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I once said in a video that Applejack would have to leave Ponyville and her friends to ever be a true underdog. Yet there was an avenue I hadn't considered.

In comes Friends Forever number 15 to prove me wrong. Because what's worse for a straight-talking, direct-action pony like Applejack? Government bureaucracy! It ain't about helping the people; it's about making sure the people can't sue you!

To be brief, the first half of this comic didn't wow me. There's some humor in seeing the ineptitude of Ponyville's government, yet the joke can only take so many forms. Applejack's struggle to challenge a citation is more about seeing her sanity slowly degrade with some fun visuals to represent the pitfalls and logical loops of government procedures.

It got strange when Mayor Mare finally made her appearance, and both she and Applejack acted as though they'd never met. At first I wanted to chalk this up to it being the first time they ever interacted, but then came the Princess Twilight statue. Applejack gets to shine by offering practical ideas to the Mayor's strawmare staff. And at this point I started to wonder about the comic's goal. The Mayor didn't seem to struggle with any certain ideas. Applejack was fitting into the role easily enough. The citation would be an easy fix. 

Then everypony starts turning into produce. Yeah... that happened. Even the Mane 6 rely on town hall to save them. Talk about a role reversal!

And then it's fixed. Heck if I know how. Just is.

Only at the end do we get to see the link between these two characters. Applejack loves Ponyville as much as her own family. It makes sense that one day, she might consider running for mayor herself. And Mayor Mare relates an interesting story about her own past and the similarities they share, yet there's one point that trips me up.

Mayor Mare lost her first bid for office because she didn't heed what the town needed, only what she thought it was best for it. Doesn't that sound like a perpetually-stubborn pony we know? Yet Applejack is shown as completely in-tune with the community. She may already be a better mayor than the Mayor. I would have liked for Applejack to make decisions she thought would work, only to see how the varying perspectives conflicted. Then the Mayor could teach her a little something about leadership. 

All in all, this is a middle-of-the-road comic for me. Fun visuals and gags with a little heartstrings tug at the end, yet weighed down by repetitive humor and a sense of misdirection. Then again, this is city hall we're talking about. Misdirection is the name of the game.
Let us pause for just a moment to bask in the fun absurdity of this concept. Twin ponies wrestling. How I have missed this fun kind of silliness. After two arcs that tried to go for major conflict, this is what I needed.

Which is not to say it’s flawless.

The story for FiM 29 is the classic/clichéd tale that accompanies many twin conflicts. The Parent Trap? Anyone?

The Mane 6 are in Manehatten to witness the EWH Championship, and Rarity chances upon Cheerilee. Turns out she is the twin sister of the fan-favorite Mystery Mare. Yet they suffer a strained relationship and Cherry Blossom invited Cheerilee for a reconciliation.  

So why, then, do they start fighting immediately? We never learn what caused this rift other than the fact that Cherry Blossom was energetic and aggressive while Cheerilee was the more timid and quiet type. A nice contrast, yet both characters feel under-developed. This was Cheerilee’s chance to shine. Instead, it can feel like they’re just going through the motions.  

Including Cherry Blossom tripping and injuring herself, thereby forcing Cheerilee into the Mystery Mare’s costume to win the title match against Iron Hock. Cheerilee quickly learns that a lot of the animosity displayed in the ring is just for show. Most of the wrestlers are friendly and respectful.  

Which I enjoy. It would have been so easy to take wrestling super-serious and increase the cheese level. Much like the WWE, pony wrestling seeks to generate the crowd’s excitement. It’s a very honest approach.  

But hang on! If that’s the case, does that also mean that the matches are scripted? Was Cherry Blossom’s shot at the title ever in doubt? Because Cheerilee not only bests Iron Hock (revealed to be Cherry Blossom’s real-life friend), she also wins a tag match in one panel with the help of a certain masked mare.  

Cheerilee and her sister reconcile over the view that, while their lifestyles are different, helping ponies smile is their shared goal. A nice message, though I’m afraid I’m too busy scratching my head over whether or not this match was a set up.  

This is a fun, lighthearted comic with some nice winks to the WWE. Unfortunately, the relationship between the Cherry siblings is based entirely on the fact that they’re twins. There’s very little substance.  

