The Wrath of Nightmare Rarity: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #7 Review

Will the ponies be able to fight a friend?

Will the ponies be able to fight a friend?

Comic Written by Heather Nuhfer, Drawn by Amy Mebberson, Colored by Heather Breckel, Lettered by Neil Uyetake, and Edited by Bobby Curnow

Review by Andrew Mathieu

After being kidnapped and having her greatest fears consume her, Rarity has become the new Nightmare Moon.  After having overcome the obstacles put before them in the last issue, Twilight, Princess Luna, Spike, and their pony friends must now try to save their lost friend from the clutches of darkness.  However, with a legion of corrupted denizens at her disposal, Nightmare Rarity may not be so easy to overcome.

This issue, at its core, focused a small number of characters, and despite most of the ponies being in play, along with some nice cameos, they are mostly left by the wayside.  The first half of the issue helps us get aquinted with the new Nightmare Moon as her friends must fight of both her and the various shadow creatures at her beck and call.  Later the issue focus on Spike, as he tries his best to free Rarity, the pony he loves.

The dialogue from the ponies is spot on and true to each character, from Pinkie Pie’s attempt to free Rarity by telling an embarrassing story about her, to Fluttershy finding the beauty in one of the more grotesque creatures of the moon.  The scenes in Ponyville where Princess Celestia attempts to prepare the town’s citizens for an impending attack help illustrate the threat of Nightmare Moon nicely.  My main problem with this issue is the fact that Rarity as Nightmare Moon feels less groundbreaking to the ponies than I would have thought.  The pacing of the story doesn’t allow for much reflection on the pony’s part, nor does it allow them to question how their friend could have possibly fallen to the evil specter from their past.  The scenes featuring Spike are nice, showing just how much she cares for Rarity, as well as how resourceful the little dragon can be.  It does run a little long, though, and doesn’t leave anymore room for Twilight and her friends before the issue comes to an end.

The artwork from Amy Mebberson, with the colors of the Heather Breckel, continue the colorful symphony of fun I continue to adore from this series.  The characters look very animated and expressive, while the backgrounds are more mute and less important to the characters filling them.  Nightmare Rarity is also very well designed, with the stylish hair and uptight demeanor making a nice contrast to her predecessor.   The moon is a dark and dank place with its citizens matching the environments well, but the addition of the ponies (and dragon) help them dominate each panel.  It’s a nice mixture that really drives home the ponies are not from this world, which is an impressive feat.  Andy Price may be unbelievable meticulous in the minute details, but Mebberson and Breckel bring their own synergy to make the comic familiar to fans of the show, yet unique in their own colorful style.

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #8 is a nice continuation of a decent story.  The setup has a ton of potential, but the end result is a lot less ambitious.  Not a bad way for the story to go by any means, but nothing that really blows me away.  The story is well told, the artwork continues to impressive, and the ending helps build anticipation for the grand finale.  A good, just short of great, pony adventure.

Writing:  3.5 out of 5

Artwork:  4 out of 5

Overall:  3.5 out of 5

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Blackest Night Mare: My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #5 Review

A new creative team and a new adventure for everyone's favorite ponies!

A new creative team and a new adventure for everyone’s favorite ponies!

Reviewed by Andrew Mathieu

Comic Written by Heather Nuhfer, Drawn by Amy Mebberson, Colored by Heather Breckel, Lettered by Neil Uyetake, and Edited by Bobby Curnow

After a wonderful first arc featuring great character work, amazing art, and the delightfully sinister villain in Queen Chrysalis, this ongoing series receives a changing of the guard with a brand new writer Heather Nuhfer, and artwork by series cover artist Amy Mebberson.  The story begins with Twilight Sparkle being plagued with nightmares. After finding out her best friends, save for Spike, have also been plagued with similar nightmares, they all decide to have a sleepover at Pinkie Pie’s.  However, evil forces are at work, one of the ponies is in major danger, and a visit from Equestria royalty ushers in a new adventure.

The issue as a whole is well written.  Heather Nuhfer has a nice handle on all the ponies, especially Rainbow Dash.  Dash gets a large amount of dialogue, making me believe the multicolored pony has a fan in Nuhfer.  She’s mostly true to Dash’s character, but I don’t think Rainbow should be this talkative and random to the level of Pinkie Pie, something Pinkie amusingly comments on.

(Spoiler Alert: Skip following paragraph if you’d like to experience the story for yourself)

Another character Nuhfer writes well is the criminally underused Princess Luna.  In the animated series, she has not gotten that much screen time, so it’s nice to have this comic arc utilize her to such a degree.  Nuhfer’s Luna is somewhat subdued and somewhat reclusive, yet intelligent and authoritative.  Her design definitely represents her nature with her dark color palette that is in stark contrast to the other ponies.  I look forward to having her play a role in this story arc, and I think Nuhfer does a good job of fleshing her out.

On the artistic side, things are looking good.  While Amy Mebberson’s art isn’t as detailed and intricate as Andy Price before her, it’s full of personality and a nice storybook quality.  With less on the page, she’s able to give the characters some details in expression and movement.  There is this one scene in the issue that looks into each pony’s personal nightmare, and some are absolutely heart wrenching, despite most only taking up a single panel on the page.  Her style is very attractive, and the colors from Heather Breckel continue to make this one of the most pleasant-looking comics I read.

All in all, this story is off to a good start.  Only time will tell if this arc can live up to the extremely high standards of the previous one, but I have high hopes.  This wasn’t the best issue I’ve read, but it was still really good.

Story:  3.5 out of 5

Artwork 4 out of 5

Overall: 4 out of 5

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