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  • 46 weeks
    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Horse Play

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    5 comments · 352 views
Jul
24th
2013

Comic Review: Issue #9 (Zen and the Art of Gazebo Repair) · 1:38pm Jul 24th, 2013

Well, another month, another comic. After two epic story arcs of returning villains, heroic struggles, and tales of redemption and woe, we have...Big Mac looking for nails. OH, THE EPICNESS!

(Note: I already covered the SDCC exclusive backup, so just look for that here. This is all about the main story.)

---

Our story begins with a typical day for Big Macintosh. (Or Big McIntosh, if you're so inclined.) The old gazebo needs fixing after it devoured a few hapless adventurers, and he's on hoof to deal with the crisis. Unfortunately, he's out of nails, and must go into town to pick up some more. Even worse, it's the Summer Wrapup Festival, and every street is clogged with stands and ponies browsing or advertising their wares. Can Big Mac make it to the hardware store without being lost forever?

After two epic adventures, it's rather strange to have a basic, slice-of-life story in the mix, especially one focusing entirely on a secondary character. I would say it's a way to comment on our heroes from another perspective, but the Mane 6 don't appear at all outside of brief background cameos. No, this issue is all about the supporting and background cast. Even Octavia and Vinyl Scratch get a few lines.

There's also no plot to speak of. The nails are just a MacGuffin to get Big Macintosh into town; otherwise, he would just be content to spend time on the farm, and we already have Applejack for those stories. The real meat of the issue is the encounters Big Mac has on his way to the hardware store, which I must now break down:

- The CMC scenes are hilarious, if a bit frightening. (Seriously, how could anypony in this town trust three fillies with crates of explosives, and especially these three?) We get the gag set up beautifully early on, then have it built on with some background appearances as the story progresses. My only complaint is that it makes Sweetie Belle a bit too dumb. I know she's not the brightest bulb out there, but it just feels a bit too exaggerated.

That, or she's just a complete psychopath who wants to watch the world burn...

- Pound and Pumpkin are adorable in their destructiveness. The Cakes do what any frustrated parents would do: stick their infants with a total stranger and run off before they have a chance to say no. The foals torturing Big Mac is always cute, but the real star here is Trixie, who has added a puppet show to her repertoire. (Unfortunately, it also seems that her “Great and Apologetic” phase didn't hold up.)

- About a third of the way through, there's a Family Circus-inspired gag with Big Mac's trail being charted by a dotted line, along with little text boxes about his adventures. It's cute, especially what happens to him in the Science Fair.

- Fleetfoot falling in love with Big Mac is the second-funniest part of the comic. I could have done without her retiring to marry him (kind of a red flag there), but the way the comic transitions from her puppy love dream to the cruel reality of blunt force trauma is hilarious. It also goes with one of the comic's big themes: everypony wants to see how “big” Big Mac really is.

- Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon running Lucy's psychiatry stand sounds funnier than it actually is. The joke is rather weak and mostly consists of the two being snooty. What does make it better is Snowflake showing up right after for a “YEAH – Nope” showdown of the ages.

- Luna's appearance is the funniest thing in the entire comic, and possibly in all of G4. She shows up in full “Royal Canterlot Voice” mode (although she does slip into her quieter self at one point) and demands to enter the festival's games...while wearing a t-shirt and press-ganging Big Mac to be her partner. The Pie Eating Contest is literally the greatest thing that has ever happened. Plus, it gave rise to this half-assed edit I still found hilarious:

My ONLY complaint is Luna's shirt. The writing on it changes between panels, a la Mad, but when she first lands, it says, “Blame My Sister.” And there has been quite enough of that. I'll stop whining about it once all traces of Tyrant Celestia have been purged from the Earth. Or she gets an episode, whatever comes first.

- Finally, we have Zecora, who...just shows up to end the comic. I did get a kick out of when she had to stop and think up a next rhyme.

And through it all, we have Big Mac. Like always, he's a stallion of few words, but our POV allows us to see his inner thoughts. Just through his actions and little yellow boxes, he's shown to be a rather level-headed, kindly individual who gets frustrated with these antics, but won't let things stop him from his goal. He's like Applejack, but with a stoic, almost zen-like state compared to her fiery determination and tendency to overreact. We even learn that he's afraid of spiders on one panel, and that even he has an enormous appetite. (Even I cannot eat five sandwiches and munch on four funnel cakes less than an hour later.)

The only other issue I have with the...issue, is the way it ends. What we're presented with feels like a legitimate ending, but the story continues for one more issue. Honestly, I don't know how they can stretch this one out. It's such a flimsy tale that the strain might break it, and we've had so much concentrated awesomeness that the second half will have an uphill battle to fight.

But in any case, buy the comic. Now. This I command.

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Comments ( 16 )

The second part obviously involves him having taken too long to get the nails, and the Gazebo has awoken.

IT'S TOO LATE BIG MAC. YOU HAVE ANGERED THE GAZEBO.

Luna's part in this is awesome.

That, or she's just a complete psychopath who wants to watch the world burn...

:unsuresweetie:

I wish I could buy it...cant

1232292

And then Old Man Henderson kamikazes an airship into the Gazebo, brushes himself off, and walks off into the sunset.

