• Let's Review: MLP The Movie Prequel #2

    The road to MLP the Movie continues onward. Here we have the next phase of the prequel comics leading up to October's debut.

    Let's see which movie characters get to shine in the spotlight this time around!

    I feel like referencing the movie should imply spoilers, but I'll be overt just to be safe.

    Beware the SPOILERS!

    Okay then.

    Avast! This here be a pirate story... and that's as much pirate talk as I'm willing to type. I paid my dues talking like a pirate for the Friendship Ahoy! story arc and have been in recovery ever since.

    Hey, you ever wonder why we're here?

    Today's issue features the introduction of Captain Celaeno and her Fearsome Pirates. That is not a description. That is the actual title they gave themselves. More on that in a moment but let's talk art first.

    That ship looks like an angry bird.
    Or maybe I'm projecting.

    Andy Price remains my favorite artist, though the setting doesn't test his skills as much as the previous issue. The entire story takes place upon airships, so we're not getting much by way of new locals. The sky is a familiar setting almost anywhere. That's not to say Price's skills aren't on display. In addition to some excellent thunderstorm renderings, he puts a lot of effort into Captain Celaeno's crew. Some we've seen in the trailers while others may be comic-exclusive. Regardless, they're designed to imply a testament to the challenges this crew has faced.

    Okay, I wanna know more about that fellow on the right.

    This is an important visual because looking at Celaeno, it can be hard to know what's come before. Her expressions are diverse, ranging from "amusement" to "lie to me and I'll make both your halves walk the plank", and they all look natural. Celaeno's peg leg (which strikes me as a jade blade) implies that she's been through some ordeals, but because much of the comic shows her from the waist up I often forget it's there. So seeing her crew of various parrots helps drive that she and her supporters have weathered some storms.

    All the romanticism of being a pirate.
    None of the bitterness.

    Her crew also gives Celaeno a chance to establish her best trait: care for others. These are "good" pirates. The kind that wouldn't pillage a town or waylay your ship just to steal your luggage. Celaeno makes it a point that this crew is her family, and thus their well-being is her true goal. Put away all thoughts of a straw-hat scallywag. Celano has no desire to be a pirate queen. If anything, she's done her best to stay clear of big problems by only going after cargo ships. Hardly the "fearsome" pirates one would expect, but shock and awe might help discourage a fight. 

    Hang on... A gruff but fair team leader who only takes on greater risk as needed? Sounds like a certain someone who is also popular in media right now. 


    All of this is actually a prequel to a prequel. Before you can say "metaception", Strife sends the most literal message in a bottle, inviting the pirates to claim the greatest haul possible. To Celaeno's credit she asks all her crew to vote rather than volunteer them. Of course, this would be a poor story if they didn't decide to take the risk.

    "I hope that someone gets my... 
    I hope that somone gets my... 
    Message in a booottlllllle. 
    Message in a booottlllllle."

    Having already seen the outcome in the last issue, let's skip ahead to the character motives. There are a lot of parallels between Celaeno and the Storm King, though the gap between those traits is worlds apart. Though smitten with the Misfortune Malachite's beauty, Celaeno has not intention of keeping it. Not because it puts her at risk (though she's no trust in magic) but because it could endanger her crew. Contrast that against the Storm King, who held on to it to use as either a weapon or as a trophy.

    The one bling to curse them all!

    The Storm King makes his return to the story much more in control than when we left him, and he wants to make sure everyone knows it. I stand by my initial review that the King is driven by a need to not only feel in control, but to make sure everyone else knows it as well. So he doesn't stomp on to the deck calling for Strife's head. He strolls on board, makes a smug joke, then gives his traitor the boot.

    I think he got through his primal scream therapy.

    Given that we've not seen promotional material for Strife, I'm not sure we'll see him again. A shame, because I am curious to know what he had planned if his escape succeeded. I could see him as a tiny threat growing into something much greater should the franchise wish.

    Goodbye, strange cloudy person. Perhaps we'll meet again.

    Here's the real focus. When Celaeno discovered Chummer and Capper stowed away, her first thought is to make them part of her crew. The Storm King does the exact same for the Fearsome Pirates. Yet the motives are completely different.

    That reminds me. 
    I need to buy some hand sanitizer before Bronycon.

    Celaeno's peg leg and the wounds to her crew attest to them having led hard lives. Rather than be bitter or selfish, the Captain transforms that past into positive action. She's giving these now homeless Abyssinians a chance at a future. Strife makes note that's not her responsibility, showing that he views the world much like the Storm King. He can't grasp the idea that someone might offer another person a chance if only to balance the scales against one's own experience.

    Haven't seen a cat jump scare like that since Alien.

    The Storm King doesn't offer a post out of kindness. Even the offer to make Celaeno his second-in-command is empty. What he's doing is demonstrating control. He won't show anger as he comes on board. He won't allow Strife the chance to plead his case. And if you steal from him, then he will take more than a life. He will take your future. Even if the Captain did accept his offer, the implication behind her command would be, "You will behave as I have, and I will change you." Starting with abandoning her crew.

    Polly want a throttling?

    Even when thwarted again, the Storm King doesn't take Celaeno's life. He takes away his offer's pretense, but ultimately it's the same. He won't kill the pirates because killing them would put them outside his control. Any fool with a moment's violence can take a life, but how many can boast they made their opponents become servants? 

    I wonder if that guy in the back is going to be the movie's Derpy?

    Two similar acts that speak to very different personalities. I really enjoyed this contrast between characters and this does increase my anticipation for the movie. I want to see the Storm King's need for control come back to bite him and to see Celaeno and crew become truly fearsome pirates.

    Wait, did someone pilfer Celestia's crown? 
    Or did she get that on vacation?

    But there's a lot of life to live between now and October. Let's not go wishing it away. Have some fun, enjoy a good comic, and we'll see what tomorrow holds.

    Egads! We've become a clipping mask!

    I'm Silver Quill. Thanks for reading!

    Silver Quill on Twitter