Comic book adaptions of cartoons have always been a natural fit and some of the better comics on the market have used cartoons as their inspiration, from early Disney comics to the the recent Adventure Time comics. IDW’s FiM comic marks another great addition to the history of top-shelf animated adaptations, expressing itself in creative new ways but still staying true to the fun feel of the property that it’s based on.
Writer Katie Cook and artist Andy Price have created a comic that will satisfy both kids and Bronies. There are many references to pop culture and Brony favorites in the story and the artwork. Yes, Doctor Hooves, Derpy and even more obscure Brony characters make cameo appearances, and this is the only kid’s comic I’ve seen that quotes a line from the R-Rated Patrick Swayze bouncer epic Road House. But all of that stuff will pass harmlessly over the heads of kids, and they’re still left with a funny story that’s heavy on the adventure.
The plot of the first issue is the start of a multi-part story in which the ponies take on Queen Chrysalis, the queen of the changelings from the “Canterlot Wedding” two-parter that ended season two. She has a new nasty plot that involves kidnapping the Cutie Mark Crusaders and Queen Celestia isn’t available to help, so the ponies set out on an adventure to rescue them. In the first issue this involves a big fight scene that admittedly is a little too similar to the fight in Canterlot Wedding, but at least there are a few new twists.
The comic book does not slavishly try to replicate the clean computer-generated lines of the show. Price renders Ponyville and its inhabitants in a rounder, messier, slightly more “squash and stretch” style that feels playful and full of movement, but with character designs that still stay recognizable to fans of the cartoon.
Cook and Price have the voices and personalities of the ponies down well. Fluttershy is reluctant and reserved to a point, Twilight Sparkle is studious and cautious, Pinkie Pie is nuts, the Cutie Mark Crusaders are a bit annoying.
I usually barely notice the colors in comic books, but colorist Heather Breckel deserves special mention. Her vibrant colors and subtle shading make the artwork come alive and reinforce the emotions in the scenes.
The first issue also comes with a choice of covers. The Comixology version I purchased featured several covers starring different characters, all done in an interesting visual style that resembles colored pencil.
This comic gets my unequivocal recommendation. If you’re a Brony, someone who knows a child who watches the show, or just someone who appreciates good comic books, pick it up.