My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic was an overnight sensation, attracting not just the target demographic of girls, but also older female fans, and surprisingly, men too, from teenagers to adults. With such a wide and varied audience, it should come as no surprise that it would get its own comic series.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic Volume 1
Written by Katie Cook; Art by Andy Price
IDW Publishing; November 2012;
22 pgs.; $3.99
I’m not a fan of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, but I am familar with it since my youngest daughter is. I’ve seen a few episodes and know about a lot of the characters. This first issue jumps right into the action, expecting readers to already know about the characters, their personalities, and their relationships. But the story is presented in such a way that no introduction is really needed.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic begins with the Apple Blossom, Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo, three young ponies who desperately want to get their cutie marks (the markings on the ponies flanks) camping out in Fluttershy’s backyard, hoping that working with the different animals she has will help them. But they are suddenly attacked. The next morning, all three are acting strange, not themselves. Soon other ponies in Ponyville start acting the same way, with vacant gazes, almost like zombies. Apple Jack, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash notice at first, and soon Twilight Sparkle, Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie notice as well, just as the whole town turns on them. Twilight Sparkle suspects the Changelings are behind this, led by the evil Queen Chrysalis. The Mane Six must save Ponyville and stop whatever evil plot Chrysalis is up to.
There is plenty in this first issue to please fans. It’s obvious Cook doesn’t just like the show, she is very familiar with it. The character interactions are faithfully done, from the eye-rolling at Pinkie Pie’s ideas to the glares Rainbow Dash gets when she’s being a smart alec. Fan favorite characters show up as well, such as Lyra, a mint green pony with a lyre on her flank, and Derpy Hooves, the grey pony with blonde hair, bubbles on her flank, and a love of muffins. There are all kinds of Easter eggs to be found if you are familiar enough and look hard enough. It really feels like an episode of the cartoon in print, which should please any fan.
But you don’t have to be a hard core fan to enjoy this issue. At its foundation is a solid story with plenty of humor and action. While there is no formal introduction to the characters, their personalities and relationships are shown through the story. Apple Jack is an apple farmer and is first introduced on the family farm. Rarity is a fashion designer and is distracted by Sweetie Belle’s strange behavior due to a problem she spots with a hat she is working on. Rainbow Dash’s high opinion of herself is shown as she complains to Apple Jack about getting snubbed by Scootaloo. Pinkie Pie’s zaniness is all over the issue from pretending to be a zombie to get past the replaced ponies to using her party canon filled with bubble gum batter to catch the Changelings. Fluttershy’s dual personality comes out during the fight with the Changelings, as she switches from sweet to scary in two seconds flat, and Twilight Sparkle’s love of books is shown when she calls for a retreat to the library when they are attacked, which elicits a groan from the others.
The action heats up after the Mane Six figure out what is going on. They do not hesitate to take on the Changeling minions and rescue their fellow ponies. The humor really plays well here, keeping the story from getting too dark. During the battle, Rarity gets a power boost by thinking about last year’s fashions, and you never know what’s going to come out of Pinkie Pie’s canon, or where she keeps it. Even when Chrysalis makes her dramatic appearance, the banter between the young ponies gets some dead pan responses from both Chrysalis and Apple Jack.
I enjoyed this first issue of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The characters are quirky, and the story is fun. The art is well done and adapts the characters faithfully. Best of all, this title isn’t about girl ponies going on adventures. It’s about ponies who happen to be girls going on adventures. It’s an important distinction that should be considered more. This is a comic anyone of any age or gender can enjoy.