The fourth issue of the micro-series has arrived, starring the definition of the word cute, Fluttershy and written by Barbara Kesel. However, ‘cute’ is probably not the best word to describe this comic. Those words would be ‘uninteresting, bland, unamusing, and worst comic of the micro-series so far’.
Once again, Tony Fleecs is the artist for the Micro-Series as with the Rainbow Dash issue. And once again, the same problems are still present in the artwork, carried over from the Rainbow Dash issue. The outlines are still a darker shade of the ponies’ color scheme, but it appears the penciling actually decreased in quality from Fleecs’s last attempt. In addition, Fleecs has apparently taken a page out of Tom Zahler’s book and forgot to put in backgrounds for a couple of panels.
The story, this time around, is about an EXTREME art contest taking place in Canterlot. Fluttershy attempts to enter said contest by showing the audience her CHAMBER OF EXTREME KNITTING, but she is afraid all of the ponies judging the contest will criticize her work harshly. So, she decides to attend the contest in disguise. Here we have a new problem with the comic: one-third of the story is devoted solely to exposition.
Most comics deliver exposition in less than five pages. In addition, exposition can flow naturally when other characters are able to acknowledge the exposition with or without questions. Eight pages out of a 22 page comic, not counting the 10 pages of advertisements, with only one character talking is awkward and annoying. I am aware Fluttershy is talking to Angel Bunny and that may work in show format, but since this is a different medium it feels like Fluttershy is either talking to the audience via the fourth wall or talking to herself.
After a boring tread of exposition, the comic cuts to the gallery in Canterlot where Fluttershy is disguising herself in a turtleneck and a veil, avoiding contact with anyone. When she reveals her artwork, which I have to admit is really good, along comes the elite of Canterlot which includes Uppercrust, Fancy Pants, Fleur De Lis, and renowned art critic, Praiser Pan. He and his group, which also includes Rarity…because…, judge all of the art harshly. When they get to Fluttershy’s piece, Praiser Pan called it not art, but craft. As a reader, I have no idea what this means. Is referring to the amateurish nature of the piece compared to other artwork or is he saying it’s just okay? Craft is a synonym for art after all.
After Rarity discovers Fluttershy was hiding behind her veil, everypony in the gallery started to critique the craft with mixed opinions. But judging from the placement of the word balloons, it looks like they made Fancy Pants say Fluttershy’s work was unfashionable. Here is another problem with making the show in comic form, the blatant disregard of continuity. Fancy Pants, in the show, was very fond of Rarity AND her friends despite the simplistic and practical work on Twilight’s birthday dress. Plus, he is THE pony everyone looks to when forming an opinion. Everypony wants to know what he thinks about something that is of high class. Why would he be following suit of some art critic who thinks they knows what “high art” is?
Anyway, because of everyone’s mixed opinions on the artwork, Fluttershy attempts to destroy it thinking they all hate it, even though one giant panel beforehand the reader can clearly see positive feedback from the crowd. However she stops herself, leading into the moral of the piece. One should not be afraid that criticism should stop from you expressing yourself through art, especially if you have terrific friends to help you do it. This is a very stupid moral and here is why.
Criticism, from my standpoint, is a good thing for better or worse. While I do agree you should do what you love or do what you feel the most comfortable doing, other people’s opinions can help better yourself as a creator. Whether it is art, music, Youtube reviews, or any other forms of expression or entertainment, those outside opinions can help better yourself as an “artist.” The comic, however, is telling you to reject all criticism even though it is primarily talking about the negative type. Even so, everyone changed their minds because Princess Celestia appeared and called the work, of art, original. So, this comic is telling the audience two things. Don’t let other people’s opinions help you better yourself as an artist, and don’t formulate your own opinions because only the opinion of someone really important matters.
Sweet Celestia, this comic is terrible. I know this may come off as ad hominem or hypocritical since I, myself, am critiquing a work of art, but the comic portrays itself in such a manner that I must call it out as “bad.” The artwork is still amateurish, the first third of the comic is a giant exposition dump, there is no comedy to be found in this issue (something I forgot to mention), and the moral is more underhanded than Bridle Gossip’s. This comic is not worth paying $3.99 for.