Props to Cheerilee for getting a turn in the spotlight; yet I hope Sombra will enjoy some better characterization next month.  

I blame Well-to-Do.

For everything.

It is amazing how one strawman character can bring down a comic that really enjoyed a good start. Somehow, Well-to-Do became a villain who had neither wit nor guile, and yet our ponies were powerless before him.  

Part Two of the aptly-titled Root of the Problem begins with the ponies trying non-violent protests and boycotts. Which go about as well as one would expect. It reaches the point where King Aspen bids the ponies leave; and to be honest, they should have.

This story would not have changed without them.

Prince Bramble is captured by Well-to-Do and his omnipresent henchpony, Jargon. Before this, I had hoped that Well-to-Do was an example of obliviousness and Jargon was the true villain. Instead, Well-to-Do has no problem holding Bramble hostage and forcing Aspen to sign himself over to humiliation and servitude as the park’s mascot.   

Well-to-Do does this by striding into enemy territory and making these demands in front of the deer, our heroines, and Spike. Even half a moment’s sanity would spell his doom. Yet because the script demands we draw this out, none of the ponies or deer acts.

The true hero in this story is Blackthorne, who not only finds loopholes in the agreement but takes the only course of action available. Something I hoped Twilight would do.

I do want to praise that this comic doesn't go for the "great (white) savior coming to save the natives" trope we've seen in movies like Avatar. Blackthorne is taking care of his own, and doing a fine job in my eyes. Yet for Blackthrone to look good, our heroines played the fools. Wasn't there a balancing point? A support or perspective role that our ponies could properly fill?  

Blackthorne coordinates the ponies to gather the monsters of the Forest for an all-out assault. One could argue that Fluttershy is the most important aspect of this plan, yet Part One established that the deer can likewise communicate with the animals.

So after Well-to-Do makes an absurd speech about how he values money and “progress” over anything, he and his workers are summarily defeated. I will admit, a singe black-filled frame has never been so satisfying. Not because good has triumphed, but because I won’t have to read more about this character. A weight has been lifted.   

And to quote one of the background ponies, “Was that it? Was that the showdown?”

We witnessed several pages to the ponies using ineffective protests, and one page on the actual solution. Yet this does end the crisis. King Aspen restores Ponyville, Celestia and Luna are free to continue to be ineffective, and the different species are friends again. Even the worker minotaurs and ponies seem to be forgiven.

Yet at the end I have to ask, “What did our heroines do?” Much like Over a Barrel, this story seems like it could have unfolded without their involvement. If anything, the ponies wasted time that Aspen and company could have put towards rallying the attack sooner.

Ultimately, this story suffered from Well-to-Do’s lack of charisma. Against the introduction of a new race, Well-to-Do is a pale cutout of a villain that couldn’t draw humor or interest. A one-dimensional demonization of corporate greed whose obliviousness doesn’t come across as charming or even love-to-hate.

It also suffers from a moral absolute. Nature good, corporations bad. The deer were wronged, yet they committed the same wrong in turn and learned nothing. This in a comic that is published by a corporation to sell a product. There's gotta be some irony there.

While I loved the introduction of the deer and the options a new race could present, Well-to-Do and his corporate juggernaut were an unwelcome intrusion. This is now two sets of villains who posed a thread not because of innate quality, but because our heroines stopped thinking. Bring on the wrestling, because I could use some genuine absurdity!  

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I once said in a video that Applejack would have to leave Ponyville and her friends to ever be a true underdog. Yet there was an avenue I hadn't considered.

In comes Friends Forever number 15 to prove me wrong. Because what's worse for a straight-talking, direct-action pony like Applejack? Government bureaucracy! It ain't about helping the people; it's about making sure the people can't sue you!

To be brief, the first half of this comic didn't wow me. There's some humor in seeing the ineptitude of Ponyville's government, yet the joke can only take so many forms. Applejack's struggle to challenge a citation is more about seeing her sanity slowly degrade with some fun visuals to represent the pitfalls and logical loops of government procedures.

