• Let's Review: Legends of Magic #9

    Hmm, a high-flying pegasus who might be a menace to your romantic intentions? Where have I seen this before?

    Eh, probably just my imagination. Which is active if nothing else. But I'm not imagining that we have a new comic and thus you will find a review after the break. 

    But be aware, there might be spoilers you and your waifu might want to avoid!

      Though I prefer the cover featuring four characters,
    that white mage Cadance cover is gorgeous!

    There are many ways a quest can fail and some are so epic that they become legends themselves. Go watch Braveheart if you doubt this. Sadly, "Killed by angry bunnies and other woodland critters" will not make it into the legendary hall of fail. It would, at best, make an amusing tale at a tavern. 

    "Hey, I only weigh as much as ninety bunnies!"

    Such is the conundrum our heroes face as this new issue begins. They cannot fail at this critical stage, but "slayer of bunnies, mice, and squirrels" doesn't have a very noble sound. What do to?

    I would like to see Mage Meadowbrook and Zecora 
    have a cauldron-battle!

    Because a great deal of this conflict takes place at dusk within Mage Meadowbrook's home, a majority of the issue features a cooler color scheme. There's a heavy emphasis on blue, which doesn't work so well when two of the three lead characters are a similar shade. That's not to say Rockhoof and Meadowbrook are invisible thanks to varying shades but I find that visually there's not a whole lot that stands out.

    The things that jump out at me in this panel:
    Stygian, the drapes, and Mage's mane.

    That is not to say this issue is lacking in detail. Tony Fleecs once again tackles scenes with a lot of minor parts. Small animals, bottles. There's just the right balance to have the scene look full without distracting from the lead characters. Said characters are wonderfully drawn and match the show closely while still being expressive and unique to Fleecs' style. Because of the coloring, Stygian is usually the stand-out charater.

    "Don't tempt me to battle with headbutting bunnies!"

    Yes, I can call him Stygian now. The game is done. This is the first issue to mention him by name. At this point, folks who haven't yet seen the season 7 finale have no one to blame but themselves. Still, I'm a little sorry to end the mini-game. It was a small bit of fun for these reviews. 

    The headbutting has begun!

    What's not fun is, once again, killer critters. While Meadowbrook works on a cure it's up to Rockhoof to hold the door and Stygian to keep them at bay. In trying to give Stygian options, we learn a little bit more of Meadowbrook's character.

    I think some things are better said than assumed.
    Not killing with fire and acid is one of them.

    Interesting duality in that statement. Meadowbrook is empathetic enough to not want to hurt creatures affected by some kind of fungus mentioned in the last issue. She spells all this out to Stygian, but follows with a kind of passive-aggressive comment that she shouldn't have to give those instructions. To me, this says something about Meadowbrook's difficulty talking with other ponies.

    I rely on this a lot because foolishness and closed minds are some
    of the few things Mage Meadowbrook cannot cure.

    Meadowbrook has a reputation for finding connections and causation that others miss. We've witnessed her explaining her reasoning to other ponies even as she works towards a solution. While patient with ponies like Stygian, there is a sense that she's waiting for everypony to catch up. That can cause some personal frustration, as evidenced by her sigh during her introduction.

    This was not their shining moment.

    I think Meadowbrook struggles with her swift mind and her own patience. She's able to charge ahead but has to slow down and double-check for those who don't see the patterns right away. It speaks to her quality of character that she doesn't insult them, but there's a hint that she's not confident in others' ability to see what, to her, is obvious. 

    Show this panel to a non-MLP fan. 
    See if it breaks their mind.

    We also get some more characterization for Rockhoof, who is drawn by a challenge. He's confident, sometimes boastful, and is easily tempted. Headbutting a bunny really shouldn't be seen as an accomplishment, but when Rockhoof encounters a test against his strength he doesn't hesitate. 

    William Wallace bunny!
    My Braveheart reference is more relevant!

    Stygian is a little different in that he unintentionally makes the situation worse. When helping the Mighty Helm, he had all the needed data and could chart things out. Shove him into a room of multiple bottles with vague labels and it's understandable he makes some mistakes. Thing is, we know from the first issue of this arc and the Shadow Play episodes that he's not quick to forgive himself. If anything, a setback only makes him more critical. 

    "Why can't you read a label that has no text?"
    Because symbols only have meaning if you know the intended message.
    Don't be so hard on yourself, dude!

    We also see him begin to withdraw into himself as the trio prepare to journey. It's safe to assume that he's going to become more reclusive as the group grows. He is an introverted soul and is likely struggling to find a connection. It's easily overlooked at first because there's something else going on: shipping.

    The way to a stallion's heart...

    I made a joke in last issue's banner about shipping Meadowbrook and Rockhoof. Turns out I wasn't alone in this thought. Author Jeremy Whitley even tweeted about the idea.

    This is a rare opportunity to see into the reasons behind a preferred ship. Never been crazy about folks presenting a laundry list of reasons like "they're both blue" or "they're in the same team." Usually I seek an idea behind the romance and I see that here. A hardened warrior and an empathetic healer. Both would benefit from relying upon one another and it's a fun "opposites attract" scenario.

    I can't hear you over the sounds of intensive shipping!

    No idea if the show or comics would pursue the idea, but it's a fun concept. 

    Another perspective offered is Rockhoof's dialog with Grimhoof. This ties into something I've heard from some retired Marine bronies. In the military, the competition is often to see who has it worst. The most uncomfortable lodging. The most demanding training. The more outdated equipment. The worse you have it, the more respect offered. 

    "Who do you think I am?
    Mine is the shovel that will pierce the heavens!"

    Rockhoof and Grimhoof could bond over their similar names, but a verbal brawl is more fun. And so they are friends now because... um... I wasn't in the military, so I'm in the same camp as Mage and Stygian. I am on the outside looking in and thanks to others have some understanding, but I think you have to have lived that life to truly get it. 

    Rockhoof is speaking in the third person.
    Silver Quill finds this enjoyable.

    As a final note, Flash Magnus may be the feature on the cover, but we don't see him until perhaps the very last panel. Much like Meadowbrook's introduction, it seems that the team's newest member appears at the end of one issue only to be fleshed out more in the next. So while the preview cover for issue 10 features Somnambula, I don't expect to see her until the last few pages.

    I look forward to seeing the meaning
     behind those Anubis-like dogs.

    For this issue, I came away seeing a greater emphasis on humor than peril. All the threats in these issues have had some comical element towards them but this one seemed to go further. Perhaps the lighten the mood after two more dangerous issues. It's still a fun read and I will readily recommend this series. Just be aware of a tonal shift and we'll see if that carries forward to next month.

    I'm Silver Quill. Thanks for reading!

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