MY LITTLE PONY: LEGENDS OF MAGIC #1
Writer: Jeremy Whitley
Artist: Brenda Hickey
Colorist: Heather Breckel
Publisher: IDW Comics
I’m a new fan of “My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic” as cartoon show, having binged a season or so of it while I was looking for work late last year. I’d heard all the awful stories one hears about “bronies” - AKA grown men who may enjoy the ponies just a bit too much and in ways that were never intended. So, being a grown person myself, I’ve been somewhat loath to be too open about my own interest in the show.
But when I saw that this comic was a thing, my inner pre-teen made a noise that only dogs can hear, and so here we are. And I’m here to tell you that for a number 1 issue of a property that’s been pretty intensely done to death, it’s not half bad. It’s actually pretty good, to be perfectly honest. The art and the story work well together, and if you’ve seen any episodes of the show, the visual aesthetic will be immediately comfortable and familiar.
In fact, I found that I was more interested in Brenda Hickey’s art in this issue than I was in Jeremy Whitley’s story itself. This was mostly because the plot was basically a standard set of tropes familiar to anyone who’s read a Harry Potter book or grown up with a sibling. Princess Celestia is the protagonist we’re first introduced to, so of course it’s her perspective we get through much of this first issue. In fact, the pony she’s with in the first few pages, called Sunburst, seems to exist only to wear a cape and big, round Potter-esque specs and to be the audience for Celestia’s tale.
And that tale itself is a bit hokey and derivative. I suppose I should cut it some slack, though, and treat it as the all-ages, actually-aimed-at-kids narrative that it is. In that sense, it absolutely does work. Even as an adult, knowing what was coming down the pike for the snooty Celestia making fun of her younger sister, I was still eagerly anticipating the resolution of the pickle they found themselves in on the other side of the magical portal. And though I know this probably wasn’t intentional on Whitley’s part, I did find myself humming parts of the “Wicked” soundtrack to myself as I read. After all, Celestia is the bright and popular sister to a dark and mysterious pony who’s been banished to the moon. I’ll be interested to see if the book eventually makes it clear what happens to Celestia and Luna, but that may not be right away. The last page that gives a hint for next month implies pretty strongly that we’ll be getting a wholly different tale. And that’s just fine with me; anthologies are a great way to keep a universe from feeling stale.