• Let's Review: Pinkie Pie's Micro

    Going out of order on the look-back at past Micros, but I got to draw Pinkie Pie as Rorschach. I'm calling that a win-win.

    Let's recollect Pinkie's attempt to help her personal hero. 

    "Give me back my spoilers!" 

    I guess Pinkie Pie's got this issue... covered.

    Flutterhy's Micro review is getting put off, but I'll give this much away: it was my least favorite of the Micro series. In hindsight, it was a roller coaster of extremes. Rarity's Micro became my favorite of the series while Fluttershy's was a disappointing low. Both in the span of 1 month. Pinkie Pie's Micro was the month after. So where does her story fit into this ride? 

    Let's start with the art! If you have a Pinkie Pie story, it needs a lot of energy. Pinkie is expressive, dynamic, and unpredictable. So I'm glad Ben Bates is able to capture that spirit with very energetic artwork. Many of the best panels feature exaggerated perspectives that reinforce Pinkie's action. Ponies are bold in their poses, often reaching out to convey their feelings. Every now and again there is a mismatched proportion or an upheld leg that looks stiff, but the overall package is great for Pinkie and other ponies. When it comes to expressions, Pinkie enjoys a wide variety, with some looking both adorable and terrifying all at once. 

     It may sound cynical, but the reason I enjoy Pinkie is that she has the freedom to look sad. 
    It makes her more than just a cut-out goofball character.

    Our story begins with assault. Or, as Pinkie might describe, "free hugs". Having consumed an amount of caffeine that should prevent her from blinking until age 60, Pinkie has won free show tickets. She wants to introduce Twilight to the greatest clown in Equestria: Ponyacci.

    If I saw this barreling towards me, I'd start to question my life choices. 
    My favorite micros tend to show the characters at their best, though we may still see their worst. This comic starts with Pinkie showing her most splendid side. In spite of her enthusiasm to see Ponyacci, she doesn't hesitate to give up her ticket to a stranger who seems sad. I wouldn't call this an Element of Laughter moment as she's not trying to inspire the laughter herself. It's far more sincere than a labeled power. This is a generous spirit putting the needs of other first. 

    Pinkie is wonderful. That is all. 

    Unfortunately, this comic also features Pinkie at a low point. After a wonderful show, Pinkie gets to meet her idol backstage and learn that not only was he the sad pony from before, but he's decided to retire. This sends Pinkie into depression. Reading this, I thought back on all the little rituals I used to have watching Saturday morning cartoons (Yes, I'm old. But I got to watch the X-Men cartoon brand-new, so there!). I enjoy similar traditions watching MLP as new episodes appear, and I'm sure many people reading this have their own habits.

    We incorporate our entertainment into our identity, and when our favorite shows end or our favorite performers retire, that change can impact us personally. So I sympathize with Pinkie as she sulks over Ponyacci's retirement, but that doesn't make her right. Pinkie insists that Ponyacci should continue, regardless of his age or the performance's demands. Ponyacci himself was not eager to retire, but he seemed peaceful about the decision. Pinkie falls into the trap that's claimed many fans. She's no longer seeing him as an individual, but as her entertainment source. It's unfortunate that she's showing less consideration for her idol than she showed for a complete stranger.  

    When you've been inspired, the best thing to do is pay it forward

    Twilight serves a supportive role in the story and reminds Pinkie that this isn't about her. Though Pinkie doesn't fully listen, it's important to feature that message. Twilight and Spike also spark an idea for Pinkie, which leads to a unique fact. 

    This has nothing to do with the story, 
    but I often wonder what's happening with these two?

    Let's crunch some numbers here. 44 issues for the main series to date. 30 issues of Friends Forever. 10 issues for the Micro series.  5 Fiendship Magic entries. 2 annuals. Out all these comics, only one has inspired fans to create a song:

    Everything fun about this comic is expressed in Pinkie's musical number. The fact that this comic can even feature a musical is an impressive feat. The art, lyrics, and overall exuberance make the lyrics take on vitality and I'm not surprised the fandom reacted to this expression. Plus it sets the stage for an emotional faceplant.

    I shouldn't laugh. But I do. Every time.

    I'm actually glad to cover Pinkie's Micro first because I saw something that had slipped by in my earlier readings. One of my laments for Fluttershy's Micro was that the art of criticism had poor representation. The derisive and vain Praiser Pan was the kind of toxic commentary that people should tune out. Ponyacci is a fantastic contrast. As he goes over Pinkie's routine, it's clear that he recognizes the effort and wants to see her improve. He praises the strengths and not only comments on weaker areas, but also gives ideas on how to improve. This is constructive criticism at its purest and most wonderful. 

    Ponyacci remains one of my favorite comic-exclusive characters.
    Praiser Pan... more on him later.

    So it's only natural that Pinkie see the solution and clue Ponyacci. He gets to keep helping ponies laugh without overtaxing himself. I can't fault him for not thinking of teaching sooner. When making big life decisions, it's not always possible to see all the options. We're too close and should be grateful for friends who bring up alternatives. 

    So how does this all shape up? This comic is a very, very close second for my favorite Micro. It shows Pinkie with a diverse personality, has great artwork and characters, and inspired some fandom creativity. The only thing holding it back is uncertainty if Pinkie recognized her mistake and learned from it. She provided a solution, but I'm not sure she admitted to herself how she viewed her idol. 

    There is one point I still can't understand. Ponyacci offers his gratitude, and Pinkie mentions there is one thing he can do for her. I'm not sure what that was. She doesn't become his pupil. He doesn't sign her Ponyacci doll. It's all left nebulous and I wonder why Pinkie didn't seek training. She'd make a great clown.

    Or... not. Oh, wait. That's next week's comic! The same week as The Killing Joke hits TVs and movie screens. Coincidence? 

    Twitter: Silver Quill