Written by: Katie Cook
Art by: Andy Price
My experience with the first half of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic “Reflections” arc (issues 17 and 18) can best be described as delightful. Both the foreground and background were alive with jokes, and the plot possessed the perfect amount of mystery and magic. Alternate universes are enjoyable, and this second Equestria was no exception to that. However, issue 19 started a change, a downhill slide into something more dark and sinister. What appeared to be a minor issue was actually a rather large problem; what was once something worth laughing at was now something worth fearing.
The change in tone wasn’t something I wanted from a My Little Pony story, but it worked. There were fewer jokes in issue 19, but the increase in tension was quite enjoyable and an interesting departure from what the cartoon manages to deliver. I was eager to see how issue 20 would resolve everything.
I was…a bit let down.
The problem is one of tone. Issue 19 lowered the volume of jokes and background gags to better match the escalating conflict, but issue 20 seems to want to have both a darker story and a funny one at the same time. It doesn’t quite work. The result is something that feels at odds with itself as characters speak of Equestria’s fate in one panel and then crack a joke (or two) immediately after in the following one.
My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has always had a problem with abrupt endings, and I feel like that problem has crossed over here. I won’t go into any details, but the ending felt rushed and perhaps a bit illogical as well.
Issue 20 isn’t bad by any means, and the darker tone would have worked much better had the jokes been placed further apart. Thankfully, most of the jokes do manage to land on the “funny” side despite it all, and the art style never stops being wonderful. Every character gets a chance at an amazing facial expression, and the obligatory final battle is quite pretty.
There’s plenty to enjoy; I just wish the writers had a few extra pages to flesh out a better ending and space the jokes out a bit more.