Hello & welcome back to our Nightmare Night celebration here. Let’s return to a simpler time of 2012. Season 3 had just aired and at this time, the grabber of all media licenses picked up the license to print Pony comics and as of now, they are up to 59 comics in the main line. And they have gone through three spinoff titles, the Mirco-Series, Friends Forever, and the current Legends of Magic and one miniseries that I do wish had become an actual spin off series, Fiendship is Magic. Now, these first 4 issues hold a special place in my heart as before 2012, I had read a comic here & there but it was thanks to ponies that I became a comic reader, well okay, an IDW reader. IDW through these comics became my favorite comics publisher as they made it so easy for someone like me to dive into comics as they had licenses to so many characters that I already knew from things that I had loved before. Whether be it, Ponies, Ghostbusters, or it came after I became an IDW fans, Back to The Future.
So, in many ways, these characters that I loved from things that I was already a fan of felt like a safety net to enter uncharted territory for me as someone at that time wasn’t familiar with comics. And while, I have read a Flash comic here or there, I often find myself going back to IDW and their licensed comics. Is it because I know these characters? Yes, of course but also because the writers at IDW have told great stories with these characters. (Still hoping for a Ghostbusters/Back to The Future crossover though. C’mon, they’ve teamed up with the Turtles, The Real Ghostbusters and the 2016 team). So, in many regards, The Return of Queen Chrysalis opened the door for me to comics. Linkara is fond of saying that every comic is someone’s first and that was the case here for me.
Having said that, I will not look past the flaws of this arc as you can tell from the issues that there are some things that writer, Katie Cook, and artist, Andy Price needed to work out. So many people love them as the dream team for the MLP comics and it’s not hard to see why but going back to the beginning, there are some things that were going to be ironed out. And also, I will not be looking at the covers for these issues as there were 6 individual covers for each member of the Mane 6 for Issue # 1. We’d be here all day, if I looked at the covers and this introduction has already gone long enough. With that outta the way, let’s begin.
We open on the CMC in Fluttershy’s backyard as they attempt to get their cutie marks in zoology. And then we get this funny moment, where Sweetie Belle reading a dictionary and points out that the studying of ponies is called Hippology and Scoots says that they don’t look like ponies. Then they meet this fine young lady.
The opening panels aren’t bad but one problem I noticed throughout this first issue is that there were almost too many panels on one page. I don’t know if it was because I was reading this on my IPad but it seemed crunched together. Almost, like the pages were trying to squeeze too much action onto the pages. This is when we get the reveal of the title for our first arc. We then see the girls hanging out with more animals in Fluttershy’s backyard including a dancing grizzly bear on roller skates. And they are then attacked as something has happened to the animals and it’s actually pretty creepy spread.
And that brings us to something else about this arc, that you might notice. It’s very similar to last year’s season finale, To Where and Back Again. I bring this up because all 3 of the CMC’s sisters noticed them acting crazy, much in the same way that Starlight picked up on Twi’s friends acting weird.
The sisters meet up with Twi and Twilight points out that everypony has been acting rather strange after walking past a zoned-out looking Lyra. That’s when the girls are almost attacked by more zoned out looking ponies and Twilight decides to head to the library. (Pour one out) Back at Golden Oaks, Twily pieces together that everypony has been replaced by Changelings.
Twily has Spike take a letter but it doesn’t seem to be of much help as they get an automatic return message that Princess Celestia cannot be reached at this time. They realize that they need an idea and this is when Pinkie gives them the idea to act like the others and we get a lesson in how to act like zombies Changelings. And it is easily, a highlight of the first issue.
Our girls head out on their adventure and see Derpy almost caught by a Changeling. Strike that, she is and the girls face off against a Derpy Changeling. And we get a cool fight as we see that the ponies are being kept in cocoons and about to have a big Changeling fight.
The fight lasts a good while until all of the ponies are freed and the girls get a message from The Changeling Queen as she has taken the CMC and they are starting to drive her crazy. And the girls head off to save their sisters.
And that leads us to the second issue. We open the second issue on Twi pointing out how to get to The Changeling Kingdom.
The girls are nervous and Dash being impulsive wants to fly over the mountain but AJ points that not all of them can fly. So, the best way to find the CMC is go through the mountain. They soon come through a mine, that is the first part of their journey and there, they come across a cave troll that wants to add a ponay to his collection. He decides to stick Dashie to his collection but Rares saves by giving the cave troll, some pony dolls made out of items that she found in the cave.
The cave troll has a good time with new dolls and looks like he has something else to play with besides his Optimus Prime. (Yep, he has an Optimus Prime. Kinda weird) The girls get out of there but we see that Chrysalis has been watching the girls and that’s when she gets the idea to have some fun with Twilight and her friends.
The girls end up going through a creepy cave but there Changelings there ready to pounce and pounce, they do. As they separate the girls from each other. As the Changelings have replaced their friends and disguised them as the Mane Six and try to break one another.
And we get quite a bit of a montage of this going for quite some time. But all of this comes to a head, when they comes across a giant spider. Fluttershy tries to reason with it but it is to no avail.
Using a lot of her magic, Twilight is able to fight off the spider but it isn’t until the cave troll shows up and saves his ponay friends as he takes the spider home to add to his collection. Oh, and we find out from Pinkie that the troll’s name is Jim. Even though, the girls are now freed, the girls are angry at the things that the Changelings said while pretending to be them and decide to to disband and go to The Changeling Kingdom their own way. And this brings us to the end of the second issue.
Now, there isn’t a whole lot to say about the characters in these first two issues. If you know the show, you’ll pick up on whether or not the characters are true to that of those in the show. This is something that I also observed in my review of Manehattan Mysteries as like that arc, it’s more about the story than the characters and that is the case here as these first two issues are more invested in the journey of getting the Mane Six to The Changeling Kingdom.
My Thoughts On These Issues
These first two issues did a decent job of setting up the journey and let the readers know what to expect. Join me next time as we look at Issues 3 & 4 in this arc.