I Can Feel It! Power Up #1 Review

Power Up

This new take on the magical girl genre is off to an awesome start!

One thing I love about comics is the ability to tell stories with different types of genres, characters, settings, and art styles to create something unique, interesting, and hopefully entertaining.  I can wholeheartedly say this about Power Up, a book that has a delightfully animated art style, along with a great cast and unique premise that makes it really entertaining.  As far first issues go, this book hits it out of the park and makes me psyched for more.

Power Up stars Amie, a young woman with a normal job, a pet porcupine, and an easygoing lifestyle.  While her job my be boring and her boss a little high-strung, she is perfectly content, friendly, and pretty dang lovable.  Things get a little strange however when a flash blinding light and a mysterious intruder brings about a major change in her everyday routine.

One thing that stands out in Power Up, besides the awesome artwork of Matt Cummings, is the characters.  This book has one of the most diverse cast of characters I’ve seen in a while.  Not just racial and gender diversity, but characters with different body types as well; Amie herself is plus-sized.  I believe that diversity and representation are never a bad thing; this may be a non-issue for some, but I certainly appreciate it.

Writer Kate Leth does a great job of making these characters seem real and easy to relate to.  There’s a scene in the middle of the book where Amie explains her bus situation to her boss Karen.  I really related to this, since I also commute to work and know how much of a pain it can be.  The way characters address one another doesn’t feel stilted and there is a nice flow to the dialogue.  It’s also nice that none of the characters feel one-dimensional. Amie’s boss Karen for instance my seem like a bit strict, but she’s not mean or uncaring.  I love how a character like this can feel so layered in only a single issue of a comic.

Moving on to the artwork, to put it simply, it’s awesome!  It has a very animated look to it with bright colors, simply drawn characters, and nice scenery.  It really looks like it could be an animated series.  This book looks really nice overall, especially on the tablet screen I read it on.  The book is also really well-paced.  A lot of this issue is setup the adventure likely to take place over the course of the series, but it never felt boring and I enjoyed pretty much every page of this issue.

I took a random shot at this book because I follow the writer on Twitter and the premise, while sounding a little silly, at least seemed interesting.  I’m really happy I checked this out, because this is one of my favorite first issues in a long time.  The characters are really likable, the artwork is fantastic, and the story is just really fun.  I really can’t wait to read the next issue.  I’d say give this book a try if you’re look for a fun, all ages friendly comic with really nice, animated artwork.

Comic Credits: Publisher: Boom Studios, Writer: Kate Leth, Art and Cover: Matt Cummings, Designer: Michelle Ankley, Editor: Shannon Watters

Afterword

Hi everyone.  It sure has been a while.  I’m sorry I have not updated this or any of my personal blogs in quite some time.  One of the reasons I started writing on WordPress is that I wanted to give my thoughts on subjects I really enjoyed.  I really enjoyed Power Up, so I wanted to give my thoughts on it.  I hope you enjoyed this review and hopefully I’ll be back again soon.  I mean seriously, those My Little Pony comic reviews aren’t going to write themselves! Until then, take care!

 

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Queen Chrysalis vs. Twilight Sparkle: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #4 Review

The one on one Pony Battle a year in the making!

The pony brawl to end them all!

Writer: Katie Cook  Artist: Andy Price  Colorist Heather Breckel  Letterer Neil Uyetake  Editor: Bobby Curnow

Katie Cook and Andy Price\ have completely delighted me with this ongoing comic book series.  They’ve done more than just channel the fun and good will of the animated series through this serial; they’ve taken established stories and characters and have spun a very enjoyable story to a new format.  For fans of the animated series or comic book readers looking for an all ages title that goes above and beyond the call, My Little Pony: Friendship of Magic is well worth a look.

As the fourth and final part of “The Return of Queen Chrysalis,” Twilight and her band of merry ponies march into the castle of the Queen to save the Cutie Mark Crusaders from the clutches of the changeling kingdom.  Meanwhile, the magic enhancing Secretariat Comet is fast approaching, Queen Chrysalis springs her final trap, and a battle building since part two of “A Canterlot Wedding” finally comes to fruition.

