• Let's Review: Legends of Magic #3

    Tis time once again to venture into Equestria's past. What impact did the hitherto unmentioned Mistmane have? 

    Check out the review after the break. But heed the tale of the Legend of Spoilers! Some have gone into this dark land and come out bitter!

    That Luna design on one cover isn't the most honest advertising.
    I think they did it because this version is now more recognizable.

    Three issues into the series. It's enjoying a strong start. While Friends Forever had a rough start but eventually found its stride, Legends of Magic seems to know what it wants to be, who it should feature, and what the stories mean. This is helped by the fact that Jeremy Whitely, Brenda Hickey, and Heather Breckel fulfilling the respective roles of writer, artist, and colorist across the opening issues. As a result I think commenting on the art would be repetitive. The same strengths of the first two issues continue here. There's a nice consistency to the look and tone that helps cement the series. 

    Turns out she's like Pinkie Pie.
    She's really commenting on the panel border.

    I don't doubt we'll get alternate artists and writers as the series progresses, but in the moment I'm enjoying how these three weave Equestria's history. 

    Dude, talking to yourself is the first sign you need less time alone.

    Having entertained both Celestia and Luna with tales, Sunburst decides to enjoy a story himself. He supplies the exposition on Mistmane. A mare of stunning looks, she spread beauty all across Equestria. 

    Reminds me of a quote:
    "The sun setting is no less beautiful than the sun rising.

    I admit, that first description put me on guard. Speaking as a child of the 80's, I've seen a lot of stories where evil things are ugly and good things are beautiful, but looking back as an adult I found the whole thing shallow. The key question is whether or not Mistmane was physically beautiful or shown a deeper beauty. 

    Fluttershy would be so jelly!

    I will say that even after she apparently forefitted her beauty to save a friend and kingdom, Mistmane's design is still lovely. The way Breckel draws her mane gives me the sense that it flows much like Celestia and Luna's. Her verdigris green mane and lavender coat compliment one another to create a very cool color scheme. And yes, verdigris is an actual color. Its name comes from a process of exposing copper to the elements, something that Sunburst has to endure.

    I wonder how he'd react if he learned about the internet.

    It might sound lovely to read in a garden, but it has to be just the right spot. Otherwise you can't enjoy squat thanks to the bugs, the sunburn, and the humidity. Yes, I'm more sympathetic to Sunburst here. 

    Did Equestria have ancient labor unions?

    But Starswirl's magical nagging says a lot about his character and this series. The legend of Celestia and Luna is well documented. Rockhoof's greatest exploit was already known. Apparently everypony has read about Mistmane's sacrifice.

    It was the shot heard around Equestria!

    Yet Starswirl insists on respecting these tales and the ponies immortalized. I'm still not sure if these are stories that Starswirl found, imagined, or documented; but the central theme is the life behind the legend. Consider that the average history class will outline a person's events, but understanding what shaped a person beforehand and the consequences that came after is often overlooked. Starswirl wanted to preserve the ponies in their entirety, not just a single event. 

    Sure thing, mysterious stranger! 
    I trust you'll be safe in this construction zone without help.

    In Mistmane's case, she spent the years after her sacrifice exploring the land. This leads her to discover Canterlot castle's construction site. The workers complain of setbacks time and again, and so Mistmane volunteers to solve the problem. Why these stallions are so quick to turn things over to a mare they've never met is beyond me. But Mistmane has a way of talking to ponies that seems to ease their guard. 

    You will not ignore my royal cuteness!

    Though she's in for a challenge as she meets the issue's guest star: young Princess Luna! Considering that Luna has featured in each Legends of Magic issue to date, she appears to be a sort of costar to Sunburst. Mistmane, for reasons only she knows, decides to cover her identity as she queries the aggressive princess. My guess is that she didn't want to risk being recognized and distracting Luna as they observe the real culprits.

    Glad we have a princess of dreams. 
    Because I'll see that face in my nightmares.

    In many ways the story's focus shifts to Luna as she learns why animals would sabotage the construction site. Mistmane is serving as a coach to teach Luna how to watch and listen. It doesn't matter that Luna lacks Fluttershy's animal communication. With a little effort, Luna is able to overcome the trouble. Mistmane quietly departs, which brings her role to a close.

    You could say they're bear-ly communicating!
    I'm sorry. That was a grizzly pun.

    So was Mistmane a beautiful mare? I would say so. The key thing about her character is that she stops to appreciate the beauty around her. Yet when she approaches ponies she shows her own appeal. She is never condescending or short. She asks a lot of questions, drawing the ponies out of their reserve while learning about the situation. Mistmane never talks about herself, but by expressing a genuine interest in others she forms a bond. That is a beauty that shines brighter than physical looks. 

    Hail to thee, Tibble's ancestor!

    The moral of allowing others to solve their own problems carries great meaning and reflects on Celestia's teaching style. I can't say it's an absolute, as Mistmane had to relieve the construction crew rather than try to guide them as well. Much like in Friends Forever #3, there's a balance between when to help and when to step back. 

    Good thing the worker is a unicorn.
    An earth pony would need half a day to roll that back up!

    But one question lingers. Starswirl notes that he often thought he saw a hooded unicorn tending the castle gardens. Though Sunburst dismisses this as legend, I'm wondering if Mistmane is a benevolent spirit. In fact, she might have been a ghost all along.

    I wish I could react like that when startled.
    Cursing is boring. Anachronisms are more fun!

    She can move around unnoticed and startles ponies when she approaches them. We never see her in need of food, water, or sleep. She can come and go undetected, but seems to share an affinity with animals. I'm seriously getting a Sixth Sense vibe. 

    I am cuteness! I am the night! I am Princess Luna!

    Yet the bigger specter hanging over this issue is not a ghost but a question. How does one explain Canterlot Castle and the Castle of the Two Sisters? This same question came up in the first issue. In both cases it becomes background noise, as much as one might ask why the two sisters would want to build a castle in the middle of the Everfree forest. 

    I wonder if pegasi worked on the castle's left side.
    Would not want to be dangling out over doom otherwise.

    I always figured that Canterlot Castle was a reaction to Nightmare Moon destroying their old home, but that doesn't seem to be the case. So I am a little confused but not so much that the story is undone.

    Celestia would not have those eyes for any other until she discovered her favorite cake.
    Continuing the idea of matching these stories to Mane characters, I have two in mind. One might assume Fluttershy, given the animals. Yet I think this story would hold the most appeal for Rarity and Applejack. Rarity for Mistmane's demonstration of inner beauty and calmness. Applejack for learning the lesson to stop and listen.

    And for we the audience, I think this is a strong story. I expect there will be complaints that the focus shifted to Luna over Mistmane, but I think it works in this case as Mistmane is playing the long game. She's reinforcing the future rather than trying to the moment's heroine. So I'd give this a recommendation and I'm curious to see what next month holds.

    Hmm... the inspiration for a certain Sentry's name?

    I'm Silver Quill. Thanks for reading!