’t work that way”: yes they do. Cadance’s bridesmaids and Shining Armor both exhibited the “infected” characteristics during the royal wedding. Yes, “Infected” is an odd term for it, but the changelings do canonically have the power to mesmerize ponies into behaving like zombies. The “Infected” are not changelings themselves, but actual citizens of Ponyville who have been magically hypnotized. The changelings we see afterward seem to still be in the process of taking ponies’ places.

    To nit-pick a nit-pick, while Applejack does have intense facial expressions in many panels, if you count up each instance of her wearing an angry expression (11) and divide by the total appearances of her face in this comic (32), she’s only angry 34% of the time. “Maybe with the exception of 2-3 instances where she appears, she is always making an incredibly angry face.”? You’re off by a bit. Feel free to double-check my counts.

    Also to be incredibly picky, it was Apple Bloom, not Sweetie Belle, who mentioned that it was night in the first scene, and that “smoke” over Pinkie’s head that you’ve circled looks like a plant growing out of that nook in the background to me.

    Overall not too bad a review and I liked how in-depth you were willing to go, but it seems like some of the pages in your issue are stuck together, causing you to miss important plot points. Please double-check next time.

  • Waffles

    This comic was crap and anyone who thinks otherwise is stupid (looking at you anon1). I’ve seen better art from the Ren & Stimpy show and the plot sounds like something from my old Dungeons and Dragons campaigns. “Some kids were kidnapped by an evil sorceress, you have to go rescue them!” Groanworthy jokes and a flagrant disregard for canon combine to make this worse than most MLP fanfics I’ve read.

    This article got it right on the money, and you bleating sheep in the comment section need to go read some real comics like Watchman or The Killing Joke. THOSE are comics, read those and the many problems/failings in this MLP comic will come clearly to light.

    • Medic_Starshine

      Sweet, apparently I’m stupid

    • Jody Morgan

      “anyone who thinks otherwise is stupid”

      What is it about the internet that turns so many people into self-absorbed “experts”? Is it just the anonymity, or is there something else at work?

    • ChoppersTopHat

      Ahahahaha, look at this kid, namedropping the only two comics he’s ever read.

      Of course MLP isn’t on the level of Watchmen. It’s not trying to be. It SHOULDN’T be. It’s My Little Pony. It’s not supposed to be Shakespeare, it’s supposed to be a fun comic for all ages, and fans across all demographics.

      And it accomplishes that goal very, very well.

    • Anonymous

      Wow wow WOW your opinion is dumb. You’re gonna namedrop Alan Moore masterpieces, then crap on MLP for being inferior to them? That’s like watching a romantic comedy film and comparing it to the Godfather as you criticize it. Its like trashing a fanfic, then bragging that if you wanna read a REAL novel, you should check out this Dostoyevsky guy. You don’t sound cool, you don’t sound sophisticated, you sound like a fucking 12 y/o poser who’s listing the only two Alan Moore comics he’s ever read. You like Alan Moore, eh? Then log off the fucking ponynet and go read his Miracleman and Swamp Thing runs. Go read “Superman: Whatever Happened to the Man of Tomorrow”, go read his reboot of a horribad Rob Liefeld comic, go read League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Then go read some Frank Miller and Will Eisner. Then Maus. Then The Invisibles…..if you’re ready. After that, THEN you start talking smack like you know about comics, kid.

      btw, John Kricfalusi is an awesome artist, and the first 2 seasons of Ren & Stimpy are God-Tier brilliant subversive television. Your opinion is dumb.

      btw pt. 2, the comic was always gonna be a separate continuity because it’s impossible for the show writing staff to constantly w/ comic staff to make sure every little canon detail aligns perfectly, both staffs have said as much, YOUR OPINION IS DUMB.

      btw pt. 3, MLP sucks, you need to go watch some real TV like Breaking Bad or The Wire. THOSE are TV shows, watch those and the many problems/failings in this MLP show will come clearly to light. *DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT YOUR OPINION IS DUMB YET*

      • Waffles


        I prefer not to argue with people who can’t hablo ingles. Also tl;dr

        • Anonymous

          You’re an idiot.

  • You didn’t like the comic. Fine, no problem with that. I did. Also fine, I hope. The balance of reviews I’ve seen, including from non-fans, have been positive, so it’s clearly not just a case of bronies raving over the comic because it’s MLP. Two specific points, though.

    “What the hell are pants?”, you ask. I don’t know, ask Pinkie Pie. From Griffon the Brush Off: “Maybe Gilda isn’t a big meanie grumpy mean-meanie-pants. Maybe I’m just a big jealous judgmental jealous-jealousy-pants.” So “McBitey-Pants” may be silly, but it’s not untrue to the source material, ie the show.

    The “right quick” in the second page you showed is an acknowledged colouring mistake (see Heather Breckel’s comment on the official IDW forums): the pony in that panel was supposed to be AJ, not Dash.

    • ChoppersTopHat

      Perhaps if Pinkie can’t illuminate us on the subject of pants, we can ask Twilight, whose beloved childhood doll has “pants” in her name. Or we can ask Fancypants. He seems pretty educated, I bet he knows what the second half of his own name means.

      This review seems really desperate to find things to dislike about the comic. Usually if a story is actually that bad, you don’t have to work so hard to find things to criticize.

      • Waffles

        You likewise seem desperate to nitpick this review, complaining about a single joke and providing three examples. Pots shouldn’t call kettles black.

  • Anonymous

    What a bitchy, catty, nit-picky review.

  • Doc

    To literally everyone in here: