• Let's Review: Legends of Magic #8


    The quest continues as the Pillars of Equestria start to come together! What does this leg of the journey hold?

    Find out after the break, but beware! This journey goes through the valley of spoilers. That means you can come out the other side feeling sour.

    An interesting fact about this issue: it is the only one so far that does not feature Sunburst. Not a big surprise given that this is the only multi-issue story in the entire series, but it's a funny realization. Speaking of fun, I've decided not to break the trend on our dear Scholar's name. Anyone who has watched the season 7 finale knows it, but this comic is meant to be a lead-in and so the mystery remains. Although that doesn't speak well for the ponies as not one of them ask the Scholar his name.

    He has a name, you know!

    Regardless, I'm going to play along just for fun.

    Tony Fleecs continues his strong showing as he depicts two drastically different locals. Rockhoof's home and Mage Meadowbrook's are almost fire and water. One is solved with strength, the other with wisdom. One is defined by a volcano, one is defined by a swamp. Both locations are visually distinct and Heather Breckel adds a light green atmosphere to the swamp which helps set it apart from the clear skies over Rockhoof's forest.

    I appreciate the wink at tropes.

    The only artistic choice I question is the expressions on the Lumber Bears. Yes, Lumber Bears. Because the only way to escalate from self-repairing predators is to introduce even larger self-repairing predators. If there's ever a group of Bark Falcons, we'll know it's the apocalypse.

    Interesting contrast in the Timber Bears' expressions.
    Before and after!

    Although the Lumber Bears look threatening when attacking, their defeat has some curious expressions. Some look surprised and others afraid. It's odd to show them in such pitiable situations because it almost makes Captain Steela look like the aggressor. An odd choice, but I think it's inspired by some of the comedy we witnessed from the Timber Wolves.

    It's funny, but I just can't take them as seriously.

    We open on the Scholar getting pulled out of the hole from last issue. It's here we get our first heroic introduction. One thing I can never level against this comic is doing things in half measures.

    Could he pay to have a band nearby to play an entrance theme?

    I mentioned in the last LoM review that I was hoping the Pillars wouldn't refuse help to a stranger. I should clarify something. Rockhoof can't help because his home needs him. There's a world of difference between, "I won't help you because you're not one of us" and "I can't help you because my home needs me." I don't think any sane person would expect someone to prioritize a stranger over their neighbors.

    I see they're angling for a solution!

    To the Scholar's credit, he is not timid. He speaks up when he see a solution to the Mighty Helm's dilemma. It's his planning and insight that wins these legends' respect. Yet I keep thinking on his statement from the last issue. "I am no hero."

    The Scholar's got some serious magical flex!

    Speaking of the last issue, there is one question left unaddressed. When the Scholar arrived, the town ponies seemed to ignore him and went about their business in a daze. I don't know if they were too focused on the task or unwilling to acknowledge an outsider. Going by the artwork, I thought they were either stunned or under some kind of spell. Apparently, they were just being rude and so Rockhoof comes off as the more welcoming pony.

    He talks to his shovel, and that's fine.
    It's only a problem if the shovel starts talking back.

    With one hero off the checklist, we transition to a swamp and a little bit of RPG meta. Rockhoof flat-out states that every party needs a healer. I don't know if this is an in-joke or if that was just the policy at the time, but it makes me wonder something. Who amongst the Mane Six would count as the healer? Do they have a white mage?

    There is no white mage!

    Though it's a less-than-legendary start as their first true opponent is a bunny. Yes, all the action thus far has come courtesy of Captain Steela, who might never see Rockhoof again. "Death by bunny" is a lousy way to end a quest outside a Monty Python story, but it's a nice setup for some humor.

    I think we can all recognize this bunny's descendant.

    Plus a nice introduction for Mage Meadowbrook. We even get a reference to the MLP movie. Of course, I am going to take the narcissistic path.

    I intend to own my non-canonisity!
    That's a word now. Don't question it.

    Mage's introduction is more mixed. While Rockhoof was humble and friendly, Mage is too focused on the task at hand to worry about courtesy. This is where a disconnect happens between reader and character. We've seen Rockhoof and the Scholar save a town and prove their mettle. Mage has only seen them fleeing a pack of herbivores. It's understandable why she thinks they won't be much help, but I actually hope we can see a bit of turnabout later on. A lesson in humility.

    To quote Daredevil:
    "Saying 'no offense' doesn't give you 

    permission to say something offensive."

    However, this issue also delivers on something I'd wish for in a previous issue. For Mage Meadowbrook's story, I had wished for a foil to help highlight the way she perceives the world. Son of a gun, we have both Rockhoof and the Scholar fulfilling that role here. Rockhoof is good at studying a situation and finding the immediate answer. Mage's situation is less cut-and-dry, and so divining the solution is not his strength. Pun intended.

    Wow, the Shire's HOA has gotten hostile!

    The Scholar is more observant and able to connect the dots, though not at Mage's speed. He wins some respect by catching on, and so the stage is set for issue 9 with a looming threat.

    I can see why she's Fluttershy's predecessor.

    This issue is really two acts. The solving of Rockhoof's dilemma and setting the stage for Mage's. Both Pillars get to show their strengths again and I'd argue that this is a better showing for Mage than her introductory issue. Yet it's funny to note that the most action-oriented character is Captain Steela. She is the one battling foes head-on and showing that amazing feats aren't limited to just the Pillars. Though for the life of me I still don't know how she sees things out her right side.

    I'd love it if it turned out she was Applejack's ancestor.

    Even the Scholar begins to show he has elements of each hero's abilities. Rockhoof is the physically stronger, but the Scholar has just enough magic muscle to help out. He can follow Mage's thoughts and in doing so bridges a gap that might have kept these heroes separate. I think this story will shape up showing that nopony but the Scholar could make this gathering possible.

    You kiss your mother with that mouth?

    We'll see what's in store next month as another hero joins the roster. I'm Silver Quill, thanks for reading!

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