• Let's Review: FIENDship is Magic #3

    It seems that April will be a dry month for new comics. A stark contrast against the weather.

    Our look back at FIENDship is Magic continues with a study in sirens. Were there tacos in ancient Equestria? Find out with some other spoilers after the break!

    We're in a funny issue, in more ways that one. While Sombra and Tirek's origin stories could still be integrated into the show, the Siren's backstory has been flat-out contradicted. This story is not at all applicable now. Yet I stick by my assertion that this isn't about what's canon and what's not. Though there's a different challenge here.

    I appreciate these name reminders because often I have to ask,
    "Aria who?"

    This issue is a comedy. It's not meant to explain the Sirens' tragic past or offer an insight into what shaped them. If anything, the less we empathize with them, the better. This issue is meant to draw humor from the displays, and you can tell Agnes Garbowska and Heather Breckel understood that.

    Nothing to see here! Just three sea creatures floating down the street.
    Perfectly normal day!

    Garbowska's artwork is very clean and straight. Building are usually very simple cubes without much personality. Instead, Garbowska relies on statues and pillars to give each land a Roman style to reflect a bygone era. The ponies likewise reflect this timing, with one very fun exception in an easter egg.

    I wonder what a Donna Noble
    pony would look like.

    Where the pages really come alive is during any performance piece, especially after the Sirens invent pop music. I'm unsure how the backgrounds were generated. Likely in something like Photoshop but there's always the possibility of pre-made images. They're meant to remove a sense of physical space, as music can often accomplish.

    Odd that their jewels only become red while activated.
    It would add a little more diversity to their designs.

    There are times where a combination of gray backgrounds and Aria and Sonata's cooler color schemes robs some vitality. Adagio stands out well and that befits the group leader. Yet there's an imbalance between all-out energy and almost none.

    Simpsons did it!

    Because the goal of this story is comedy more than a full origin, we start with the Sirens already serving as a threat. They have no empathy or pity for the ponies already turned against one another. Rather, they're looking to increase their popularity by winning over Canterlot.

    That guy under the statue is probably telling about
    the funny thing that happened on the way to the forum.

    The humor starts in with Canterlot ponies being so elitist that even a mind control song doesn't affect them. There is a nigh-impenetrable shell of entitlement protecting them. Thus the defeated Sirens retreat to a hotel, where inspiration strikes.

    Do you know how hard that is to get out of a mane?

    Adagio's efforts create the newest, most dangerous form of music to date: Pop Music. Starswirl the Bearded immediately sees the threat this recognizes and after complaining about "these darned kids", he sets about a counter-offensive.

    He also doesn't know the owner of that skull on the right. 
    He thinking, "Why the heck did I buy that?"

    It's worth noting that there are elements of each Siren's personality from Rainbow Rocks, but not to the extremes we've witnessed. Aria is willing to question Adagio's plans and challenge them to go further, but her desire to take over as leader is not present. Sonata is still the goof but not nearly so oblivious as in the movie. Adagio seems perfectly happy to be alongside the other two and has a much deeper grudge against the Canterlot ponies who snubbed them.

    Less syllables, please! You're upsetting Sonata.

    It's possible that since they've lived a life of success and comfort thus far, the tension we saw in the movie hasn't yet formed. Yet I feel they've been denied an element that kept their group interesting and made them one of the best Equestria Girls antagonists.

    How old would Celestia and Luna be at this time? 
    I keep picturing Celestia as that bratty teen.

    Starswirl is a much different personality as well. Unlike his show counterpart, this early version is more critical of himself and willing to admit his shortcomings. This does not, however, compel him to seek out help. Instead, it's a three-on-one musical battle and the centerpiece to this story. The entire comic is devoted to this two-page spread.

    Favorite costumes are in the upper-right. Greatest nightmare is rapping Starswirl.

    It is funny. Especially the various costumes and the undermining of the stoic Starswirl. Sadly, it's not enough to make this issue memorable because it's two pages out of a twenty-two page story. Sometimes the numbers just don't add up.

    Wish we had this option on American Idol.

    The resolution features the Sirens' banishment to the human-ish world. One might ask how that's possible since this takes place more than 1,000 years before Twilight and crew. I have this idea that the mirror isn't just a portal through space, but also time. That's why a greater series of events can happen within Equestria while Canterlot High has barely surpassed a year. Such is the realm of headcanon, but it keeps my head from exploding.

    I'll be talking about the definition of a "Monster" with Chrysalis.
    But I think these three qualify as well.

    End of the day, I consider this the weakest entry in FIENDship is Magic. It's not inherently bad but neither is it a stand-out piece. It does draw some smiles from the imagery but it doesn't invoke a response. I don't feel bad for the Sirens or Starswirl. I don't have any strong opinions on what they should or shouldn't have done. The contradictions that are now a part of the show have little impact on this. It's an issue that doesn't leave a mark, which is in some ways worse than being bad.

    Be glad they didn't break out the coconuts!

    That won't be the case next week. If no new comic arises, then it's time to look at an issue that features my personal least-enjoyable character in IDW's lineup.

    And so began the Waifu Wars...

    I'm Silver Quill. Thanks for reading!

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