My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #19 Review

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I’m a sucker for an alternate universe story, especially a classic mirror universe where everything you know is wrong and/or opposite of the things you already know.  But how do you invert the happy, shiny world of rainbow ponies without getting too dark and creepy?  Your Major Spoilers review of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #19 (with special guest-star) awaits!

FIM19MY LITTLE PONY: FRIENDSHIP IS MAGIC #19
Writer: Katie Cook
Artist: Andy Price
Colorist: Heather Breckel
Letterer: Neil Uyetake
Editor: Bobby Curnow
Publisher: IDW Publishing
Cover Price: $3.99

Previously in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:  Each week at Major Spoilers, I choose several comics that I know I want to review, subtract the ones that Chris and Ashley snake from me, and proceed to map out my week.  This time, though, my daughter was concerned about my lineup of books, informing me that people might think me a Brony were I to review this book.  I tried to tell her that, as a semi-professional comic book reviewer, I don’t care WHAT people call me, so long as they come back to Major Spoilers, but she insisted on physically picking out and purchasing the comic book for me, just in case.  Since she picked the book, she also decided that I would need help reviewing it (which I suspect might be a little bit of jealousy at Stephen’s rather gifted son and his spot-on movie reviewing).  Either way, this issue picks up where the previous one left off, as our pony pals have traveled into an alternate universe where bad is good, up is down and short is long at the behest of their Princess, Celestia.  For years now, Celestia has been having a secret affair with an alternate version of evil King Sombra, and now have to deal with Celestia’s own evil counterpart, as well as deconstructing the alternate universe trope…

ALTERNATE TWILIGHT, SADLY, DOES NOT HAVE A GOATEE

Having arrived in their mirror universe, our (ahem) Mane Six find things considerably different than they are used to, as a kind and wise King Sombra welcomes them to his world, one which has taken quite a beating from the one-two punch of evil Celestia and her partner evil Luna.  Flashbacks reveal to us how good Princess Celestia first came to this strange parallel world, and play with all the toys of the MLP universe is a quite charming fashion.  Luna, who started out evil and eventually had her own face turn in the cartoon series, is seen her as a noble young pony who eventually turns dark and evil to join her elder sister.  Indeed, that sort of coincidence has been happening more and more over the years, and Celestia reveals that her magical mentor Star Swirl had forbidden her from visiting the alternate world because the two dimensions had begun to sync more and more as she crossed over.  Of course, the My Little Pony comic, as with the series upon which it’s based, isn’t aimed at me, the 40ish nerd who gets all of the references to Star Trek and sci-fi conceits, but instead at the average 7-12 year old.  So, what does Widget think about this issue?

From The Desk Of Widget, Actual Ten-Year-Old Girl:

A second dimension in shambles basically. Princess Celestia has been captured by her evil second dimension clone and her evil sister Luna. This issue really surprised me. It was much more intense than I imagined. This was a story of how Celestia met her boyfriend through a portal that she and Star Swirl went through.  If I keep going, I will tell you the entire story.

The comic was pretty good. I recommend it to some people.  Now, I’m no brony.  It is physically impossible for me to be a brony.  But I like the book.  The art was very, well, my-little-pony-ish.  It looked good for the book.  It was very cute.  They’re ponies.  Ponies are cute.  Back to the book.

“WHO NEEDS CONTINUITY?”

I am in agreement with her regarding the art, as the ponies ARE cute.  Andy Price manages to keep every character on-model, and more impressively, to create evil mirror characters who are amusing but make perfect sense (such as evil Luna’s red-and-black ensemble with pointy boots and vampire cape.)  There’s a lot of clever stuff in this book aimed at the primary target market, but as with the best kids’ fare, certain jokes are aimed at adult readers as well.  A series of asides between Pinky Pie and the rest of the group are hysterical, especially when a frantic Twilight Sparkle tries to map out the fundamental reasoning behind the two parallel universes, and lament that it almost doesn’t make sense, only to have Pinky cry out that their OWN universe doesn’t really make sense anyway.  The balance of characters is, as always, solid, and the underlying romance plot is handled deftly, without any unexpected or unpleasant implications.  So, what’s the final Widget analysis?

I liked the concept.  The fact that they brought in a second dimension was interesting.  I think the inner core and idea was good, it just wasn’t great.  Nothing about this book was bad, but it just wasn’t particularly great.  I have never read a MLP comic before, so maybe the series is good, I don’t know.

Overall, My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #19 was OK, even my cat said so. 3 out of 5 stars in my opinion.

THE BOTTOM LINE: CLEVER AND APPEALING

In case you’re wondering, the cat did sit next to her as she typed on her computer, and meowed in response to several questions about the book, which was about as cute as one would expect.  Either way, this issue is a strong one, with a really interesting premise behind it, and some logical moments from our heroes, who create a plan to defeat evil Celestia based on their previous defeat of their own evil Sombra.  It’s got peppy dialogue, as well as solid art and coloring, and pulls even a crusty old superhero fan like me into the adventures of anthropomorphic horsies with magical powers, regardless of any pre-judgments I might have brought with me.  In short, My Little Pony, Friendship Is Magic #19 is the real deal, expanding and extrapolating from existing materials and delivering a story that you can enjoy without ever worrying about what you might think about any of the extreme elements of the title’s fan base, and I concur with Widget’s grading, awarding the book 3 out of 5 stars overall.  In fact, we’ll be back for the rest of this arc as well, because both she and I genuinely enjoyed this chapter of the story…