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.
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!
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!