The mini-series of villainy begins! How does the first issue fare? Let’s take a look.
Here’s the official description from IDW:
The first My Little Pony mini-series event! This month-long weekly limited series explores the secret origins of the Equestria’s greatest villains! What caused Sombra to become one of the most feared ponies in Equestria’s history?
What beats a good villain origin story? Most of the time it’s welcome, but in some cases, they aren’t truly necessary. (Such as the Star Wars prequels explaining how Darth Vader came to be.) Sometimes a villain should just be the villain without any need of sympathy from the viewer. Nonetheless, the concept of exploring key antagonists in My Little Pony is a truly intriguing idea. There are only fan-fics explaining the backstories of these characters, so it was going to be most interesting to see how it went down officially. This first issue perfectly bridges the gap between Sombra’s unexplored origin and the backstory established in ‘The Crystal Empire‘. This mini-series looks to be one of the most notable yet.
Jeremy Whitley tells the tragic story of a pony that does not want to become darkness, yet it already lives within. Yes, the reader does have sympathy, but it never destroys the pure malice of the character. One of the complaints of the character was that he was generic in his debut two-parter with little to no lines. He had a great design and concept, but as a character he was little more than an obstacle. Here he’s nicely depended as we read his descent into darkness. The co-starring characters (Princess Amore, Radiant Hope) bring good things to the table. All in all, it’s hard not to appreciate the bold attempt to craft an engaging origin for this rather one-note villain, and I can say that the writer has succeeded.
Brenda Hickey does the art, and there’s virtually no complaints to be had. It’s pretty much the perfect art for MLP, even rivaling Andy Price’s work. While rather “tamed” with expressions when compared to the latter artist, she nicely shows off the insane evil of Sombra after his attack of the Princess. The main cover by Amy Mebberson is an exquisite piece, something straight out of a Lord of the Rings-like epic. The subscription variant by Sara Richard offers a uniquely-designed Rainbow Dash. While a nice cover, it would have been nice to see her take on the villain.
Overall, Fiendship is Magic starts off most excellent. King Sombra is a character in need of deepening, and this issue does it well. This is a must-buy for MLP fans.