In certain circles, My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #1 is one of the most anticipated comics of the year. Springing from the animated series that has gathered legions of fans, this is a comic that IDW clearly plans on selling in droves; the number of alternate covers – some of which are quite amusing – are testament to that.
For that audience arriving from the TV show, this first issue, for the most part, will not leave them disappointed; writer Katie Cook manages to very nearly capture the tone of the show and its characters, in situations both dangerous and humorous. Rainbow Dash feels a little too self-absorbed, and occasionally Applejack says something that I couldn’t quite imagine in her characteristic twang, but these are minor quibbles at best, and ones that only the most puritanical bronies will really care about. The ponies’ wit is still sharp, and the story moves along quickly, with plenty happening by the last page. This issue is only the first part of a story about the return of one of the show’s antagonists, Queen Chrysalis, a changeling who specializes in Invasion of the Body Snatchers-type villainy. (This is hardly a spoiler; the first page proclaims that the name of the story is “The Return of Queen Chrysalis.”) After reading a bunch of other current comic titles, I found the amount of story here a little surprising and refreshing.
While it looks like the comic series may focus more on the adventure aspects of the show, the slice-of-life humor is not absent; if anything, the humor is one place where the book falters a little. Plenty of it is plenty funny, but some scenes – especially those that clearly are meant for comic relief – feel like they have an everything-and-the-kitchen-sink approach, with maybe one too many jokes on a page or some non sequitir that just doesn’t quite land. But, overall, the jokes maintain the flavor of the show, coupled with the occasional sight gag or pony cameo – and a few jokes especially for comics readers – and I can only imagine that they’ll come off even better read aloud (as I suspect more than a few copies of this issue will be).
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic #1 is a cute, highly entertaining adventure for any’pony’ who enjoys the TV show. Like many of IDW’s licensed properties, this has the flavor of a series made by fans for fans, but also by people who clearly know how to do comics, ponies or no. Though it’s good for the same broad audience as the show, the Body Snatchers plot might prove a little bit scary for younger readers. This is a comic that meets expectations and delivers on what readers will want and expect. Sometimes, what more can you ask for?