toonlegion's My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic #1 - The Return of Queen Chrysalis review

Taking the ponies out of the stables and into free range!

Well can't say I didn't see this coming. When a property as famous the surprise hit, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, comes along naturally you're gonna get comic adaptations. Just surprised it took two years to make it happen but here we are. If your not much of cartoon watcher, the TV series is a revival of the toyline, "My Little Pony" which of course caters more towards girls. This iteration, headlined by the very creative Lauren Faust (whose credits include writing for and producing Powerpuff Girls and Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends. As well as the DC Nation shorts Super Best Friends Forever), is the fourth re-imagining of the franchise. So why has this one gotten more notice then the others?

Well the writing pretty good for one, the series is a lot more character driven and reaches out to all audiences rather then just the girls.A very rare thing for a kiddie cartoon. Seriously there one character you'll form an attachment too. It also helps there's more of a sense of danger and adventure, granted the original had some of this too but this one takes it a bit further as we learn much about the world of Equestria and it other non-pony inhabitants. Ranging from fantasy to modern day and doing quite a good job of blending them all together to create a fascinating setting. Also helps that the character designs make it easier to tell which pony from which and allow for smoother expressions and movement. Did I mention this was done with Adobe Flash too?

Needless to say fans have eaten it up like one of Pinkie Pies cakes and have followed along faithfully through the seasons. It helps that the writers and producers have picked up on this too, helping to keep a good vibe between the creators and viewers. So where does the comic book come in? Well no offense to the TV series, I love it like any other fan. But I can't help but feel the writers have to hold back a bit due to Hasbro still wanting to keep that kiddy image of the series. Hence all the songs and Aesops which most episodes have to spell out for us.The comic on the other hand, feels like it was made by fans for the fans. It still retains the charm of the TV series but goes a lot more full throttle with the characters and storyline.

In this case, the first story arc deals with the return of Queen Chrysalis (a villain at the end of season 2 who can shapeshift). Right off the bat it goes for a "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" parody with many a pop culture shout out to various movies, books and cartoons (including fellow Hasbro series) while at the same time dropping refs from the show. It certainly has more of a intense feeling to it. The ponies actually fight a bit more and argue with one another. I was even wondering if I was reading the same series. But it never gets to a point the comic feels too alien from the show. It still quite quirky, everybody (or pony =P) is still in character and the adventure is very befitting of the main series (every season starts with the Mane 6 facing some world-threatening force). If there are any complaints, the story does move fast and the action scenes can be a bit chaotic to read (which is really saying something). It also may confuse people who aren't familiar with the show as well since it doesn't really ease new people into the setting. The book assumes you already know these characters and doesn't waste anytime from there..

The artwork is very good, it doesn't adapt the vector look of the show but replicates it in a truly comic book style with shadows and a great mixture of colors. This gives way to a lot of flexible expressions on the characters you wouldn't really see on the show. Which also might be a bit off putting to fans for the same reason. Characters frown and grimace with so much intensity, and the detailed close ups, Just, yeesh But hey it's a comic and does add to the fun of it. If you can deal and don't mind, you're golden.

It's not perfect and very fan-only heavy, some of whom may not agree with the artwork. However the story feels much less restrained from your standard TV show episode, while at the same time keeping the charm of series intact. Certainly worth a buy if you a fan of the show, new readers might get lost in the hustle or get the wrong idea that the show is this action heavy (it's not) but not to say it won't peak some curiosity. Overall it a grand start of the comic book version of the show and I. for one, look forward to the following issues!

P.S: Seriously guys, 19 covers for the first issue?! I love the series too but ya need that many?

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