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More Blog Posts689

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

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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 · 350 views
Sep
11th
2013

Comic Review: Micro-Series #8 (Princess Celestia) · 3:20pm Sep 11th, 2013

It's here. It's finally here. At long last, it has graced my Comixology “My Comics” page.

Princess Celestia finally has her own comic. But will it be any good? Will it give Best Princess her due? Let's find out.


Our story begins with the Canterlot Royal High Tea, an event where the students of Princess Celestia's School for Gifted Unicorns – and their parents – get to meet and chat with the teachers and Celestia herself. This year, however, there is a small wrinkle in the form of Inkwell, a very old teacher who's mocked for her paranoia and ridiculous stories by foals and faculty alike. And when her solution to a runaway spell is a quick but destructive one, the parents demand that she be forced to retire. Can Celestia find a way to solve this crisis?

When the previews came out, there was a lot of negativity over what seemed to be a huge cast of characters in a comic that's supposed to be giving Celestia her due. In the first six pages, we're introduced to three teachers (including Inkwell), the head of the PTC, her daughter (a Honey-Boo-Boo reference...WHY?!), and several other incidental ponies. Each of them had enough of an introduction that, without the entire comic to provide context, it would seem that the story was more about them, with Celestia just fluttering around in the background – sort of like “The Last Roundup” if AJ was overshadowed by Generic Pony #459. After reading the entire issue, however, it's clear that this is not the case. The teachers and parents have enough character to make them more than cardboard cut-outs, and their personalities bounce off each other very well, but they're still supplementary characters and nothing more. Their importance is in setting up the plot, and then being around for the conclusion.

As for Celestia herself, the rendition here is one of the absolute best any show-related material has given. When we first see her, she's obviously frustrated with the snobby head of the PTC, and gets visibly (but silently) angry when she sees and hears ponies mocking Inkwell. When the food at the students' tables comes to life, she takes a measured response that takes the vile juice boxes and cakes down in a clean manner, and is a bit shocked at Inkwell's messy response. And her ultimate solution is very much in line with how she approaches problems on the show: she sets up a situation and nudges the ponies involved into finding the answer themselves. There's no trolling or maliciousness in her actions, just caring and a love for her good friend and all the ponies she's helped through the years.

The middle of the comic is devoted to a flashback about Canterlot being besieged by shadowy creatures. It's a very dark scene in what is otherwise a lighthearted and fun story, but what makes it work is the way it builds Inkwell's character and why Celestia is especially concerned for her well-being. Seriously, it's just a fantastic sequence.

Amy Mebberson returns to do the art, and she's improved greatly since the Nightmare Rarity arc. There are still a few hiccups, especially in the faces, but for the most part everyone looks good and their faces aren't squashed flat. The coloring also does a great job, especially when it has to contrast between the bright and cheery present and the violent events of the flashback. There are also a lot of background jokes and references, including Gordon Ramsy as the chef at the Royal High Tea (complete with censored swears) and pony versions of Huey, Dewey and Louie. And since this involves a magical school, there's a lot of Harry Potter ponies shoved into the background. None of them get in the way (except the Honey-Boo-Boo one...seriously, WHY?!), but instead just make things a bit funnier.

And speaking of art, I love how there's sections where the drawing just speaks for itself, with or without narration. One of my favorite panels is on the very first page, where the new teacher (Giddilee) is overflowing with excitement over the Tea, but the more experienced one (Gingersnap) is obviously just going through the motions. And beyond that, we have Inkwell's eye, which is always at least half-closed. This could have just been a generic joke about old folks (see Granny Smith), but instead we're given an actual reason for why it's like that...and it's never pointed out in the narration.

In the end, Celestia gets a comic her fans can be proud of. We see her as a fighter and leader, but also as a caring teacher and loving ruler. She doesn't troll for malicious reasons; she just sets up the scenario and pushes the ponies along until they become better as a result. For all her frustrations with the snobbish elite, she loves all her subjects. This is really who Celestia should be in the canon, not just in a single comic.

And even if you aren't a Celestia fan, this comic is worth picking up. It really captures the essence of what FiM really is.

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Comments ( 21 )

And nothing negative about it? Damn it must be good then. I'll be picking it up tonight when I get home from school so I can judge it for myself, but I do trust your opinion... well most of the time... so I look forward to reading it myself.

Well if they did Celestia, one of the most disliked characters, so well wonder how they will do the series butt-monkey, Spike next month.