Katie Cook has proven since issue one that she just gets these characters.  Everypony sounds true to their animated counterparts, and Cook has done especially well with Queen Chrysalis and the Cutie Mark Crusaders.  The Queen just exudes a charisma and personality that’s just too good to resist.  The way she toys with Twilight and company is just funny to watch and read, making her one of the best elements of this whole arc.  Meanwhile Apple Bloom, Sweetie Bell and Scootaloo are all handled remarkably well.  Their constant banter has been pretty funny, and the fact that they can drive even Queen Chrysalis to near insanity is a testament to their enduring nature.

Once again, Andy Price and colorist Heather Breckel completely knock it out of the park in what is undoubtably the best looking issue so far.  This issue is much darker than previous issues, but the colors are still vibrant.  While the animated look is still intact, it’s the more striking and serious moments that stand out with excellent lighting, an insane amount of detail, and nice little visual touches that help make each panel feel like scenes rather than snapshots.  One particular scene features a flash of lightning, causing Rainbow Dash, Applejack, and Rarity to protect Scootaloo, Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle, respectively.  The scene is memorable to me because each pony protects their filly in a different way: Dash flies Scootaloo to safety, AJ covers Apple Bloom using her whole body, and Rarity engulfs Sweetie Bell in her arms.  Visual scenes like this are sprinkled throughout the whole issue, and it just gives the comic so much weight and charm.  It’s easy to find something new if you read it again.

The highlight of the book is the visually spectacular battle between Twilight and Chrysalis, which just blew me away.  It’s probably the most intense battle in Friendship is Magic, and that’s counting the cartoon.  If there is one flaw with this issue, it’s that the battle feels is a little uneven.  Without giving anything away, it’s a great one on one fight, but one that feels a little too short.

This issue closes out an amazing first arc to a great new comic book series.  It also marks the (hopefully temporary) departure of writer and artist as a new duo will helm the next story arc.  Even so, this was a great way to open a comic book based on such a beloved property.  It introduces everyone’s favorite ponies to a whole new audience and entertainment format.  This comic has been a lot of fun, and I can’t wait to read more!

Writing 4.5/5

Artwork 5/5

Overall 5/0

By Andrew Mathieu

Ponies Divided and a Queen Delighted: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #3 Review

The Mane Six are split up as they continue their rescue mission.

The Mane Six are split up as they continue their rescue mission.

Comic Written by Katie Cook,  Art by Andy Price, Heather Breckel, Letter by Neil Uyetake, and Edited by Bobby Curnow

It’s hard to describe how much I love this series without sounding like a broken record.  The writing is great, the art is spectacular, and it matches the charm and fun of the animated series it’s based on while still feeling new and original.  After only three issues, it’s become my favorite comic book series in a long while, and I can’t tell you how delighted I feel with every new issue that arrives in the mail.

In this issue, Queen Chrysalis reminisces about her defeat from “A Canterlot Wedding” and her plot to get revenge on the pony who brought about her downfall, Twilight Sparkle.  Chrysalis, along with her loyal minions and Cutie Mark Crusader prisoners, continues to spy on Twilight and company, who have since split into three separate groups to get to the Changeling Kingdom.

Katie Cook has her deck full on the character side in this issue, having to juggle the pairing of Twilight and Fluttershy, Applejack and Rarity, Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie, as well as Spike, Queen Chrysalis, The Cutie Mark Crusaders, and a few others.  Luckily, not only is she able to give each pony their due time on the page, she makes it look easy.  The dynamics between the ponies is spot on, with Rainbow Dash and Pinkie Pie bringing the most laughs (and yes, I laughed while reading this issue.)  The separation of the ponies allows each group to discuss their current situation while at the same time reflect on what’s happened already.  Cook does a good job of keeping these moments entertaining as well as fleshing out the characters in the quiet, and not so quiet moments.

Cook knocks it out of the park, however, with the interaction between Chrysalis and the Cutie Mark Crusaders.  Applebloom, Sweetie Bell, and Scootaloo get more screen time here than in previous issues, and it’s just funny to see them bounce off the charismatic Queen Chrysalis.  The trio’s random thoughts about past adventures combined with their heartfelt defense of their would-be rescuers helps round them out nicely.  Chrysalis once again steals the show with her indelible charm and venomous remarks towards Twilight and her friends, and makes her one of the most entertaining, and likable, villains I can recall from a comic.

