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  • 42 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Molt Down

    This week is a Spike episode? What a re-”molt”-ing development this is!

    Let's look at “Molt Down,” the episode that will surely be perfectly normal and have no long-lasting repercussions on a character's appearance.

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  • 43 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Break Up Break Down

    I dread going into this week's episode. For today, we discuss matters of the heart. Romance, love, heartbreak, and all that rot. Which means we run right into the most loathsome of all fandom constructs, the kind of thing that destroys friendships and leaves the most brilliant of minds curled up helplessly in a corner, foaming from the mouth:

    SHIPPING.

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  • 44 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Non-Compete Clause

    We've had a string of good episodes the last few weeks. Whether it be shapeshifting seaponies, an actual Celestia episode, or discovering Starlight's dark phase, we've had lots of fun and plenty of laughs.

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    The good times are over.

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  • 45 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: The Parent Map

    Happy Cinco de Mayo, everyone who cares about that! What better way to spend the day than watching a cartoon about horses dealing with their mommy/daddy issues? Well, tough, because that's what we're doing. This is “The Parent Map.”

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  • 46 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Horse Play

    So hey, it's a new episode. Surely nothing to be excited about. Just another standard episode of a cartoon pony show.

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    5 comments · 354 views
Mar
27th
2013

Comic Review: Issue #5 and Micro-Series #2 · 8:23pm Mar 27th, 2013

The latest issue of the comic has graced our mailboxes, store shelves and iOS/Android devices, so it's time to take a look. But since I was lazy and didn't do a review of the second Micro-Series, we'll look at both today and see how they measure up.

---

Issue #5: The Return of Nightmare Moon (Note that there's no official title in the book, at least as I can find, so we'll go with that for this arc.)

After the craziness of Queen Chrysalis' kidnapping and assimilation plot (which ultimately ended in a rather anticlimactic fashion), our fair heroines have returned to their rural little village to slumber and feed. Unfortunately, all six are suddenly struck with a week of nightmares that keep them up all night, sapping their strength and leaving them just wandering through town. And when Pinkie tries to throw a slumber party so they'll finally get some rest, the nightmares strike again...only this time Rarity ends up getting abducted by black smog and hauled off to parts unknown.

Oh, and said nightmares happen to be coming from the same powers that made Luna into Nightmare Moon. Fun times.

The issue is almost entirely setup and exposition, with the only action being Rarity's abduction. That isn't to say it's handled badly, though. Nearly every scene in the issue is dripping with fantastic character presentation and development, with the dialogue matching the ponies perfectly and the actual story being quite a strong start. The art is also much more subdued than the Queen Chrysalis art was, and while I did enjoy the artwork in the first four issues, the events presented her really benefit from a less, shall we say, cartoonish presentation. It's also full of fun gags and small background scenes, such as the puddle of tears and pile of tissues near Spike after Rarity's kidnapping and Pinkie's cheerleader outfit.

That being said, there is one thing I find kind of bothersome, and that's Luna. Her design is based on her sole Season One appearance, albeit with darker colors that match her "Luna Eclipsed" redesign, and her personality is far closer to the old fanon interpretations mixed with a few traces of what we got in the show. I can't really put my finger on what it is that bothers me, but a lot of it probably has to do with the fact that the comics are supposed to be set between the second and third seasons, after "Luna Eclipsed." Then again, considering how even the merchandise keeps using the old design, it could have either been a decision handed down by Hasbro or a legitimate misunderstanding from an artist who hasn't worked in the franchise before. (That, or this is going to explain where the redesign came from...although that would create an even bigger plot hole with "Luna Eclipsed." Comic, you couldn't go five issues without going into non-canon territory?) That said, her short BSOD when thinking about what's in store for Rarity was quite...foretelling.

OVERALL:

This is a pretty solid start to the new story arc, and I highly recommend picking this up if you haven't already. The new art is fantastic, the writing is as solid as ever, and the potential for this story is even higher than the last. (Fortunately, it's also the last of the returning villain arcs, as the next one is supposed to have an original baddie to contend with.)

---

Micro-Series #2: Rainbow Dash

While performing with the Wonderbolts, Rainbow accelerates too quickly and messes up her wings right before crashing into a giant black cloud. Unfortunately, said cloud happens to be occupied by a pair of gremlins, creatures who feed on the sadness and misery of others, and they have a perfect plan to get themselves a feast. They park their ever-expanding cloud over Ponyville, blocking the sun and making everypony below miserable, and with Dash's abilities limited because of her wings, none of her attempts to stop them are working. With time running out and the town blaming her, can Rainbow Dash stop those pesky gremlins?

Much like Issue #5, the artwork here is much better than the first Micro-Series...although given that the art in that one was pretty horrendous, that's not saying a lot. While it's still not as good as the main series, it's amazing what little things like consistency and drawing inside the lines can do. Unfortunately, the same cannot be said of the writing.

The actual story is fairly solid. It's once again about Dash learning not to think about her own glory, but instead focus on making everypony else happy, but it's done well. The gremlins are also a fairly interesting pair, although they actually don't do much other than act like the Frenchman from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. (Outside of the four panels where one jumps on Dash's head and kicks her down, I mean.) Also, unlike the Twilight Sparkle micro, this one features another Mane 6 member, Applejack, in a fairly significant supporting role, and Tank makes his own contributions. There's a few inspired jokes throughout, such as the goth pony who's actually rather happy about the cloud, and the way Dash solves the issue is the kind of awesomeness you would expect from her.