Can't wait to see this! :twilightsmile:

Another cameo I loved was the Hoatru and Saturn cameos in the background. Ohhh, I can't wait

(except the Honey-Boo-Boo one...seriously, WHY?!)

I seriously have no clue what this is a reference to or why it's such a big deal, but from the implications, I'm probably happier in my ignorance.

Anyway, the comic sounds great, and I'm glad it lived up to your expectations. :pinkiehappy:

So many references! I enjoyed this one, and thought they handled Celestia fairly well.

It also gave a huge amount of interesting world building to work off of:

* Random attack on Canterlot inside the last 50-100 years (or however long enough for Inkwell to go from middle-aged to old) by random shadowy creatures.
* Similar date for either the establishment or the expansion of Celestia's school.
* Attack/shield spells being used by the guard and several civilians.
* Celestia using Philomena as a sounding board for making a decision.
* A named royal assistant: Raven.
* A humorously named Ethereal Haircare book.

And that's just the middle of the comic, there's plenty more that could be pulled out from the school scenes.

Sounds good. I'll have to pick it up when I get some money.

So far, my favorite comics have been the Rarity Micro Series, Main Issues #9 and #10, and now this.

Speaking frankly, it was dull. The story relied on jumping to flashbacks rather than introduce them organically to explain things, generally a sign that production lacked the budget or time to properly give them its due.

Of course, one can't expect a ton of exposition when it comes to a children's comic, and a single-issue one at that, but that only raises the question as to why they would choose this idea in the first place. Considering the setting, it would have been far better used as a way to show Twilight and Celestia's relationship while Twilight was studying magic at the school as a filly; you get da'ww, comedic magical hijinks, character development galore and the chance to establish all sorts of canon for magic.

Instead, we were treated to a large cast of characters that were given half-hearted backstory and felt inconsequential, middling art and a blah plot. After the excellent Big Mac arc, which was like bottling an episode in paperback, this was a ho-hum spread of twenty-six pages that left me feeling just as hungry coming out as I did going in.

oh I am so glad to hear it's good.


....damit, I can't pick it up till tonight.

Any idea when the Trade Paperbacks will be out?

Just read it.


...ok, that eye thing is pretty hardcore. Props to everyone involved in that decision.

And just like that, all is right in the world.

I enjoyed this one thoroughly! I loved the teachers we were introduced, Inkwell was pretty cool and all the background references were funny. Not only were there Harry Potter references but also Sailor Moon ones :p

Comixology

Saw this on the first line. Dropped everything and picked up my phone, opened up Comixology app. :raritystarry:

I WANNA READ... IT SOUNDS SO GOOD!!!!

Heh, I just read it, then read this review, and damn it, I didn't spot any of the Harry potter characters and now I'm having to go through it again.

Edit: with SPOILERS if you're looking for the characters too.

Panel 1 of page 5 appears to have the Malfoys, Panel 1 of page 6 seems to have Ron and his mum, Panel 1 of page 9 has Snape (Looking grumpy as ever I might add :rainbowkiss:), Panel 4 of the same page has him being talked at by Professor Trelawney :rainbowlaugh:), Panel 3 of page 10 seems to have McGonagle to the far right, Panel 4 of page 11 has theeerrreee we gooo, it's Hermione, Ron and Harry acting very similar to how they acted in the first two books. Think that's it, so;
END SPOILERS.
Not sure if I missed any, so say if you find any others :D

Also Panel 6 of Page 10 has a animesque OhGod/Depression Veil. Not related to Harry Potter at all, just hilarious. Although the kettle with the Radiation symbol on it is worrying. As is the fact that Ramsey even swears when mourning a dead piece of food. As is the fact that he mourns dead pieces of food.

A surprise Surprise and Firefly was cool (why she was enamoured with a hat rack is beyond my ken), and going in the other direction, I had no idea that Napoleon Dynamite had a presence in Equestria in the past 50-100 years for ponies to imitate.
.
Finally, I have no idea who this is, (the dude with the Afro, not the toad,) but I feel like I'm missing something.
img703.imageshack.us/img703/3851/82r3.jpg

Double-finally, this is the most adorable thing I've ever seen. Like, ever.
img690.imageshack.us/img690/4321/0pjf.jpg

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I think the guy with the afro is supposed to be Mr. Kotter from Welcome Back, Kotter. He certainly looks the part.

If you look closely at the evacuation, you can see a pony that looks suspiciously like the First Doctor.

Read this the other day. Did you notice the three colts that looked like pony versions of Huey, Dewey, and Louie?:pinkiesmile:

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Yes, I did. And it was funny.

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