At long last, the finale for the latest story arc has reached store shelves. Can our intrepid ponies save their home from those vile, racist, evil, disgusting, preachy-as-heck deer? Or will the wretched curse that is the theme park industry bring doom to all of Equestria?
We pick up immediately where the last issue left off. Celestia and Luna have freed themselves from the vines and sent correspondence back to Twilight about the situation, while Zecora's attempts to stop the rampant plant growth have come to naught. Aspen is still insistent on destroying the ponies who are obviously behind everything with their tree-hating ways, and after some more attempts to persuade the minotaur Well-To-Do to give up fail, he finally just says they're being thrown out of the hidden deer village the next morning. So far, so bad.
That's when things take a wee bit of a turn. Turns out Well-To-Do has gotten some sort of smoothie mix...and it somehow works just like the deer potions, only it still works on the supposedly toxic land. When Bramble discovers this, he's kidnapped by the minotaur, who is now ready to initiate his grand plan to make Aspen his toady, remove the deer resistance to his park, and make himself rich. Can the ponies and deer stop the real enemy: capitalism?
This issue starts just as bad as the last one, echoing the same themes and kicking the Mane 6 around for the sake of comedy. About the only amusing moment is when Twilight tries to revoke Well-To-Do's right to sell merchandise in her likeness, only to reveal that he's created a totally original pony, Twilight Sporkle, who looks like Twilight but has a different face so they are completely original do not steal. The deer are still racist elves that take missed messages (which we see are being intercepted by one of Well-To-Do's goons) as a sign that the ponies are guilty and don't, you know, go in person to see what's up with Celestia.
Things pick up, however, when Well-To-Do goes from a standard businessman archetype to Looten Plunder from Captain Planet. He essentially turns the elven-king into his park's mascot by holding his son hostage, keeps trying to bribe others into supporting him, and when everyone finally has enough of his crap, goes into a grand speech about how all he cares about is money and progress and everyone had just better give up.
This would be unforgivably bad if it weren't accompanied by Blackthorn, the other deer we saw last issue briefly, taking control of the now-leaderless deer and, in a matter of moments, starting the entire species on the road to redemption by having the ponies form an army of Everfree monsters to wreck Well-To-Do's crew of bulldozers. And by bulldozers, I mean carts and wagons shaped like bulldozers that are pushed and pulled by ponies. They even have to make their own beeping noises when backing up. The issue ends with a not-quite-epic-but-still-amusing brawl where our heroes fend off Well-To-Do's forces while knocking all those smoothie barrels over, bathing the land in toxic Miracle-Gro and saving the day.
...Okay, the smoothie crap was really dumb and rushed. And why didn't the deer potions work again? The comic had better do something to distract me from this plot hole. You know, like killing the villain in a gruesome fashion. Which they proceed to do.
Well-To-Do, a ruthless businessman obsessed with progress and money, is devoured by a hydra. The scene was apparently so graphic that they had to censor the panel, much like the gag they pulled when Chrysalis killed that lovey-bunny thing way back in Issue #3. And while the final gag strip shows the minotaur still alive in the hydra's stomach, it's only a matter of time before digestion kicks in and all that, so...yeah, he's dead.
The issue ends with...well, Celestia apologizing to the deer that destroyed her kingdom because they were racist idiots. (Although to be fair, they are very quickly working to repair everything, with Aspen taking personal responsibility for the clean-up, so it isn't as bad as the time they forgave the kelpie for trying to drown them all on the flimsiest of reasons.) Still, Fluttershy nuzzles Philomena, and that's so adorable that it almost makes it worthwhile.
Overall, this arc was better than the last one, but still very flawed. The first issue was just a mess from start to finish, and while this one toned down the environmentalism after the first third, it still had to carry a lot of the baggage. The villain only becomes enjoyable when he becomes a caricature, and even that's mostly because of how ridiculous he and his comeuppance are. The ponies do very little, which is a bit of a problem considering they're supposed to be the main characters. And the deer...if it weren't for Blackthorn, I'd be advocating exterminatus on their furry hides.
The moral of the story:
Next issue is about pony wrestling. Here is a brief summation of everything I know about professional wrestling:
See you next week with two comics to look over.