Written by Katie Cook
Art by Andy Price
Published by IDW Comics
Katie Cook wraps up one of ‘My Little Pony’s’ few two parters with issue #26. The arc follows the main ponies, led by Applejack, to stop the takeover of Canter Creek by Longhorn, a nefarious conman with a gang of cattle ranchers as back up. This arc is heavily inspired by American Western adventure as it plays on many well established tropes of the genre, has Rarity obsess over cowboy romance fiction, and contains many hilarious shout outs to the like of Clint Eastwood and ‘Blazing Saddles.’ The issue starts out with Longhorn taking over Rancho Bronco, a chili pepper ranch, which effectively promises him ownership of the entire town. From there on, the ponies must find a way to pull the property out from under him. Stuck without magical aid from the authorities, Applejack plays against Longhorn to use legal loopholes to stop his hostile takeover. It’s nice to see Applejack take front stage for this issue as she’s often pushed into the background for more dynamic characters. If there is a flaw in the writing, it’s mostly with Longhorn’s characterization. Last issue, he’s portrayed as a clever schemer just as cunning as the pony gang. For this issue, he’s mostly reduced to a joke villain who spends most of the issue being distracted by Applejack’s ploys. Still, it is fun to see the pony gang fight dirty for once, and they solve the crisis with a sneaky plan that helps to better the entire community.
Andy Price lends his pencils and inks to this story, and he’s never one to come up short handed. He has a talent for extremely expressive faces and body language, one all too rare for most artists in the medium. He makes great use of stylized sound effects, not to mention frame composition in his panels. It all loans itself perfectly to what has been a light hearted and humorous run even if it adds little meaning overall. His backgrounds, particularly interiors sometimes dip into the abstract. This is made all apparent with his consistently detailed figures. However, when he goes all out, he goes all out. He adds a lot of personality to the setting, taking Canter Creek beyond just another stereotypical Dust Bowl town.
In the end, ‘My Little Pony’ #26 is a fun Western adventure, sticking to many beloved clichés while having fun at the same time and well worth reading while on the trail.