40 issues later, and My Little Pony is still going strong. How is the latest milestone issue? Let’s take a look.
Here’s the official description from IDW:
The untold first meeting of Twilight and baby Spike! Twilight is given her most difficult task yet by Princess Celestia when she is told to take care of a baby dragon who is quite a handful! Will Twilight learn the right lesson in caring for another?
Often in media flashback stories serve one of three purposes. One is to highlight the past of a chataracter or event that is relevant to present day. The second is to deepen a certain character and third it’s just there to buy time until the next major thing. The flashbacks in the MLP comics -and franchise in general- have always provided an intriguing look at the characters or events. Despite having quite a few seasons, there’s still some mystery behind the Mane 6’s backstories. Perhaps a question has been how did Twilight and Spike become such close friends? The only time we see them back in the day together was in the classic episode “The Cutie Mark Chronicles,” which was brief. This fantastic issue dives into what happens after that scene.
Ted Anderson expertly portrays a Twilight Sparkle from her early years. It was a good idea to go with her in modern day telling the story to her friends. Why? Because we can see the character development between then and now. Throughout the flashback we see Twilight truly excited about being part of the Academy, and then she’s given the job of watching a baby dragon. The story progresses smoothly as we see the stress of her pushing herself to be the best student one can be and the best caretaker. The reader can see her immense sadness as she fails to do a simple assignment due to said stress. The best scene is in the parents conference room where she goes insane (her classic version of it) from all this building up.
There is one continuity error I noticed. Trixie apparently went to the same school as Twilight. There’s nothing wrong with this in theory; it’s a cool little cameo appearance. The problem is that in the episode “Boast Busters” Trixie doesn’t seem to recognize Twilight. One would argue that simply Trixie being in the same school doesn’t mean she ever ran into Twilight. The thing is that the comic makes it a point to show Trixie laughing at Twilight’s misfortune. So, this was probably an oversight. On another note, the art by Brenda Hickey is spectacular. In the present day Twilight and the rest of the ponies are incredibly drawn. The greatness continues into the flashback. Brenda draws a great, frantic looking Twilight. The main cover by Brenda gives a nice look at what to expect inside, showcasing a Twilight/Spike montage. The subscription variant is another beautiful piece by Sara Richard. The RI by Jennifer L. Meyer is a more subdued, cute piece showcasing the friendship between the two main characters.
Overall, MLP #40 provides a great story of how the close friendship between Twilight and Spike came to be. It’s also a nice look at Twilight as a filly. (Plus we get to see more of her parents.) The art is fantastic, probably Brenda Hickey’s best work. Aside from a continuity error, (it’s not big enough to take away the perfect score) the issue is a superb read and one all MLP fans should check out.