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My Little Pony, a franchise known for its sweetness, lightness, and life lessons delivered by talking ponies, tips its characters a bit sideways in this month’s issue My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic.
The story, written by Thom Zahler, pulls us right in on page one. In brief, the plot hinges upon the ponies coming across a recently-appeared hot spring, which they waste no time utilizing for a well-earned spa day. Since this is the land of Equestria, nothing can be quite that simple, and soon our little ponies are in trouble, pulling in Spike, the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and even Princess Luna to their aid. The ending leaves us with the kind of cliffhanger that will give you more than enough reason to buy the next book.
The story moves at a good pace, with the first act taking up a few pages, and then the action beginning in earnest. There’s a chase scene later on in the book that moves lovely artistically, and is narrated with some clever humor. In fact, there is humor generously sprinkled through the panels, with snarky comments keeping me giggling through the reading. The dialogue flows naturally, and in some places hilariously. Throughout the issue, the characters are adequately outlined, especially the aforementioned Spike, Cutie Mark Crusaders, and Princess Luna, which makes sense as the plot requires our mane six to take a bit of a backseat in the action. I really liked seeing this highlight on some characters that we don’t see pulled to the forefront in every other story, giving them a chance to shine. I think younger readers will particularly enjoy the highlight on the Cutie Mark Crusaders.
Now, back to those first pages, the artwork by Tony Fleecs, colored by Heather Breckel, takes us right into the narrative, with bright backgrounds and a moody foreground that really pulls the reader in and gives us a visual foreshadow of things to come. I am also especially fond of the interior and forest backgrounds throughout the issue, packed with detail and color.
For someone who has spent a lot of time visiting the Land of Equestria via the animated show, I was eager to see how some of my favorites translated to the page with this issue. My expectations were met and exceeded with this foray into Ponyville.