As a comics fan I’ve managed to grow a much thicker skin when it comes to the regularly occurring discussion of “are comics art” or the dis”it’s kids stuff. When Allan Moore accuses comics of causing a “deliberate, self-imposed state of emotional arrest” it makes my appreciation of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic a really difficult stance to defend. What? It’s a great comic and it succeeds for exactly the same reason the now ten year old rebooted cartoon did by being bright, colourful,charming and uncomplicated in terms of real life. I know exactly what the appeal is and where it fits into my reading diet. It’s the comics equivalent of a huge,warm comforting blanket and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. It’s the warm and reassuring kind of media we’ve all retreated and relied on even more in 2020. Oh,that’s not to say that the Ponies don’t have huge adventures and even bigger problems,but there cute problems! The “Mane Six” can usually untangle any complication within an issue or two without too much bother. Although the series ended last year, the comic gallops on into season 10 straddling the line perfectly with being a great all ages read whist still appealing to the older ‘Brony’ side of the fandom without pandering to them.
Such is the creators’ confidence in My Little Pony at this stage,the new ‘season’ begins without the involvement of the regular familiar faces, instead focusing on Apple Jack, the rhyming zebra Zecora and a whole cast of new characters in her old friends. A mixture of Zebra’s, kelpies and other characters keep the comic constantly inventive with a lot more world building than is surely needed for a ‘kids comic’.
There can be no doubt that creative team over at IDW know the show inside and out but are also dyed in the wool geeks themselves as this issue begins with Zecora recalling in true D&D style an imaginary adventure she played with her old friends journeying across “The Desert of Infinity” as they cross a far more real and perilous desert. The recollection ends with the revelation she is a true DM and ended it when she “got fed up and told us we all died of heatstroke!”
Longtime FiM artist Andy Price takes up art duties on season 10 and while he has always taken cues from the show has developed a look that’s in keeping with the animation whilst being clearly distinct. A little more cartoony, his ponies emote with the best of them and appear expressive and elastic. Clean, cheerful and exuberant art that is filled with adorable background details and outstanding character design for the new additions to the gang.
Did I say it was uncomplicated earlier? Well the thread running throughout the adventure this issue is Zecora reconciling with her friends whilst realising that their will always be different perspectives to events, even if we have thought of them as immutable as she asks her former friends “If I can put our past aside, can you forgive me for my pride?” This is all before the issue delivers on the warning “there is singing in this comic” on its cover and bursts into a fullon musical number that was a Hallmark of the series on screen,translating it onto the page through Prices framing and pop culture nods to show the different styles coming into play. When Zecora appears in a very iconics yellow leather jacket it’s evident that the song has reached it’s epic stadium anthem conclusion.