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    Season Eight Episode Reviews: Horse Play

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Apr
22nd
2015

Comic Review: Fiendship is Magic #4 (Nightmare Moon) · 11:29am Apr 22nd, 2015

It's week four of Fiendship is Magic, and we're returning to where it all began. Today we look at the show's first baddie, Nightmare Moon, and what she did when she was banished to the moon. Sadly, a mechanical dolphin was not involved.


The issue opens with...Nightmare Moon plopping onto the moon. She doesn't seem angry or nonplussed about being banished, either; she just decides to start looking for something to rule. And sure enough, the moon is already inhabited by the Nyx (no, not that one), fuzzy creatures that are responsible for managing the dreams of everypony in Equestria. This peaks the interest of somepony named Nightmare Moon, who convinces one of the Nyx, Doran, to teach her how to influence pony dreams...and Celestia's.

The issue is tied heavily into the Nightmare Rarity arc from Issues #5-8. The Nyx are eventually transformed into the nightmare creatures, Nightmare Moon is far more at home in her lunar prison, and it is implied that the Mare in the Moon is a separate being from Luna. If you haven't read that arc, then at least some of this might fly past you. And if you have read that arc, you may still have the same problem because the issue is very rushed. The nightmare creature conversion occurs off-screen and isn't even alluded to until the reveal. Doran is implied to be helping keep Nightmare Moon out of Celestia's mind, but it never says or shows how. The ending is basically just, “Well, that happened. Now to go plot my next evil scheme.” There are some good ideas in this issue, but the pace never allows them to develop.

Nightmare Moon not knowing how to enter pony's dreams is both odd and interesting. On the one hand, we see that she is very good at it by the Nightmare Rarity arc, nearly breaking most of the Mane 6 and succeeding when it comes to Rarity, so having her unable to do so when merged with Luna doesn't sit quite right. On the other hand, Luna's ability to enter dreams came out of nowhere in Season Three, so perhaps this could serve as an explanation for how she learned to do so, and for why she's so insistent on making sure everypony gets a good night's rest.

As for her scheme this issue, it's something that definitely fits the nightmare motif. When initial attempts to infiltrate Celestia's noggin (and, I dunno, make her dream of a world where cake was never invented) fail, Nightmare Moon has Doran help her go into other ponies' minds and terrorize them with visions of a monstrous and tyrannical Celestia, driving them to support Nightmare Moon and wish for her return. In other words, Nightmare Moon is responsible for such things as the New Luna Republic and Tyrantlestia. (But not Xenolestia; that stuff's too evil even for her.) Unfortunately, this is wrapped up far too quickly, with Celestia basically waving her horn and magically making everything better.

The highlight of the issue is when Nightmare Moon, with the combined power of all of the nighmare creatures, manages to finally get into Celestia's mind...literally. (At the very least, this wasn't part of the original plan.) Her initial attempts to create nightmares fail because Celestia catches on to her presence immediately, and even after discovering her deepest fear (the whole “banished sister” deal), Celestia still defeats her with the power of love. Unfortunately, this part is let down again by the fast pacing and, to be frank, sophomoric writing. The issue in general feels like it was juggling between aiming strictly at a younger audience and trying to reach anyone, and never manages to settle on any particular target.

There are some amusing bits, such as Doran braiding Nightmare Moon's tail, the moon tyrant using the Royal Canterlot Voice (and then apologizing when she realizes doing so kind of makes her plans more difficult), and one of the possible Celestia nightmares being her going bald. The art is okay, although not spectacular, and there are some really good ideas in this issue. Unfortunately, the fast pacing undermines the story and makes things feel incomplete, and tying the villain origin so tightly into another of the comic's arcs (even one that was generally good) doesn't feel quite right. This is by no means a bad issue (and certainly isn't anywhere near as terrible as the Sirens issue), but it's definitely flawed and a bit of a letdown.


Next time, we close out Fiendship is Magic with Chrysalis.

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Comments ( 8 )

I so wish that they had even something like five more pages to work with. Fitting a thousand years on the moon in such a tiny medium must be really challenging for them.

Do you think there would have been enough material for a two-parter? Or would that have led to the other end of the pacing spectrum, as in, boring.

So, wait, then, I thought that the Nightmare came from the moon to begin with. Where is the Nightmare from?

C'mon Chryssi!
These comics have been sounding very hit and miss, but generally interesting if nothing else.

3006298
Ex-Death.

Man, I never was a fan of the ideas behind Nightmare Rarity in the comics. Makes me kinda glad that unless otherwise stated they're not canon to the show (...right? :applecry:)

So I guess I don't have much to say on this one. It just doesn't appeal to me. Next week we get Chrysalis 2: Electric Boogaloo.

*reads* It seems to me that the writers for both halves of the series pay a lot more attention to the fandom, thus know what to poke fun at, than we thought. This is certainly one that I think will fit nicely with my headcanon

3006298 If what I read is to be believed as I would have to read the Nightmare Rarity arc again, the Nightmare came from Luna herself and I guess gained sentience or something.

Man I can't wait for the chrysalis one. The preview sets it up to be a pretty dark atmosphere.

I really liked the issue. I kind of liked how it tied up with the Nightmare rarity arc. It actually makes Luna's journey and redemption even more meaningful and beautiful. Also in a way it explains why Luna was very much remorseful in that arc. She blames herself for not only corrupting the Lunar citizens but for abandoning them in their time of need. And in the end she decided to take responsibility for her actions. It's pretty powerful when you think about it.

I'm kind of happy how they handled the Nightmare persona of Luna. Bratty, selfish, immature, manipulative and cruel. They did it justice.

My only problems were a couple of small continuity hiccups like the whole thing of the Wonderbolts already being established when in the show it stated that the Wonderbolts were not a thing until AFTER Luna's banishment. Did Celestia formed them almost immediately or something? I'm kind of sad that they didn't made any kind of reference to the Reflections arc. In this issue Celestia seems ok despite being forced to dispel Nightmare Moon's nightmare hold on the citizens despite the fact that according to the Reflections arc Celestia became a bit of a maniac depressive and traveled to the Mirror universe to ease her emotional and mental pain and vent her frustrations(well that part maybe in my head canon. XD) But I guess these issues tie up to one single flaw that's equally the same as the other flaws following the past 3 FIENDship is Magic issues. It should have been longer.
This honestly would have been better if it was 4 issues or longer.
However I will say that at least it at least can stand on it's own.
Out of the FIENDship is Magic issues in ranking order from best to not best:
1) Nightmare Moon
2) King Sombra
3) Sirens
4) Tirek(mostly because it felt more like a promo for a future story rather than an origin story)

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