Once again, Andy Price and company bring great artwork to every panel on the page.  His expressions really let’s us know what characters are thinking or how they’re feeling without any dialogue necessary.  Seeing some of the reactions is part of the fun as you really have to look at the characters to make sense of some scenes, like when one of the Crusaders tells a bad joke while the other Crusaders look at her, almost disgusted.  Not only that, the amount of visual variety and colorful environments really give a pleasant atmosphere to the issue.  While this issue is full of happy and funny moments, there are some really dark and eerie moments to go along with them.  There’s one panel of an angry and carnivorous Queen Chrysalis that looks so cool, and is unlike any other image of her in the entire issue, it just has to be seen to be believed.

Once again, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a comic book series well worth the time of any fan of the animated series or all ages comic book adventures.  It really is a great book, and one I look forward to each and every month.  I hope you check it out; if you’re in the market for some good old-fashioned fun in Equestria, you won’t be disappointed!

Review by Andrew Mathieu

Friendship in Peril! My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #2 Review

The Mane 6 against... each other?!

The Mane 6 against… each other?!

Story and Art: Katie Cook (writer), Andy Price (art), Heather Breckel (colors), Robbie Robbins (letters), and Bobby Crunow (editor).

After a month hiatus, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic returns for issue two.  Twilight Sparkle and her friends begin their journey to rescue the Cutey Mark Crusaders from the lair of Queen Chrysalis.  Meanwhile, the Queen herself does her best to drive a wedge between ponies, while also contending with constant chatter of the Crusaders.

Katie Cook has the distant voice and personality of everypony down pat.  Each pony gets more attention than last issue, as their adventure begins in earnest.  The dialogue flows naturally between characters, like a scene early on with Twilight giving directions, Rainbow Dash huffing not being able to fly over a mountain, Applejack keeping her focused, and Pinkie Pie being excited about their quest.

I’d like to point out that the are very few caption boxes in the entire issue, with the dialogue driving the story forward.  The banter of the ponies, coupled with the on looking Chrysalis keeps the pacing of the issue quick and smooth.  I didn’t have and trouble reading this comic from cover to cover twice, and there wasn’t a dull moment to be had.

As good as the writing is, the artwork absolutely steals the show.  The character look as they do in the animated series, but rather than emulate the art from the series, Andy Price adds to it with expressive characters, a more cartoony style in some places, and a dark and brooding style in others.  One particular panel with Queen Chrysalis makes her look more menacing and vengeful than she ever did in the cartoon.

Colorist Heather Breckel uses a bright palette so every panel stands out.  I can’t remember a comic with more color that this, but it’s very clean and never feels clutter. Last but not least, letters by Robbie Robbins has some nice effects throughout, especially a scene in which the ponies are surprised by a tremor which the word “RUMBLE” features the visage of each ponies, each with their own reaction.  This is a gorgeous comic book.

Not only that, but the writing and artwork complement each other perfectly.  Something I didn’t elaborate on in my review of issue one are the visual gags and easter eggs scattered throughout the issue.  This issue goes further with references that range from Transformers to Spider-Man to Looney Tunes and a few that I didn’t get, but I noticed them.  These little visual gags and homages are cool to spot, and make multiple reads of the comic that much more enjoyable.

I can’t stop singing the praises of this comic.  It’s funny and suspenseful, the artwork is gorgeous, the characters are delightful, the ending leaves the ponies in a very different place from the start, and the entire issue reads like a stand alone adventure, despite being part two of a four-part story.  Fans of the animated series owe it to themselves to pick up a copy.  Everyone else will find an enjoyable all ages story from an awesome creative team that deserves to be read.  I can’t wait to read more!

Verdict:

Story:  Five out of Five

Art: Five out of Five

Overall: Five out of Five

Review by Andrew Mathieu

From TV Series to Ongoing Comic: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #1 Review

A comic book for everypony!

A comic book for everypony!

