• Let's Review: Nightmare Knights #3

    The heist continues! Time to check in on Luna and her Knights and see how badly they screw up they fare.

    Check out the full review after the break with one warning: The House always has spoilers!

    Do you like villains? I hope so, because now's a perfect opportunity to play "Spot the Villain". My favorite test is identifying the Equestria Girls antagonists in pony form while keeping an eye out for those dang Thunder Gremlins. Mixed in with the villains are some references to both My Little Pony and the Marvel comics. There may be some DC references as well that I missed. This is indeed a series deserving multiple read-throughs if only to spy easter eggs.

    The Alicorn Amulet? Trixie,
    are you falling off the wagon?

    Tony Fleecs doesn't feature the same quantity of villain as we've seen in previous issues and instead focuses his energy on some massive clashes.

    The most terrifying weapon of all!

    Okay, that's not the best example but there are some excellent full-page and two-page spreads that feature powerful magic clashing. In fact, those clashes are some of the few panels that don't feature a violet background. The abundance of violet to pink gradients reinforces the casino castle's attempts to create a false atmosphere. You're supposed to feel relaxed and comfortable in this establishment so they can rob you blind or sow chaos whenever Eris and cohorts choose.

    Nice to know that, no matter the dimension, pony guards are useless.

    The color shifts accordingly to action, especially with complementary colors. Blue lightning bolts? Set them against an orange background to make them stand out more and convey the power.

    I wonder if I'll ever see a comic with "Pew! Pew!" as 
    a legitimate sound effect.

    "Power" sets the tone for this issue as we're about to see characters going all-out. Barely within the door, Luna starts to get cold hooves. Not for her own safety, what with her magic stolen, but for the team she committed. Capper's power with words relates more to his teammates than their opponents. He assures Luna, encourages Trixie, and fails to talk his way past Diamond Dogs.

    That is feline profiling and I shan't stand for it!

    It's a curious situation where Capper is the team morale rather than the scammer. Yet he demonstrates an eagerness to steal from the villains, justifying they can use the money to simply buy Luna's power back. I'm still not sure if this is him enjoying being a scammer or being so used to survival tactics that he can't let go.

    Dude is channeling Flim and Flam right now.

    The same can be said for Tempest, whose past continues to prove her greatest liability. She's also the most interesting character to study this issue as she's the reason things start to go wrong. That label could arguably fall on Trixie, who is tempted by the tables. However, Tempest is the one who oversteps her role. She is meant to be the team muscle, but in an effort to eliminate the temptation she draws unneeded attention then throws herself into a battle. This is more a distraction, which is supposed to be Trixie's role.

    Okay, "evil" should not be synonymous with "dumb".

    Without knowledge about Tempest's past, it'd be easy to view her as a hothead itching for a fight, but even then we have a little nugget thanks to a dream. Trapped in a nightmare, Tempest relives her worst moment but with the characters swapped. The Knights and Luna in place of Glitter Drops and Spring Rain, and Eris playing the Ursa Minor's role.

    That's gonna set back her recovery a few decades.

    The key fear here is failure. Everyone is counting on her and Tempest is terrified of what comes next. All of this is self-contained to the issue so you don't have to know everything about Tempest to understand. However, knowing more helps move her actions from fool-hearty to sympathetic. Her history is a combo of fear and anger. It makes sense that she'd go for loud and direct. It breaks the same tension that stealth would exacerbate. Problem is that her plan backfires. It will be interesting to see if she saves herself or gets rescued. Both outcomes have unique meaning and chances for development.

    The next quest:
    The search for Tempest's internal monologue!

    Shifting the focus to Trixie, who is the most impulsive team member. Her ego is in full control, tempting her with promises of power and diverting her when she sees other illusionists. As a funny aside, while Trixie never mentions being the Diamond Dogs' queen in Friends Forever #6; there is a small nod towards Reflections. I won't be talking about this plot point here because it's too much fun to read about. Go witness it for yourself!

    You know not what you've done!

    What I find interesting is that Luna knows how to rein Trixie in better than she does the other Knights. By emphasizing how much they need her, Luna appeals to the part of Trixie most eager to listen and prioritize. Yet Luna seems to genuinely care about Trixie's confidence due to her dreams.

    Nicely done, Luna!

    The individualist side of me is very uncomfortable with Luna's ability to view dreams. After all, these are intensely private matters and not within most people's control. Yet there is a positive aspect in that Luna gets to see pure dreams as well. She may understand ponies' motives better than they, while at the same time being feared for her insight.

    They escaped the explosion,
    but that's still a sick burn!

    In all of this it's easy to overlook Stygian, and not just for his full-mask disguise. Stygian does his best to keep everyone on track but the fact the team is so easily separated drives at a core issue. Stygian learned how to best combine the Pillars' strengths by traveling with them. Due to the time constraints he's only known the Knights for a day. While they might have been the best choices on paper, there are many dynamics undermining his decisions. This isn't a failing on Stygian's part, but one of the many forces working against the team.

    No plan survives the first engagement.

    This midpoint issue is obviously where things are supposed to go wrong so that we can see the Knights rally and triumph. So this issue leans very heavily on what's to come. The Knights are no longer preparing but rather reacting. I'm eager to see how this plays out.

    Think this is an overreaction?
    Just have her play "spin the bottle" with Glitter Drops.

    I'm Silver Quill. Thanks for reading!

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