by TalkNerdy2Me on May 10, 2017

Writer: Jeremy Whitley

Artist: Brenda Hickey

Colorist: Heather Breckel

Publisher: IDW Comics


I’m pretty sure I mentioned with the very first issue of this book that Jeremy Whitley’s storytelling is a bit pedestrian and predictable. I may have even used phrases like “cliched” and talked about well-worn tropes. That hasn’t changed much with this issue, but that’s not a huge problem with an all-ages book like this. It’s clearly aimed a younger demographic, who are likely to read it with their parents or other older friend/relative who’ll appreciate the more sophisticated jokes sprinkled in for their amusement. 


This tale starts with Princess Luna commanding Sunburst to read her the legend of Rockhoof. His tale contains elements of John Henry, The Mighty Thor, Aesop-style fables, and even an episode of classic Star Trek centered on a misunderstood alien causing havoc for miners. And if you squint hard enough, there’s even a sort-of reference to my favorite late ‘70s Rush record (“Hemispheres”), what with all the talk about balance and such. And as I said about the first issue, tropes have lasted as long as they have for a reason. They provide a solid framework for real creativity, and can help younger readers become more familiar with all kinds of stories, from the Hero’s Journey onward.


Brenda Hickey’s art in this issue, as in the first, provides the spoonful of sugar that helps the moral medicine go down real easy. The art style is quite consistent with the rest of the “Friendship is Magic” universe of Equestria. This is clearly a world that Twilight Sparkle and her friends would recognize immediately. That said, Hickey does some really interesting and funny things with her illustrations. She manages to make Rockhoof look like the kind of well-intentioned but sort of dumb “bro” with a square jaw that made me immediately hear his dialogue in Chris Hemsworth’s Thor voice. And I think my favorite single illustration in the book is Rockhoof showing the effects of a month-long oat/corn/bread/kale bender with his guard buddies. His mane is a disaster, he’s pudgy, and his eyes are even a bit bloodshot. Younger readers will just figure he’s been staying up too late, but Mom and Dad will recognize a hangover when they see one, hee!


I enjoyed the sort of meta way that the story ended, with all conflicts resolved and tidy lesson tacked on for good measure. The only thing missing was the Animaniacs’ handy “Wheel of Morality” to drive the point home. I’ll be interested to see if this continues to be a pure anthology, or if there starts to be a narrative through-line to what’s going on in present-day Equestria. And that’s a good an excuse as any to keep reading a nifty little piece of escapist fluff.

Our Score:


A Look Inside