It’s been so long since we had a four-parter to these comics. There may be a stigma lingering from Reflections but I’m eager to see how the staff will tackle this story.
Starting with the League of Not-Quite-Evil-But-Not-Very-Nice-Either!
Many a fan has cried fowl that Iron Will is recruited by a mysterious–sorry–blatantly obvious figure to take part in a scheme. Yet I think even the Flim Flam Brothers are misrepresented here. Though they lack a certain moral fiber they’ve always shielded themselves with the excuse that this is just business. They’ve never tried to eliminate someone, as they mention with Applejack.
It’s a shame Lightning Dust makes her debut in such a sorry state. A lot of fans had sympathy for the character but this story makes her far less endearing. All these characters, recruited by a Radiant Hope who doesn’t look like a 1,000 year old pony, converge on the Crystal Fair.
And have allied with Changelings. Yeah… that happens.
I know these individuals have beefs with the Mane Six but this seems like a big step to assist an invasion just to gain street cred or settle a grudge. I’d like to think they weren’t aware of the full plan but Flim and Flam would have to know what they were transporting. They look so happy when the Changelings burst forth. And Iron Will steals a national treasure? That's not going to fill his seminars unless he plans a presentation for his fellow inmates!
The ponies handle things with mixed effectiveness. Why Cadance stays behind to erect a forcefield when that’s Shining Armor’s specialty I don’t understand. And could we have one crisis where Shining doesn’t say, “No!” Stop going all Shia LaBeouff on us, dude!
After her engineered escape, Chrysalis’ return and recapture along with the other conspirators feels like a small letdown. But the plan comes together as Cadance is isolated within the Crystal Castle and Radiant Hope has found Sombra’s secret room.
The scene where they reunite is wonderful. Sombra’s form is dark and frightful and reflects the anger he expresses. I was surprised that Hope was so apologetic when Sombra hurt her just as deeply. The most intriguing aspect to her is what this means moving forward. Is this her attempt at redeeming him, eliminating the Umbrum threat once and for all, or something else?
Despite some questionable characterization with returning antagonists, this is an exciting start to the story with a lot of mystery behind it. I’m eager to know how Hope is still alive, youthful, and her intentions. The Mane Six, Cadance, and Shining Armor are in action mode more than anything. I’m not expecting a lot of characterization in this arc as the real stars are Hope and Sombra. We’ll see how this goes…