• Let's Review: MLP #78

    Long delayed but never abandoned, the conclusion to the Cosmos arc is finally here!

    Discord's crazy ex versus the remaining ponies. How are they going to wrap this up?

    Find out the full review, with some spoilers, after the break!

    We've had to wait a while for this conclusion, with many a question left hanging. Chief among them: what the hay are they going to do now?

    And who is going to help me with
    these eye wrinkles?!

    We seen plenty of examples of Andy Price's artwork and his love for fearsome landscapes. Now that Cosmos is both reformed and upgraded with her captives, we get a fresh set of disturbing as Cosmos flexes her power. I'd hoped that Twilight and the other captives would spark a rebellion from within, but their primary appearances in this fight are as extensions of Cosmos' will. It is an odd sense to see well-loved characters linked to the newest villain.

    I've heard of a frog in the throat,
    but a princess? We're getting fairy tales mixed!

    We also get an influx of digital resources. Sometimes it's small like when Price features a previous issue's cover. I've been critical in the past of using digital elements for things like cutie marks. That same criticism applies here. Featuring a cover in digital form does allow for great detail on a small scale, but it also looks alien against the hand-drawn and inked characters.

    Due to the delay, re-reading past issues might not be a bad idea!

    Other instances include digital backgrounds that feature warped patterns. I'm less critical of these instances because the whole point is that Cosmos is assaulting reality. The mismatch of elements enhances the sense that she's attacking more than just the lead characters.

    A true, true friend helps a friend in need!
    By battling an extra-dimensional being!

    One attack on the reader's sensibility is a single page that must be turned on its side. Talks with the Illustrious Q and watching Linkara's reviews have driven home that forcing the reader to re-orient the comic is highly discouraged. It's a singular offense and I do love the panel work itself, but within the larger industry it's not something to encourage.

    No need to point, Applejack.
    I'm sure they see.

    The other fun in this is the characters' reactions, especially those who have no idea what's happening. This story has featured a rhythm as each team fulfilled its quest, but only Discord and Fluttershy are up-to-date. As such, Applejack and company are left mostly demanding understanding.

    Can we get that oath in the show?

    This is where I'd argue that's where Cook's comedy shows best. Without Twilight or Celestia as a guiding force, the ponies have less structure and play off one another more. While we've witnessed them quarrel in pairs, it's rare to see the group rudderless. In these situations, however, it's often that the loudest voice takes charge.

    Except for season 6! And season 8!

    Yep. Pinkie's the pony with the plan. Yet as I watched the ponies and Discord strategize while bantering, a sense of deja vu crept over me. The princesses have been subdued. Equestria is nearly conquered. A being of terrible power is at the point of victory and the few remaining defenders are about to be picked off.

    Oh dear, Rarity.
    You're looking a little green in the gills.

    Then I realized that while we're in a new situation, the scenario echoes of Chaos Theory and Starlight Glimmer's debate with Accord. Except I think this story handles the climax better. My criticism back in Chaos Theory was that Starlight hadn't learned or been enhanced by the group. As a result, it felt like she was being elevated at the other ponies' expense. That doesn't happen here.

    I think Cosmos may have a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

    Let's start with Discord, who is arguably the main character. A majority of his interactions have been with Fluttershy, just like the show. Yet we've also had the benefit of past issues showing him befriending the Cutie Mark Crusaders and wrestling with his new relations. This hasn't been an easy journey for him because for a time he thought this went against his nature. Yet this is a moment where he firmly declares himself on the ponies' side. He also breaks free of the fear that's been making him run from Cosmos.

    I'd run from that.

    While the other ponies have been in more comedic roles, they do contribute as they each help reduce Cosmos' power. Unlike in Chaos Theory, they each accomplish a goal before being taken out. So it feels like each plays a part towards victory.

    "That's my secret, Rarity.
    I'm always hungry."

    I do wish that the princesses could have helped in this fight, but the consolation is that Celestia and Luna's past actions did help set the stage. Doesn't make their absence less frustrating but a constant theme in Friendship is Magic is that they laid the foundation for the Mane Six to build upon.

    Celestia had great caution back in the day.
    I wonder why Twilight couldn't sense the same danger?

    Though my track record with predicting this story continues to be 0 for 3. The ladybug prediction was way off. As was the rebellion from within. Now we also get another revelation. Cosmos does not consider herself a being of chaos, but of malice.

    Andy Price once again shows off his love of Star Trek.
    He's referencing a malignant entity that fed on pain and misery.

    This is a strange revelation because while it can fit, she's done very little to spread malice amongst ponies. It seems in FiM that a character representing a philosophy or emotion often seeks to spread that influence. Cadance spreads love. Chrysalis spreads conflict. Discord stirs Chaos. I don't think Cosmos has tried to turn anypony against the other outside of her mind-controlled hostages. She does reference past villains, but I think she's pulling that imagery from her captives' memories. It's not like Cosmos can claim she drove them all to evil.

    This is what she was thinking while 
    Nightmare Moon first attacked.

    Much as I want to talk about the ending, that would be a disservice. Folks have been patient for this finale and so I've decided to hold off. Normally, I would do an arc-wide review on Thursday. Yet the next Spirit of the Forest won't be out until the 26th and issue 79 will be out on July 3rd. Plus, I must prepare for MLP-MSP F this weekend! I'd say next Wednesday gives folks enough time to catch the full ending. Come back next week for the full Cosmos Arc review!

    Or she'll show you what malice really is.
    I'm not totally sure.

    For this issue, I think the finale is earned while not totally clean. It's worth a read and I enjoyed the battle along with its resolution. The new information on Cosmos' character does little to change my view of her. She is powerful, but not terribly deep. Her true role is a foil for Discord and to show how his view on the ponies has changed. More on that next week.

    Turns out last issue had an important plot point!

    I'm Silver Quill. Thanks for reading!

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