• Let's Review: MLP Movie Prequel #3

    That banner might be hitting below the belt, but let's be fair. She gets to interact with ponies on a daily basis. Viva variety!

    Less than two months away from the movie's premiere. But we still have characters with backstories to share. Let's see what happens in this issue.

    Check out the review after the break, but watch out. This is a one-way ticket to spoilers!

    Time for the backstory of one of the more controversial characters. I've seen more criticism for Capper than any other newcomer. I think it's because his design lacks the visual flair compared to the others. Dude is a Luna-height cat with a trench coat. Not much else to say.
    Thanks to pink1ejack for the vector!

    Though I do scratch my head when people take issue with his anthropomorphism. We've already seen similar with the Diamond Dogs and anthropomorphic characters are a staple in the My Little Pony franchise. He's different than the norm, but that only enhances the idea that Twilight and friends are journeying far outside familiar territory. 

    Now this is the tale of the castaways!
    Something, something, I don't remember!

    All that said, maybe Capper's backstory will changes some minds. We begin with a life-threatening situation. Or, as I call it, a case of the Mondays.

    I feel like Celine Dion should be singing for them.

    You know something's doomed from the get-go when the title character is hanging around with a best friend. One way or another, Chummer's gotta go. 

    Chummer! The comic staff forgot to add your name!

    It doesn't help that a very large part of this dialog is the two cats discussing how they're best friends and they can do anything together. You're triggering at least six separate doom flags with that one. Here's an example: 

    The first time I've gotten to use my doom flag in a comic.
    I feel so unjustifiably proud.

    Capper and Chummer have been the golden thread weaving throughout these stories. Escapees from Abyssia's fall. Members of Captain Celaeno's crew for about five minutes. Now they're having to make a life for themselves in the most visually monotone location to date: Klugetown.

    To it's credit, Klugetown has a fantastic tourism board.

    That's a harsher criticism because Klugetown is montone by intent. The brown hues and grays drive home that this isn't a place to enjoy living. It's a bare-bones, survive day-to-day setup. The fact that it's surrounded by desert emphasizes that this is more a prison than a refuge. One doesn't end up here without making questionable decisions. Yet give Andy Price credit, even when the situations calls for drab he finds ways to add some fun easter eggs. 

    Truly, a city of rule-breaking rebels!

    The storyline is very straightforward. Capper and Chummer were orphans and thieves back in their homeland, so that trend continues. Despite a visual montage showing that they're very skilled at this, but even with constant swindling they barely scraping by. Their one ace in the hole is the misfortune malachite.

    Still think that's just kryptonite 
    and that's why Super Mare can't come save them.

    Through some further scamming, they earn an audience with the anthro mole, Verko. As crime bosses go... he's surprisingly honest. Not only does he own up the malachite's true value, he actually upsells the bargain. Either he's got a redeeming feature or he's very bad at being a crime boss and Klugetown is the best he can manage.

    Can a flaw make a criminal trustworthy?
    Or is he simply too dumb to be a competent criminal?

    Either way, we come to the focal point. Capper and Chummer have been allies from the get-go, but through some dialog we glimpse that the two cats have different end goals. Capper wants an out. This life is but a means towards something better, though he doesn't yet know what that means. Chummer is perfectly content with this life, aiming only to gain greater riches but not seeking a change to the status quo. 

    Okay, you're like the Storm King now.
    Just hold up a big "Betray Me!" sign.

    It is a nice reflection of the conflict that can arise between friends. Many friendships have ended over diverging goals. It needn't be so, but situations like that ask that both friends be brave enough to accept change and trust the friendship will endure.

    Curse your sudden but inevitable betrayal!

    Chummer does not have this courage. Though to the comic's credit, it doesn't portray this as greed alone. Chummer is scared of being abandoned. If he is the one to leave first, however, he has a false sense of security because he controlled the situation. 

    This is mutiny, Mr. Chummer! 
    I'll have you strung up from the highest yardarm once I know what that means!

    And with this betrayal, at least one part of the golden threat is cut away. Capper is stuck in Klugetown, likely setting up his role within the movie. Chummer, however, is still a wild card. Much like Strife, his role may be to carry us forward to the next part and keep the link going. We won't know until next month when the next backstory comes.

    Wow, even the Watcher Pony has fallen on hard times.

    All in all, I find this story a bit more middle-of-the-road. I think it struggles that while the Storm King and Celaeno made active decisions, Capper is the victim of life's whims. His sole choice is to escalate to confronting Verko. The strange thing is that while Verko could have turned the tables on them, it's only Chummer's cowardice and selfishness that undoes them. I come away from this story knowing Chummer better than I do Capper. Hopefully that will change with the movie.

    Several fans have pointed out that this comic's depiction contradicts Capper's biography. According to Hasbro.com: Capper, a smooth-talking (and singing) con-artist, was once a swanky aristocrat living the high-life with pride and dignity. After a deal gone wrong with the Storm King left Capper penniless and in a lifelong debt, he now relies on his wit and charm to make ends meet. I plan to wait until the movie to see how this is addressed. If Capper is a smooth talker, he may be lying about his upbringing. 

    But what will you be when you get there?

    Let us address the other thread linking these stories. The misfortune malachite has been a mcguffin in the truest sense. "An object or device in a movie or a book that serves merely as a trigger for the plot." You might wonder at this definition because each character who possess the malachite has suffered some misfortune. Yet all of this seems to be a result of their own choices and attitudes. The Storm King unconsciously encouraged Strife's betrayal. Celaeno chose to do a high-risk, high-reward raid and paid the price. Capper and Chummer had no sudden misfortune until the temptation to leave drove a wedge between them.

    And possibly radioactive!

    The malachite carries the blame for misfortune, but so far I haven't seen anything that says it is the true cause. More than anything, I get the sense that it's blamed for the mistakes others make. In a land of magic, why not divert responsibility to something magical yet inanimate? I don't yet know how the malachite will carry forward in the comic or if it will feature in the movie, but I wouldn't be surprised if the magic it holds has an entirely different meaning. 

    Here, nameless minion!
    My name's Bob.
    Don't sass back to me... um... Bob!

    As a note, I'll be traveling the next several weeks. This means I won't be on hand to do reviews the day of release. I'm not yet sure if another like the Illustrious Q will take over for reviews on those days, or if I'll play some catch up when I return. Either way, I wish you all happy reading and good comics worth your time.

    I'm Silver Quill. Thanks for reading! 

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