I have read every issue of the My Little Pony suite of comics and this is, without a doubt, one of my favorite issues to date. Andy Price and Katie Cook are the dream team of MLP, with issue 41 solidifying that distinction. Fantastic art, vibrant colors, and a cohesive narrative make this comic a blast to read, complete with self-aware humor and a moral to the story. You would have to be derpy to pass this one up.
Breaking the widely accepted comic template, this storybook tale is narrated by Zecora the Zebra, whose rhyming speech patterns really enhance the storytelling aspect of the comic. Following Rainbow Dash on a day that won’t go her way, we gradually see throughout the story how a foul mood and bad attitude can spread to those around us. The concept is represented by “Drearies”, miniature rain clouds hovering over the citizens of Ponyville. Only when Rainbow Dash realizes how her actions affect those closest to her does the healing begin. If ever there was a time to utilize Zecora’s unique cadence, this is it. Reading it in your head, it sounds natural and beautiful, especially if you’ve seen the show and know the voice associated with the character. The only time Zecora doesn’t rhyme, Spike the dragon cuts in and points it out. This is kind of a running joke through the second half and is a fun way to break the fourth wall. With all of the stanzas of text, Neil Uyetake deserves credit for the lettering throughout.
As great as the writing is, the true magic of this issue is in Andy Price’s art. The style is constantly shifting between an illustrated children’s book and a comic book, with several splash pages featuring Rainbow Dash, Zecora, and the Mane Six. Each of these styles has its own unique aesthetic, employing a number of techniques in line work, coloring, and contrast. The key success in this book is how Price handles all aspects of the creative process. While most comic books have separate penciler’s, inker’s, and colorists over a period of several issues, My Little Pony shifts their artists between issues and they cover everything themselves. By taking this approach, artists are given the freedom to be different and innovative. Price takes full advantage of the unconventional narration by making bold choices and refusing to maintain the status quo. Some pages have no inks while others employ a watercolor style. Crayons, greyscale, markers, the artist goes crazy! This is the most colorfully diverse comic I’ve read in recent history, even taking into account books with a variety of artistic teams.
As a self-contained story, this is a great issue to jump on if you’ve never picked up My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. The only downside to doing this is that I don’t know if the next issue will live up to the standard set by issue #41. Though, to be fair, the next one looks really fun if the cover is any indication. Speaking of covers, this issue has the regular cover and 3 variants, and all of them are great. I bought the Art Appreciation cover, but after reading the story, I wish I’d gotten one of the others that pay homage to Little Golden Books. Regardless, this book is stunning in story and color. Buy this book and you’ll be a Brony, just like me.
Amazing, Five out of Five Muffins (I mean Stars)
STORY BY Katie Cook
ART BY Andy Price
LETTERS BY Neil Uyetake
COVER BY Andy Price, Amy Mebberson, Sara Richard