Where it falls down is in some of the story details and the dialogue. The residents of Ponyville very quickly descend into Marvel Universe levels of ungratefulness, with the media cursing Rainbow Dash's name and blaming the cloud being there in the first place on her. The gremlins simply don't do much of anything other than have that cloud there, which kind of contributes to how utterly flat and kind of pointless they were. You could have literally removed the gremlins and just had a giant, unbreakable cloud show up and you would have had the same story with only a few small alterations. And a lot of the dialogue is just...flat and lifeless. I know it's a Dash story, so the plot and narrative kinda take a back seat to the action, but it just feels off.

OVERALL:

While the art is much better, I felt kind of let down by this issue. While the action bits are solid, the actual story is kind of meh. Still, it was a pretty good issue, just not as good as the first one.

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Comments ( 14 )

Is volume 5 out in stores? Or just iTunes?

The writing in the Dash micro got, kinda weird.:twilightsheepish: It took me three read-throughs before I actually knew what the hell was going on. And did anyone else think the goth pony looked like a goth, flat maned Pinkie?

I am using Pony Newman's Hickory smoked awesomesauce forever now. That was inspired. :rainbowlaugh:

i havent read it, (nor will I), but personally I actually like like Luna's design from her one appearance in season 1 a ton more than season 2 and on. In the old one, we saw her as youthful and delicate, now, after not doing anything, we see she's Celestia's equal and are demanded to bow down to her.

Must... repress... anti NLR Rage.... cant.... hold...It..... Post Comment....

>The residents of Ponyville very quickly descend into Marvel Universe levels of ungratefulness, with the media cursing Rainbow Dash's name and blaming the cloud being there in the first place on her.

Have you considered that the gremlins were manipulating the ponies with their powers to make them hate Rainbow Dash? By doing so they creat a negative-feedback loop of her feeling down and, because of that, she's unable to muster the will to destroy the cloud, which causes the Ponyville residents to decry her more, pushing her further into depression, causing her attempts to become even weaker ect. ect. ect.?

That said, I did feel as if it was a weak entry. I quite enjoyed Twilight's mini; while its art was obviously inferior and the main plot rather mediocre, there were tons of gold nuggets in the form of book references and the like. That the writer got away with referencing a torture story (I Have No Snout and I Must Whinny) is impressive in and of itself.

They also quoted the Simpsons that is very important to note.

I'm not reading your review of #5 until I read it myself. As for the RD Micro Series entry, I liked it more than the previous Twilight Micro Series entry personally (I thought that one was just okay. But then again, I don't like Twilight as much as you do.). Though I do guess that what you said about the gremlins is true but at least they had personalities rather than be little more than a force of nature (*cough*Sombra*cough*).

Well, it's possible that the statement of the comic being set between S2&S3 only applied to the first four, and that now this latest arc is now meant to be set between S1&S2. I'm not opposed to them trying to tell the story of why Luna's appearance changed. I could even see them attempting to use this as the reason everypony went from happy and welcoming in Ep.2 to overwhelmingly fear in Luna Elcipsed. That is if the series ends with her somehow imprisoning the nightmare entities inside of herself, at which point things like her use of the royal we could be seen as an unsettling group talk.

That's not to say I'd agree with any of that, but I could certainly see it as the angle the comic intends to play.

..

As for the Dash comic, that sounds both amazing and disappointing. I absolutely love the idea of Gremlins being another breed of emotivore, so I would very much want at least the existence of such thing to be canon, if not this particular underwhelming pair. The rest... well, it just a comic one shot, so I can forgive it for being rather "meh".

951941
re: Luna's appearance, I never thought of it in that way but what you're saying makes total sense to me. That'd be a neat idea, honestly.

I thought the Rainbow Dash micro seemed almost like it was originally written in another language and then translated (poorly) into english. That's how stilted the dialogue and Dash's internal monologues were.

Loved the new entry in the main series though. Nightmare Moon definitely deserved some further explanation.

Wasn't it stated that Luna's appearance changed because she was magically weak after being freed from the nightmare. Maybe when it regained power it weakened her and she reverted.

Ohhh, man. This is gonna be good. The writer did a fantastic job of building up the suspense through the early part of the comic, and as much as I liked Andy Price's artwork, this is even better.

As for the RD micro, yeah... didn't like it very much. It was badly disjointed, and like the first main arc, the solution to the problem was "try really hard". Pretty meh.

Sorry, I had to dig this one out from way back because I only now got my hands of a big pile of the comics. I personally didn't like Micro #2 at all, because it was... confusing. Most of the comic I was wondering if this was some weird nightmare that RD was having. It was badly written, the dialogue was horrid, going from overtly complex exposition to badly done ponifications and incoherent puns and jokes. The art was mediocre, though not as horrid as the elephant legs of #1. I can't understand why there had to be several gigantic (several months) time leaps in the story. I didn't get why with all the exposition they pushed on the reader, the story itself didn't make sense to em. Never had a problem following even complex stories, but this one was like random scenes put together. It was way removed from canon and took ridiculous liberties without any payoffs.

This was the worst micro I've read, hands down.

1257640

Yeah, I've changed my opinion on that one as well. It's just not a good issue.

That's the downside with posting a review; sometimes you change your mind later on. But hey, Rarity came along and saved the day once again, and the micros started getting much better. Even the worse one post-Rarity (Fluttershy) wasn't as bad as Rainbow Dash's outing.

1257764 I've yet to read Rarity. But I loved the heck out of Pinkie... and I hate her as a character, so that's gotta be awesome.

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