The Everfree Forest takes center stage in the start of a brand new arc! How well does it begin? Let’s take a look.
The official description from IDW:
Timberwolves invade Ponyville! They’re just the start of the troubles for our ponies though as many other mystical creatures emerge from Everfree Forest. What could be causing the mass migration and how can the balance of nature be restored?
The Everfree Forest is one of those plot places where there is always an opportunity for something new. The show has done well in exploring it, but here are still many more stories to be had in it. The big hype about this arc was that the Forest was seemingly coming alive to take out the inhabitants of Ponyville. The ultimate “why” of this issue was admittedly unexpected. For the older reader, it’s blatantly obvious that this arc is going to be used as a social message for environmentalism. This is not a bad thing, but for those expecting a story revolving around the mystery of the dark forest, there will be some disappointment.
Katie Cook churns out a solid script, as usual. The mystery is kept suspenseful, and even if the turn of the story is slightly disappointing, the road there is engaging. The plot introduces a few new characters, in the forms of Bramble, Blackthorn (who wants to put money that this guy will end up being bad?) and King Aspen. These deer are established very well, it’s a true shame that probably none of these comic exclusive characters will transition into the show.
Andy Price’s art knows no bounds, another incredibly drawn issue. Almost every panel will give the reader a good chuckle. The main cover by Price generates an appropriate mood, showcasing the Everfree Forest capturing all the ponies. While it may generate a false view of the story, it’s nonetheless a cool cover. Cover B by Tony Fleecs is a bit more of ominous cover, showcasing a happy scene but with “sinister roots,” definitely a great piece. The RI by Paulina Ganucheau is definitely one of the more unique covers of the series yet. While having nothing to do with the story, it’s worth a pickup just for the sheer poster-quality of it.
Overall, a great start to the new arc. While I was disappointed that it’s more about “Don’t cut down the trees!” instead of being the sinister Everfree Forest story marketing made it out to be, it’s nonetheless an entertaining read from beginning to end with engaging new characters.