• Let's Review: Luna's Micro

    Time to talk about the last issue of the Micro series, staring the princess of the night!

    As you can see, she's properly caffeinated for the event. The Equestrian Starebucks is set for the next decade.

    Catch the full review after the break! Be warned, there's an extra shot of spoilers.

    Ah, Princess Luna. Is there any finer character to close out this mini series? Since I cannot hear you physically reply, I shall assume you are saying "no" and continue forward...

    I've said before that the best Micros feature the lead character helping another. These characters have been comic-exclusive characters, but Luna's Micro took a different approach. One might think that Luna is helping an entire nation as she boasts that she could run the day shift easily, to which Celestia is all too happy to condemn her allow.

    That's a look most Game of Throne Characters wish they could affect!

    Andy Price remains my favorite artist. There have arguably been more stylized artistically pleasing pieces, such as issue 31 of Friends Forever, but there's a playful spirit to Price's work. He finds the game within the story, adding any number of easter eggs and visual transitions. Though the comic relies on a grid system, he keeps the layout dynamic with either angled sections or overlaps. Sometimes it's something obvious like a mysterious possum clinging to four panels at once. Other times it's something subtle like Luna's tail crossing the boundary.

    Speaking of Luna, tail and all, the royal sisters are proof of Price's skill. Out of all the characters, Luna and Celestia seem the hardest to draw. Their proportions are already different from the standard characters, but how does one convey an ethereal mane in a static image? Price has done this better than anyone else. The weaving lines help convey the sense of motion and ensure that the Princesses never feel rigid. Characters' expressions match each scene and add punch to the humor.

    My main criticism is that sometimes there's too little detail for the image to sell. The biggest example I can point to is a cameo by Flash Sentry. His armor is so spartan (pun intended) that it begins to look like cloth.

    It feels wrong to go through this scene-by-scene. What we have are a rapid-fire set of micros within the Micro. Events that allow Luna to interact with Canterlot's populace and in doing so reveal more of her own personality.

    By personality, I mean Luna Eclipsed's version times ten. This Luna is bombastic, energetic, and fun; but also unprofessional. We see her bounding and skipping between events while shouting at ponies. The Canterlot elite literally become her playthings, and ponies seeking justice will have to settle for avoiding bodily harm. This was the main image for Luna during IDW's early run, but I'm glad they chose to tone her down. Fun in the moment can transition into frustration later.

    What keeps Luna grounded is the comic-exclusive character, Kibitz. Celestia's schedule advisor, he's the foil to Luna's enthusiasm. He's just one frown away from going, "Harumph! Most unorthodox!" On their own, either character wouldn't be much fun as they'd fall into flanderization. Pair them off one another and the dialog becomes snappy, the interactions comical, and the tender moments more real.
    Mad skills: a back-handed compliment without hands. 
    But who is Luna helping? The citizens of Canterlot are there more as her victims than ponies in need. Kibitz is also there to suffer Luna's impulses, and his offended dignity is probably the funniest aspect. Even while writing this, I wasn't sure who Luna helped. Then it hit me: Celestia.

    Celestia's Micro featured her as a wise and patient leader while emphasizing her long life. It was the most positive presentation she's enjoyed, but it was missing one thing. How does Celestia have fun? Her appearances in this comic are short-lived, but they have impact. When she goes into a secret spa, we get to see her indulging with a quiet mirth. She's doing something she enjoys without losing grace or poise.
    So regal!

    That doesn't mean Luna is without depth. While running between appointments, she gets to reflect on the land she governs. Usually she handles threats within the night, but doesn't get to see the lives that benefit from her work. She also gains a new appreciation for Celestia's work, as does the audience. Most important of all, she stops trying to prove she can do things as Celestia would and solves the problem her own way. Thus Luna shows her best while paying compliments to her sister.

    Such a unique sound effect.

    A concern I have with royalty characters, including Equestria's growing roster, is how much the title seems to define them. It's when we get to see the princesses behind the scenes that I feel like we see a real character. It doesn't have to be a polar opposite. Celestia remains composed and graceful, though we get to see hints of flippancy. Luna is running all over, but we also see a quiet, caring side. She's maturing in ways she can't see, because she's too busy mimicking her sister. Having seen the contrast, I can then enjoy them more in their royal role.

    At the time of this entry, an episode on the royal sisters is a dream. Yet this issue did better by them than any episode.

    The situation is low-tension enough that I never felt Luna was putting Equestria's well-being at risk, but she performed each task competently enough that no pony suffered. Well, maybe Fancy Pants and the upper-class crew, but they'll bounce back. Celestia's willful absence is more playful than harassing.

    The secret of her mane: everflow shampoo. 
    The sad realization is that this positivity wouldn't carry forward. Luna and Celestia's roles often force them to the sidelines. Celestia doesn't have many opportunities to be playful or Luna the chance to connect outside a crisis. This is a bright light for both that flickers out in the rush to the next story. In a sense, it's a story about the characters they could be if given the time. 

    As if the art and humor weren't reason enough to read this, Katie Cook follows up with a 2-page comic featuring the reason why a possum has been following Luna around all day. I remember being confused about the little critter on my first read through, and was eager to go back and read it again once I understood.

    This was a grand way to close out the series and remains one of my favorite issues in the entire IDW line. Granted, if one doesn't enjoy Luna's loud personality then this comic is doomed from the first page. Fortunately, I found the elements blended evenly that nothing felt out of place. Give it a read and see if it's as fun for you!

    Twitter: Silver Quill

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