Tuesday, March 25, 2014

March of the Ponies: MLP Comics (Cutie Mark Crusaders & Celestia one-shots)

[NOTE: Links to other March of the Ponies stories will go here as they are published.Part 1 - Abridged MLP historyPart 2 - Review of Lauren Faust's prior works, Part 3 - MLP Comics (Micro-series of TwilightRainbow DashRarityFluttershyPinkie Pie, Applejack, Spike/LunaNightmare Rarity arc (main series)), Part 4 - Equestria Girls reviewPart 5 - Fan-made episodes (Dusk's Dawn, Double Rainboom, Snowdrop), Part 6 - Fan works (MusicDoctor Whooves, Parody/Abridged Series, Fanfictions), Part 7 - Season Reviews: Season 1, Season 2, Season 3, Magical Mystery Cure, Season 4 (to date)]

So we now move into Vol. 2 of the MLP Pony Tales issues, and I'll admit outright, I own none of these issues. (The audio reviews will be listed next to each issue's section.)

I read all four in a trade at a nearby comic shop and so I can't go back and reference them while I'm reviewing. But I tend to have a good enough memory of the stories and found enough pages scattered through image searches that I feel comfortable with my ratings for these books.

That said, I'll be reviewing the issues in pairs so that the ones I'm not solid on don't take up a full blog.

So let's get to it!

Probably the best cover for this issue.
Issue #7 (Cutie Mark Crusaders)

The CMCs' issue was not a terrible read, but the lesson that was going to be learned became apparent way too quickly.

They find a creature known as a mimic, which is searching for the final form it will take, so the CMCs decide to make it an honorary member and help it find its final form. Unfortunately, it just devolves into a battle over which of them will get the mimic to turn into what they want it to.

This issue gets across the impulsiveness of the fillies across as well as their inherent ethics once they realize they've been treating their 'friend' as property.

It's a good lesson for the CMCs to learn; my issues are that this story just feels kind of flimsy. Maybe if one of them had been questioning their actions it would have been better, but when the moral is this telegraphed and no one in the plot seems to notice it, reading the story becomes irritating - both because of the rude actions being taken and because you're thinking so far ahead of the story.

The art isn't terrible, and it's actually by the Pinkie Pie art team that I praised. But how can I put this... I don't think the art style translates to smaller filly bodies, especially when their movements aren't as over-the-top as Pinkie's were.

Even Amy Mebberson's coloring wasn't at its top form. Why are the CMCs shiny? It's like they were trying some experimental art style.

Anyway, for what it is, it's not a bad issue, but it's not worth paying for. I give it a 6.9/10.

Just a well-designed cover. That is all.
Issue #8: Princess Celestia

Celestia's issue is much more a step in the direction I wanted these stories to go. Georgia Ball is the writer for this issue, and she makes the most of her debut in the micro-series by telling a story that encapsulates who Celestia is.

The story is pretty straightforward. Celestia is at an event for the school of magic, where everyone seems to be tired of this aging teacher who eventually messes up the event with her 'more efficient' magic.

There are legitimately good emotional moments when it's revealed that the teacher has a history with Celestia, helping her during a crisis when she was in charge of night as well.

And there's a sequence at the end where Celestia worries if her friend might be losing confidence in her own abilities due to her age, raising the very real point that Celestia doesn't really age and has to watch all her friends age and fade away.

However, the story isn't without humor. It's shown how Celestia always thinks the best about subjects she knows and can be funny when she wants to be. She's also shown to be very smart and a true leader when given time to plan.

The main downside to the story is that the conflict resolves itself in a manner that's far too cliched. Still, the emotional moments make up for it.

The artist is Amy Mebberson, who did the coloring for the previous issue, and it's clear her shinier style was a practice for this issue. The artistic style for Celestia was great and really gave an elegance that is necessary for the Princess of the Day.

Rating the issue as a whole, I'd give it an 8.3/10. It's not a perfect story, but it's exactly the kind of story Celestia needed.

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