It got strange when Mayor Mare finally made her appearance, and both she and Applejack acted as though they'd never met. At first I wanted to chalk this up to it being the first time they ever interacted, but then came the Princess Twilight statue. Applejack gets to shine by offering practical ideas to the Mayor's strawmare staff. And at this point I started to wonder about the comic's goal. The Mayor didn't seem to struggle with any certain ideas. Applejack was fitting into the role easily enough. The citation would be an easy fix. 

Then everypony starts turning into produce. Yeah... that happened. Even the Mane 6 rely on town hall to save them. Talk about a role reversal!

And then it's fixed. Heck if I know how. Just is.

Only at the end do we get to see the link between these two characters. Applejack loves Ponyville as much as her own family. It makes sense that one day, she might consider running for mayor herself. And Mayor Mare relates an interesting story about her own past and the similarities they share, yet there's one point that trips me up.

Mayor Mare lost her first bid for office because she didn't heed what the town needed, only what she thought it was best for it. Doesn't that sound like a perpetually-stubborn pony we know? Yet Applejack is shown as completely in-tune with the community. She may already be a better mayor than the Mayor. I would have liked for Applejack to make decisions she thought would work, only to see how the varying perspectives conflicted. Then the Mayor could teach her a little something about leadership. 

All in all, this is a middle-of-the-road comic for me. Fun visuals and gags with a little heartstrings tug at the end, yet weighed down by repetitive humor and a sense of misdirection. Then again, this is city hall we're talking about. Misdirection is the name of the game.

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MLP-Silver-Quill

Artist | Hobbyist | Digital Art
United States
I became a My Little Pony fan in the latter part of 2011, well into the show's second season. As a latecomer, I'm in a strange situation. The online community is pretty unknown to me, and none of my local friends are fans.

I admire the creativity surrounding MLP, in both the show itself and the creativity of its fans. I created this account to focus my own expressions. Keep checking back and I hope everyone enjoys my drawings!
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:iconthen1k0l4z:
TheN1K0L4Z Featured By Owner 2 hours ago  Hobbyist General Artist
Dragonforce? Yay, a Metal Brony!
Reply
:iconbencurt:
BenCurt Featured By Owner 3 hours ago  Student Digital Artist
Hey, Silver Quill! Check out my artwork and such!

Story Link - www.fimfiction.net/story/25244…

Title Pic - www.fimfiction-static.net/imag…

Gallery - bencurt.deviantart.com/gallery…

Hypergun Fire Test - www.youtube.com/watch?v=wF_xEJ…
Reply
:iconimaginarypicture:
ImaginaryPicture Featured By Owner 5 hours ago  New member Hobbyist Traditional Artist
your oc in "a very brony hearth's warming" picture!
imaginarypicture.deviantart.co…
Reply
:iconthebarhalofan197:
TheBARHalofan197 Featured By Owner 1 day ago  Student Traditional Artist
....you being an awesome griffonpony

enough said :hug:
Reply
:iconspiceddemon:
SpicedDemon Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey Silver! I just want to say that I'm a HUGE fan! :love:
Reply
:iconplatinumartist:
PlatinumArtist Featured By Owner 4 days ago  Student Digital Artist
Hiya Silver-Quill, I know that you like the IDW Comics but I'm wondering if you read the IDW #44 of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. It is crazy as heck, Like I want to tell you about it but I think it would be a lot better if you read it yourself
Reply
:iconaf20cartoons:
AF20cartoons Featured By Owner 5 days ago
Hello!!
Reply
:iconpanddie:
Panddie Featured By Owner Edited 5 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Reply
:iconnightmaremaster000:
nightmaremaster000 Featured By Owner 6 days ago
Excuse me Silver, but I have a question I'd like to ask you. I notice you occasionally do video reviews of certain MLP comics and was wondering if you'll ever do the Equestria Girls Christmas Comic?

Mainly asking cause I think it's an interesting comic in how it explores the concept of cyberbullying and does a fairly decent job of it, along with the whole thing Twilight said about how the human world doesn't need monsters like Wendigos to cause trouble, since technology effectively allows people to do that whenever they feel like it.

Just think it's an interesting comic and would like to hear your thoughts on it if possible.
Reply
:iconbananers97:
Bananers97 Featured By Owner 6 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
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