• Let's Review: Legends of Magic #6

    Feeling a little ho-hum this Wednesday? Let's see if Legends of Magic is the remedy. 

    Find the review after the break, but beware. This review is under quarantine for spoilers.

    This issue presents a certain milestone. It is the last introduction before the "Pillars of Equestria" unite. Yet it also presents a challenge as we've seen a good deal of Mage Meadowbrook before now. How well does this story hold up?

    Doh! You jinxed it!

    Visually, it's quite solid. Brenda Hickey's artwork has been great over the course of this series and doesn't slouch here. If anything, this comic demands a great deal of energy as we witness a ninja-style healer cure hordes of zombie ponies.

    Can any of us say we saw this scenario coming?

    I need a moment to reset my brain. That last sentence had just the right combo of awesome words to cause an overload. 

    How do unicorns judge weight during levitation?

    This comic also demands a great deal of background ponies. In early cases, such as the Canterlot train station, I get the sense that some of these background characters are references to pop culture figures. I'm just too out of touch to recognize which. 

    A mane that distinct screams "reference".
    But I'm coming up blank.

    Later characters are harder to recognize because of their affliction, yet a few times I got the impression Hickey was relying on designs from in the show. One zombie pony bore a strong resemblance to Granny Smith. 

    I think that's how I'd look upon seeing zombies as well.

    Color-wise it's an enjoyable and diverse pallet, but there's one choice I question. To set the horror mood, much of the comic takes place under a dark violet sky with emphasis on colder colors. That is until we see the buildings in Mareidian. They remain a bright, warm brown that offsets the darkened mood. I'm not sure how far they wanted to go into a frightening atmosphere, but the contrast takes away some of the tension.

    She actually needs to use the bathroom.
    In that situation, so would I.

    As to the story, Sunburst has to pack it in and head back to the Crystal Empire. In a nice contrast to her pushy nature in Legends of Magic #4, Starlight is unhappy to see her friend go and argues against his need to leave. 

    I feel the same way about my otaku friends.
    Maybe one day I'll know some info before them.
    But I'm not holding my breath.

    Of course, Sunburst isn't going to miss out on some "light reading". Thus he finally gets to enjoy a story without interruption. 

    The third story featuring Mage Meadowbrook. Between A Health of Information, Friendship is Magic #58, and now this issue, she's had more appearances than any other historical hero short of Starswirl. Which makes a kind of sense. Twilight and co. adventure's aside, usually heroes are needed for rare events. Healers, however, are almost always in demand. 

    I'd want to be a cobalt hue myself.

    I find it interesting that all three stories focus more on her exploits as a healer, though she's a renowned sorceress. How does an Earth Pony earn such a title? 

    Questions for another day as Mage is trying to outrace the elements and stumbles into a seemingly deserted town. The comic tries to draw out the tension as we follow her from town square to inn every step of the way. Yet the narration boxes become intrusive, never letting the scene speak for itself. I again wonder if they were trying more to parody a zombie movie than set the scene, but I would have enjoyed more tension. 

    Kinda wish she'd break the 4th wall here.

    From this point forward the story relies heavily on action, which gives me little to do. It's mostly Mage showing off her evasion prowess and athleticism. But that's something to be witnessed rather than summarized. Instead, I'd rather talk about what's missing from this comic: foils. 

    I'm impressed she can run in that dress.

    Look back at every Legends of Magic issue to date. In each case the lead characters had someone to play off. Celestia and Luna were foils to one another, as Luna became a foil to Mistmane. Flash Magnus had his squadmates and Rockhoof the members of the Mighty Helm. Somnambula encountered foils at each step of her journey, from the prince on down to a disgraced wizard. 

    Bubbly optimist and snarky cynic. Classic.

    Mage does not enjoy a foil, and that makes it harder to highlight her best traits. The comic does state her ability to recognize cause-and-effect as well as her improvisational skills. It also calls attention to the fact she won't abandon the infected ponies no matter what the threat. This all matches with the determination we saw in MLP #58.

    I wonder how willful the mayor was in his ignorance?

    That issue only spent one-and-a-half pages on Mage's history, but it showed her at odds with a town's mayor. Someone who was stubborn and prideful to contrast her keen insight. Mage looked much better for having someone who showed the wrong choices.

    Maybe the narration is her foil?
    But I don't know how they contrast.

    I think Mage would have benefited from one uninfected pony to represent the trappings she overcomes. Her courage in staying could be amplified by having a pony intent on running. Her openness to solutions while another pony is losing hope. It would be an inglorious role, but it would serve a purpose.

    This was probably the best foil.
    Neither is totally right or wrong.

    Though I think this means I should cut the Mighty Helm guys from LoM #2 some slack. They did their role, even if they were annoying.

    Just because they're lousy soldiers
    they can still be fun at parties.

    With Mage's triumph recorded, we snap back to Sunburst and witness him having some kind of panic attack. With all the champions now introduced, we head into the multi-parter that calls these heroes together. I'm looking forward to seeing where this goes. 

    Guess you finally know something she doesn't.

    As to Mage alone, I find this issue is the least involving. That's not to say action over character isn't enjoyable or that it lacks an audience, it's just not my thing. While the other issues allowed the champions to live their virtues, Mage gets swept up in too many action sequences. A moment of introspection or a foil could have given us more a chance to see how she views the world. This isn't helped by the fact that Fim #58 showed both her strengths and weaknesses, stealing some of this issue's opportunity for innovation. 

    I think he's a cousin of that periwinkle pony.
    He's really asking, "Blue?"

    It's a fun read, but it's not the star of the group. To my mind, that remains Rockhoof in issue #2. But there's a question for you all: which has been your favorite Legends of Magic story thus far?

    I'm Silver Quill. Thanks for reading!

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