Everyone had a special toy that defined their childhood. For me, it was anything horse-related. So when Hasbro Studios introduced the My Little Pony toy franchise in the early 1980s, I quickly became enamored with its pastel ponies, and then the television show and its obnoxiously catchy tunes. So while other girls played “house” with Barbies, I always had more fun playing with the Ponies because, being from the Midwest, I was around horses a lot during my childhood. Like everyone else, I grew up and lost track of the Ponies until I heard that IDW was publishing a mini-series. I didn’t have to think twice about adding it to my Pull list. Pony fever hit me full-force again as I dove back into the franchise, and I took every opportunity to remind my friends and family of how awesome this was! Apparently I wasn’t the only person hit because when the comic news sites reported that 90,000+ #1 issues were pre-ordered, people were completely surprised that a comic not from the “Big Two” could hit such a huge printing total in such a short amount of time. (FYI: DC’s October issue of Batman by Scott Snyder hit 148k in total sales). It’s impressive that while most superhero comics were aimed to be darker, My Little Pony’s Katie Cook and Andy Price decided that it was time to remind everyone that perhaps the key to being successful is creating comics that aim to tell great, fun stories that also happens to fit into the All-ages category too.
If you’ve never heard of Katie Cook, Andy Price, or Heather Breckel, they’re the artist-driven creative team behind this delightful comic. Katie, now a best-selling writer, is an accomplished comic book artist and illustrator (having done licensed work for DC, Marvel, and Star Wars just to name a few). Andy Price, another professional artist, illustrates while Heather Breckel colors, which is brilliant, considering the norm of a creative team consists of the writer developing the script while the rest of the team does the artwork separately. The trio’s enthusiasm for the mini-series both excited fans of the show, and is why IDW made it a major forerunner in their 2012 comic series .
The story begins with Sweetie Belle, Apple Blossom, and Scootaloo on a campout in Fluttershy’s backyard/zoo to earn their Cutiemarks (the design seen on a Pony’s hind quarters). It quickly becomes clear that something is wrong with some of the zoo animals, which results in the three ponies being “fillynapped”. The next day we see life in Ponyville isn’t quite normal for some reason. We’re introduced to the Mane 6, which consist of Apple Jack, Pinkie Pie, Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, Rarity, and Twilight Sparkle. They quickly realize that their friends were replaced with Changelings, sharp-fanged dark ponies that were servants of a villain from the television show’s second season. Pretending to act like they’ve been brainwashed, they discover how “everypony” was kidnapped and replaced. Upon sneaking into the castle, a fight ensues that is quite impressive and funny, considering these are ponies fighting. Pinkie finally shoots the Changelings with her bubble-gum cake batter out of a canon, which subdues the evil ponies while the others rescue their friends. When they realize the three ponies they originally searched for aren’t there, a crystal ball appears (courtesy of Spike the purple dragon) and the archneme-pony is revealed to be Queen Chrysalis. She tells the Mane 6 they have three days to rescue their younger sisters (which ties something mentioned by Twilight Sparkle at the beginning of the issue). The Mane 6 then set out on a rescue mission to save the fillynapped ponies that will now span over the other five issues of the miniseries.
Overall, I really enjoyed this issue. The only problem I had was that since I haven’t finished watching all of the “Friendship is Magic” television show, I didn’t know what happened in the Pony’s previous confrontation with Queen Chrysalis. It didn’t hinder me from understanding the story, but for this being the first issue, I think new readers could be confused with who every character is. I found the dialogue, characters, and Pony terms quite funny, and I laughed throughout the entire issue. Each character’s personality was married to the dialogue perfectly by Price’s illustrations and vividly colored by Heather Breckel. Being an artist, I loved the comic art style chosen, but some fans of the show might dislike it since it is different. Despite the lack of characters’ history, I loved this issue and greatly anticipate the arrival of the next one to find out what happens. If you’re looking for a great non-superhero comic to read, I recommend picking this series up!
Check out the MLP creative team’s websites!