Nutshell: Is the wait for Season 5 of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic killing you? This group of four stories should help ease the pain. There’s some so-so art in spots, but overall the Mane Six trot out some wonderful fun and friendship. Grade: B
Stories: The Apple family head to Apple Con, where Granny Smith runs into the Flim Flam brothers. Iron Will needs Fluttershy’s help to find his “inner pony”. Rainbow Dash must help Spitfire with a very important mission: teaching. And Pinkie Pie’s favorite – and most fearsome – treat comes back to town.
Thoughts: Y’all know I’m a pony fan. Big. Huge. So when I got my grubbies on this I was psyched. Not just because poneeez, but because I’d never had the chance to grab a Friends Forever issue ’til now. (I’ve been reading Friendship is Magic for awhile, though.) What’s the diff between the two series? Friendship is Magic deals with story arcs, while Friends Forever are single-issue stories where everything is wrapped up nicely by the final page. (FF takes over single-issue story duties from the My Little Pony Micro Series that wrapped in 2013.) As a horror comic anthology addict, I love me some one-shots and single-issue stories. So Friends Forever filled a need in me for quick and easy pony tales, and Vol 3 hooked me with excellent storytelling and on-point characterizations.
Love Amy Mebberson’s artwork, especially the “where’s Waldo” fun of the larger panels. Check out page 3; is that Princess Cadence waiting in line with Spike? And Vinyl Scratch? Wait — Maude Pie and Zecora sightings! Agnes Garbowska’s Iron Will is top-notch too. But I’m less than impressed with Jay P. Fosgitt’s work on #11 (pages 45-66). The ponies seem misshapen and even a touch out of proportion at times. What’s wrong with their necks? Disappointing. That said, Mebberson’s cover art for #11 — which is used for Vol. 3’s cover — is my favorite of all the issues collected here. And I’m kinda thinking Loop De Loop is my new Best Side Colt. She’s like a baby Luna. D’awwww!
The writing feels like an extension of the TV episodes, and not just because I hear everypony’s voice inside my head when I’m reading. Christina Rice nails the overall character vibes, Ted Anderson’s stories have great pacing, with just enough thrill. Barbara Randall Kesel nails Pinkie Pie in #12, and Brenda Hickey’s fever-dream art is a perfect match for that story.
Best line: “They say you forget the pain. My pain refuses to forget me, though. I’ve decided to name it Beauregard…”
Subscribe of Skip: If you’re a pony fan, you don’t need me to tell you that you need this series. Fun? Fun! But folks with little ones & anyone who’s up for a sweet series of one-shot stories where there’s no arc to sweat over falling behind on? You should give these ponies a try.
Publication 411: Collects My Little Pony: Friends Forever #9-12. Scheduled to hit shelves March 17, 2015.
[NOTE: I received a copy of this title pre-publication via Netgalley. I received no compensation for my review. Not even a teensy-weensy drop of cider. Dagnabit.]