With Katie Cook and Andy Price having last month wrapped up their latest arc on My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, the series’ reins are taken up by the creative team of Ted Anderson and Jay Fosgitt. What they have is a fun done-in-one issue that puts a surprising spin on traditional masculine sports and hits the attitude behind the series dead on.
The story has most of the main cast take a backseat to the action as the narrative focuses mostly on Rarity. While at a wresting event, she happens upon, of all ponies, Cheerilee, Ponyville’s resident school teacher. It turns out that one of the most famous wrestlers in all of Equestria, and the star of the show, is none other than her estranged twin sister, Cherry, whom fights under the mantle of the Mystery Mare. Rarity, as expected, tries to get the sisters to reconcile but fails. It’s then that Cherry sprains her hoof and is unable to wrestle in the championship. From there, it’s fairly obvious where this story will go. My Little Pony isn’t necessarily known for its shocking narratives. That being said, it delves into some really fascinating subtext with wrestling and wrestling fandom. The sport itself makes for a strange place to take a story, but in practice Anderson uses this to his advantage. Though portrayed as a violeny and dominantly masculine sport, the story shows how much of the aggression between wrestlers is little more than show, that they all enjoy their sport, and even the greatest rivals are in fact really friends. It also portrays how much a show that is effectively a stage play with people slamming into each other as the narrative can really matter to children and inspire them. This is all mostly subtext and doesn’t make up for some of the lax characterization given to Cheerilee and Cherry but it follows the series’ motto about being who you want to be.
Art wise, this book is another winner. While Jay Fosgitt is not as great a sell as last issue’s Andy Price, he brings a great look to this title. There’s (ironically) much less spectacle this time around as the story barely a scene where ponies are busting out spells. Still there’s a great look to the characters with a somewhat doll aesthetic. Fosgitt manages to sell cartoon styled equines pulling off wrestling moves and other more human body movement with ease. Everyone is expressive, even in the background and fitting to form, this issue has great little blink-and-miss-it gags that require second and third readings. Series colorist Heather Breckel is here and as always gives the book a light hearted look.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #29 is another fine installment in the series. It may lack a lot of the humor and energy that comes expected and the story might be a bit too thin and predictable for more adult readers. However it has some excellent messages in its subtext that even the most masculine perceived sports can be enjoyed (both from play and spectating) by the girliest of girls and can even serve to inspire others.