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‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic’ #27: tangled but blooming

‘My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic’ #27: tangled but blooming

Cover

My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #27

Written by Katie Cook

Art by Andy Price

Published by IDW

Katie Cook and Andy Price kick off another arc of their excellent My Little Pony series. This time around, the ever mysterious Everfree Forest which borders the main cast’s home of Ponyville is lashing out, overwhelming the town, but this event isn’t just attacking one small village, it’s happening to every place which borders the forest. With time of the essence, the team makes their way towards the heart of the Everfree forest to stop the infestation. What they come to discover is a secretive city of mystical deer-folk who serve as guardians of the forests and are outraged that a group of construction workers are tearing down their home to put up an amusement park.

Plot-wise, this feels like an odd outing for the pony gang. Much of the plot feels similar to 90’s environmental cartoons for both good and ill. The leader of the deer-folk is a majestic steer by the name of King Aspen who should feel like a more powerful ruler akin on the level of Princesses Luna and Celestia. It’s strange that despite the forest being out of balance and lashing out at nearby settlements, it never attacks the construction crew causing the actual damage. At the same time, the deer city of Thicket and its inhabitants draw parallels to the cool nature warriors similar to Princess Mononoke’s. However the story makes no attempt to possibly come down the middle, with the contractors possibly trying to be benevolent or well-intended. They’re portrayed strictly as sleazy corporate-types who have no concern for the damage they’re causing. One’s mileage may vary where that’s concerned. Undoubtedly, these characters wear the same face many real life industrialists wear, but at the same time it’s not giving the audience to decide for themselves and perhaps find a balance.  Also, it’s certainly important for younger readers to be introduced to these types of predicaments. This does rob the scenario of any moral greys and makes the construction crew to be out right villains. While it’s shaping up for a finale next issue, it doesn’t prepare the reader to have much investment.

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Any major short comings are easily made up by Andy Price’s artwork. His facial expressions are always delight, especially when he’s allow to cut loose and really exaggerate them. He also makes use of rich panel work paralleling the entangling vines which leap out of their boxes and begin overgrowing entire pages. The scenes in the Everfree forest are a particular tree. The deer all have excellent designs. The city of Thicket certainly draws parallels to the elven cities of Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings. Price pulls from a number of other sources, including pre-existing inhabitants of the forest from episodes of the show and showing off an owlbear, a particular treat. Hopefully he’ll get to do more with them next issue.

Overall, this issue is a bit of a mixed bag. It leans hard towards the direction of nature over technology, and doesn’t try to go for any kind of ideological grey areas and the villains don’t really stand out to any degree. Price is given some fun designs to work with when he gets the chance but sadly not much to do with him. This series has certainly earned enough clout to recover next issue, but so far this arc feels a bit rushed and doesn’t take full advantage of its setting.

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