• Let's Review: Rarity's Micro

    Who says a refined lady can’t enjoy a good comic? Not me!

    Let’s have a look back at Rarity’s micro comic. 

    Be warned: the spoilers within are fabulous!

    So let’s be upfront about this: out of all the Micros, Rarity’s is my favorite. 

    There are several factors that I enjoy. Not the least of which is the artwork.

    Beauty can take many forms.

    Andy Price and Heather Breckel team up to deliver artwork that is energetic, expressive, and loaded with easter eggs. Just look at this panel and count the number of references:

    Their design choices also work great with the newest batch of comic-exclusive characters. Exhausted between fashion shows, Rarity retreats to a “Wellness Center” run by Wheat Grass, Flax Seed, and several other hippy ponies. All of them are decorated to convey their characters and feature earthy tones or rich greens. Without any written cues we can tell that these ponies favor oneness with nature. Or marijuana. Hard to tell with dudes like Flax Seed. 

    This leads into the next strength: Rarity. Outspoken, melodramatic, and materialistic, Rarity is a pony who can shine in any situation. Her character is designed to be in the spotlight and this makes it easier to put her in comedic situations than more reserved ponies like Fluttershy. If humor is derived from pain, then offended pride is one of the greatest sources. 

    The pony who bumped her didn't live
    to make it into the comic.

    As Rarity submits herself to mud stomping, bee keeping, and tedious greenhouse lectures, the audience is just waiting for the powder keg to blow. Yet pain on its own is just shy of sadism. What makes it light-hearted are the hippy ponies. Though their main role is to serve as foils to Rarity, each character stands out as a quirky, lively individual who isn’t intentionally causing Rarity pain but doesn’t get her at all. The comedic tension remains taut throughout the story. 

    This is a goldilocks moment for the Micro comics. Twilight’s micro featured her helping Jade Singer alone. If the reader wasn’t invested in that struggle, then the story failed. Rainbow Dash saved all of Ponyville in her own micro. Yet the larger scope raised the question of why no pony helped her. Rarity’s Micro hits a better balance. 

    The hippies come clean about their “Wellness Center”, Rarity empathizes and goes from their victim to their savior/tormentor. Depends on who you ask. A reader might not care for one pony, but there are many others to whom we can gravitate. The group needing help is small enough to be isolated, yet large enough for the reader to care about the community if not the individuals. 

    In Hippiville they say Rarity's heart grew three sizes that day.

    Which brings us to the strongest aspect of this comic: Rarity’s talents. Many shows would have stopped at the fashionista trope. Able to look good but with no sense of real-world expertise. Instead, MLP made Rarity a savvy business owner. She is materialistic, but that means she also expresses her care through gifts. Thus she begins to redefine the hippies’ business model.

    A criticism I saw during this comic’s debut was that Rarity was indoctrinating the counter-cultural hippies into capitalism. However, there’s one panel that this critique neglects:

    Rarity is not asking the others to abandon their beliefs, but to develop flexibility in their presentation. There’s no corruption in asking for a price that matches the effort and quality used to create a product. Truth be told, I’d love for some of Rarity’s philosophy to work its way back into real world economics.   

    My own criticism is the occasional lapse into flanderization. The most obvious example would be Rarity’s encounter with that which is called a “hammer.” Truly, an entrepreneurial pony would never encounter such witchcraft! 

    Seriously, Rarity?
    You never had to nail down a shelf in the boutique? 

    Yet such things are hiccups in an enjoyable outing. I loved this story all the way through and was even surprised by the two-page extra at the end. How is it that this comic can make me feel sorry for Hayseed Turnip? 

    All's fair in love and war.
    But what about mutually-assured destruction?

    If you haven’t read this comic, then I think you’ve missed out on a good story. In fact, this came out two months after season 3’s end. That was a season with no Rarity-centric episode. This comic may have tipped the scales back in favor of the most fashionably fabulous pony in Ponyville. Give it a read and witness all that is...

    Twitter: Silver Quill