The next part is abiut Big Mac accidntally getting sent on a wild and wacky adventure through all of Equestria

1232445
Ha!

I'm glad I found 1d4chan so I actually know those stories. And Tucker's kobolds. Tucker's kobolds have actually just shown up in a campaign I'm running. Fortunately they're on the PC's side. Unfortunately they're on the PC's side because they have to team up to deal with Tucker's hobgoblins.

That, or she's just a complete psychopath who wants to watch the world burn...

SB: "If I can't have a cutie mark, no one WILL!"

... or ...

#8 · Jul 24th, 2013 · · ·

FYI: Issue 9 has been delayed until the 31st by Diamond.

1232944

Yep. Comixology released it early this morning, and I managed to grab it before they could take it back down.

This was the best Micro Series comic ever!

A shame it got switched out for one of the main series comics.

And we only got to hear about the latest epic adventure arc (which is what the main series comics were supposed to be for) secondhoof as the Mane Six were telling civilians about it in the background. Maybe we'll hear the end of it in the background dialogue of the next comic?

1232980 They took it down? Whoa... I hope I can still read it on my... yes, yes I can. Whew.

Anyway, my thoughts:

I think the "blame my sister" shirt was a jab at the Tyrant!Celestia meme. Works for me.

[SPOILER ALERT (highlight to read)] And... on my second read-through, I just realized what the "mutant apes" in the Science Fair event probably were. At first I thought it was a Planet of the Apes reference, but now I think he just saved Ponyville from humans. :twilightoops: (of course, it was also a Chrono Trigger reference, which BUCK YEAH).

I also caught the background reference to Arrested Development, of course a background Doctor Whooves gag (the fob watch, no less), and even a continuity nod to the hippies from the Rarity Micro Series comic. And his reaction to the kissing booth was, of course, classic.

And the return of carnival-barker Spike, too...

“Blame My Sister.”

:rainbowlaugh:

you and your wired trixie image changes.....

That was interesting...

Funny. They could of made a full on story based on each of those run ins. Instead it felt like they did that just to get back to the Mane 6 quicker. I was hoping he was going to be a Micro issue. Or that this main issue would lead to something. Slightly disappointed, and I see Pierce is still trying oh so sincere of giving that recolor Twilight some worth. Though with all those bits I'm pretty sure she's kissed almost every colt to mare by now. DANGER INDEED lol *HERPES ALERT*

Fun bits here and there and the, while a bit out there like the pocket watch from Blood Family episode with the 10th Doctor, it was a decent issue. But far from what I'd had hoped it to be.

The Sunset Shimmers part though... timeline it can make sense. Lauren did say ponies in Equestria were essentially the same as ponies on earth. So, seeing how much taller and older she is, comparing the age of a pony to human comparison, I'd wager Sunset Shimmer is something close to 14-15 pony years of age. Roughly, but not quite, 3 human years old. If they used this reasoning for the comics than Twilight is still under 2 human years old which is about 6-7 pony years.

The issue with timelines is they still wanted to make the mirror time skip when she went through it, it seems. Why do I say that? Because they are using Lyra, Moon Dancer and Colgate who know Twilight as a friend and presumably Spike and her knew them, even if Twilight isn't one for social gathers, Spike is at least. Had they used any other ponies to talk to Shimmers they could of had a very convincing backstory for Shimmer.

We can assume then that time, based on the Movie, Equestria and Earth are running parallel to each other. So, Sunset Shimmer lived her 30 moons (and some months) on Earth. Three years that for Twilight and the ponies in Equestria, just felt like forever. Twilight possibly a year or a half year later gets enrolled into Celestia's School. From there it's pretty much history up till the Movie.

I'm VERY curious to see how she pulled that one off, where she lives, who adopted her, and why she seemed so surprised happy and shocked that she became a prom queen for the first time ever. She likely never expected to be that accepted by humans. Maybe her smarts and wit impressed everyone to vote her the prom queen legitly and to her surprise that time. With each other time growing more power hungry and desperate to retain the admiration she had garnered somehow the first time.


I don't like the rushed flat reasoning for the mirror's placement and Celestia's line in that one panel. Just doesn't feel like. And the fact she's a Lightning Dust in Unicorn form with a complete lack of empathy right off the bat? No. Doesn't make sense. Not if you gauge the transition they tried to give us in that minor and all too quick exposition of her life in the School the past 3 years before Twilight showed up.

I believe she was a wonderful student who slowly began to obsess over her mentor and just really wanted to be a princess like Celestia. While this could of been the eventual fall from Celestia's favor, I don't see Shimmers entering the human world being THAT cocky and THAT sinister looking. She'd a planned something out to take revenge on Celestia before returning. They still didn't explain how she learned of the Elements or how she would use them to rule Equestria.

They did a fair job trying to clean up that movie to make it somewhat plausible in the ponyverse canon, sadly, it looks like we'll have to wait for issue 10 to see if they expand on it further.

(Unfortunately, it also seems that her “Great and Apologetic” phase didn't hold up.)

I thought the comics take place before season three. Has Twilight been seen with wings in any IDW materials?

1241493

That's what we were told. And then Issue #8 had Trixie acknowledging how everypony deserves forgiveness, implying that "Magic Duel" has already happened, which would place this...somewhere inside Season 3. And I doubt Trixie would willingly go back to the village where her career was destroyed prior to "Magic Duel," considering how the Ursa Minor incident made her a laughingstock.

It's just complicated.

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