By Andrew Mathieu

If you follow my Cartoons and Cartoons blog, it will come as no surprise that I am a huge fan of the My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic animated series.  With lovable characters, awesome animation, and heartfelt stories for all ages, Friendship is Magic has become one my favorite cartoons of the last few years.  IDW Publishing has the honor of launching the very first My Little Pony ongoing comic series, from writer Katie Cook and artist Andy Price.  I’m happy to report that My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #1 captures the spirit of its animated source material while adding its own bit of magic!

The story begins with the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo, trying to gain their Cutie Marks in Zoology.  The trio find themselves in a dangerous situation, and it’s up to the “Mane 6”, Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy, Rainbow Dash, Applejack, Pinkie Pie and Rarity, to help them out.  As if that weren’t enough, the inhabitants of Ponyville have been invaded by the Changlings, creatures capable of taking on anypony’s form.  At the center of all this is Queen Chrysalis, fresh from her defeat from “A Canterlot Wedding,” making a startling return.

I very much enjoyed this first issue.  The art style uses exaggerated expressions for the characters and bold colors throughout the issue.  Katie Cooks absolutely nails the dialogue between the various ponies.  With only a few exceptions (Applejack and Rainbow Dash sound odd in some places), everypony sounds like they do in the cartoon.  Twilight is reasonable and forward thinking, Pinkie Pie and hilarious and over the top, and the Cutie Mark Crusaders are boastful and persistent.  The entire issue is full of visual references from the series, with multiple character cameos, and visual cues that callback previous episodes.

The thing I love about this comic the most is how seamlessly it fits in with the series it’s based on.  I know this will only be apparent to those who watch the show, but the story captures the spirit of adventure, comedy, and fun so well.  Using Queen Chrysalis as the main villain was a bold move considering her character debut was only a few months ago.  I loved her evil nature in “A Canterlot Wedding,” and she is by far the best villain from the series to date.  Getting to see her here for the first storyline of this series is a great bonus to an already great comic.  A shout out to Andy Price and colorist Heather Breckel on Chrysalis in her debut panel, with a great use of shadows that make her look extra eerie!

This comic is off to a great start.  Despite a few some dialogue hiccups, the beautiful artwork, great characters and compelling story makes this one of the best new series I’ve read all year.  With a solid first issue that nicely complements its animated source material, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #1 is an great comic for all ages.

Story: 5 out of 5

Art: 5 out of 5

Overall: 5 out of 5

Coming Soon in 2012: Part 1

2012 promises to be a great year comic book fans.  The Big Two, Marvel and DC, as well as top independent talent for Image, Zenescope, IDW Publishing and more have have eyes locked to the future.  Here’s a short list of what I think is worth a look in the new year!

Saga (Image Comics)  Critically acclaimed writer Brian K. Vaughan returns to comics in a big way with his new creator-owned ongoing series, Saga.  Basically, to mythical beings, whose races are in a never-ending war with one another, fall within the throws passion, and end up with a daughter!  In order to save their child, the two run off from star system to star system in hopes of raising their family in peace.  The series debuts in March with a special extra-sized issue for the standard price of three dollars.

Earth 2 (DC New 52)  As part of the “Second Wave” of DC Comics New 52, Earth 2 marks the long awaited return of the fan-favorite team, the Justice Society of America.  Earth 2 by James Robinson and Nicola Scott sees a new version of the classic superhero team on an alternate version of the New 52 Earth.  Not much is known of the series, but DC editorial has confirmed the series will have an impact on the world of New 52.  The ongoing debuts in May.

Avengers Assemble (Marvel Comics)  With the long awaited debut of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes on the silver screen, Marvel is firing the opening salvo in their comic line with Avengers Assemble.  Written by the legendary creative team of Brian Michael Bendis and Mark Bagley, Avengers Assemble sees Steve Rogers, AKA Captain America, bring in a team of veteran Avengers to stop a new iteration of the classic Avengers villain Zodiac.  This team will comprise the cast of the upcoming film, including Black Widow, Hawkeye, and the Incredible Hulk.  This series will also mark the last time Brian Michael Bendis will launch an Avengers comic as the creator will move away from the franchise before the end of the year.  Bendis has stated, however, the plot threads from this series will roll into unannounced comics he has in store for later this year!  Avengers Assemble launches in March.

That’s it for now, but stay tuned for even more awesome comics as this ongoing feature continues!

Happy New Year!

Andrew Mathieu