I find her fascinating. Hope is an example of the unexpected reaction to tragedy. I’ve grown weary of the brooding loner who is afraid to let anyone close, but how many times have we seen a character desperate to find something right in the world? Hope’s convinced herself that if the Umbrum are freed all will be made right. Even Chrysalis’ testimony to the Umbrum’s menace can’t shake this delusion.
Meanwhile the League-of-Not-Quite-Evil-But-Not-Very-Nice-Either have had a few seconds to think and realize that helping overthrow an empire and petrify two princesses might not be the best move. So they ask for guidance from a Changeling Queen who’s tried to overthrow Equestria.
They are… not smart.
Chrysalis at least has a good plan. Set both sides against one another and book it. Winner eliminates a rival and she and the Changelings risk nothing.
Cadance is risking more by confronting Hope. And I like that Cadance’s insistence doesn’t automatically win Hope over. It takes some back and forth with conflicting ideas until they make a deal: walk to the lion’s den and hope you don’t get eaten. Winner gets gloating privileges.
The art for the Umbrum is wonderful and terrifying. Andy Price knows how to deliver chilling images.
Hope’s finally with the program. And I don’t doubt that folks are smacking their heads and going “doy!” But again I stress that Hope’s the result of trauma. Lost her friend, her princess, her home, and her sense of the future. If anything I see her as the negative result of pony culture: too much reliance on destiny.
One BAMF! later she’s trying to convince Sombra that he’s not the monster everyone thinks. So what an inconvenient time for Twilight to come in and take a shot. Guess how well that turns out?
There’s a lot more character progression in this issue than the last. Hope is given another harsh slap from reality but rather than collapse she tries to make things right. And through it all her belief in Sombra never wavers even when he doubts himself. Cadance may be seeing Sombra as more than the fiend she originally dismissed in Fiendship is Magic #1.
So what a shame that Twilight is so enraged by what’s happened that any empathy she felt has disappeared. This is a big theme in the comic: acting on anger causes further anger.
That’s not to say it’s flawless. Cadance got the time to shine that I’d hoped for but the story presents her a pony who has never had to contend with anger. Completely devoid of rage because she’s the Princess of Love. I don’t enjoy characters that are missing emotions. They feel incomplete. I can’t admire them for rising above something they’ve never experienced.
And there are so many characters in play now. I don’t know how the comic can resolve all these threads with one more issue. We may get a hasty resolution or open the door for future stories. We’ll know in a month.