• Let's Review: Generations #3

    IDW! You tricky devils. Bumping this comic's release up by a week. Well, in honor of the yuletide, I won't be giving this a bah-humbug. Instead, let's talk about the comic!

    Our favorite ponies are at a loss as the agents of Grackle and Dyre turn Ponyville against itself. Let's see how they crack the code. Beware of spoilers, including whether we'll see the promised G1 ponies!

    So we had part one introduce our lead witch antagonists, and part two introduced their S'monies agents. At this stage, our protagnoists are woefully behind on what's going on and thus this issue is devoted to brining them up to speed. That's a difficult order given that the audience is already several steps ahead. Ten, if they remember the G1 movie. This series might be much too linear as walking the audience through the steps before can now foster impatience.

    I find myself filling this wait time by pondering artist Michela Cacciatore and the over-reliance on show poses and expressions. Let's work backwards in terms of the story. Towards the end, we have this image of Applejack preparing to go on an adventure. It's modeled after some of the earliest images posted online.

    Next we have a possessed Twilight, whose running pose matches her charge back in episode two.


    Now move forward 133 episodes to "Buckball Season", which has an expression used to demonstrate Fluttershy's anger.

    I have no knowledge of what happens behind the production of this artwork, so I'm left to wonder how Cacciatore is gathering references from such a far range of episodes. Caccaitore could be a fan and be pulling this from memory, but I have a hard time believing a fan wouldn't have already tried drawing the ponies and show greater familiarity. I find it more likely that Cacciatore has found an image board like Derpibooru and knows how to look up expressions and poses based on the script. There have been cases where a lack of reference leads to a breakdown in structure.

    The flow of action in the above panel is hard to follow. Is Twilight falling to the side or down? Who struck her; the airborn Zecora or Pinkie throwing a vial into the water? Yet let's also look at when Cacciatore tackles something more frightening or familiar. The art on those Shriek Yowls is wonderfully horrifying, as has been any nightmare illusion used so far. And the artwork on the wtiches continues to be some of the strongest art in the story.

    It's unfortunate that Cacciatore's work seems to say that the ponies are a burden or obstacle from playing to the artist's strengths. There are flashes of skill and practice, but not with our equine leads. There's also a loss of detail that can be important. Consider that Sandbar got some markings last issue to show the new teachers' influence.

    That mark is gone this issue. A small detail but one that helps emphasize the growing threat. Instead, Silverstream and Ocellus are now modeling themselves on the new staff, and a meeting with mayor mare furhter confirms a growing animosity within Ponyville. Rather than immediately seeking foul play, Pinkie Pie shares a nugget of wisdom. Instead of seeking whom to blame, what can one do to mend the rift? Granted, she doesn't yet know this is all happening intentionally.

    This leads to some individual development for Violet Shiver, who is offered up as a sacrifice by her fellow S'monies. A brief bit of kindness from Pinkie seems to life Shiver's spirit, even as her inherent malace infects her work. This does play into an idea one can explore in fantasy. Put an absolute "Good" and an absolute "Evil" in the morally-gray world. How long can they remain "pure"?

    We also check in on Grackle and Dyre, who are left responding to the ponies postive countermeasures. Despite their dismissal of "dumb ideas", Grackle has a breakdown that futher shows the messed up state of these kids' lives. This campaign against Equestria's ponies might be the closest they've come to social contact.

    So with hints of change in the air, it's time to get the ponies to be proactive. Twilight and Pinkie seek out Zecora's wisdom, though we should remember this is comic Zecora. The comics have often emphasized a crazier aspect to Zecora. Her experimentation with potions often leads to some thunderous results. I like this aspect and am unsure why they rarely included such an idea in the show.

    This is the slow part of the story as the ponies are discovering what we already know. I suspect Twilight's possession is a means to keep the audience invested as there's a short-term threat.

    This also gives Zecora the idea to cross dimensions to find the source of the foreign magic. So as the issue closes out, we are finally close to the promised crossover. Given that this is My Little Pony I seriously doubt we'll witness the two sides battle as happens in many crossovers. Maybe a funny comparison between parties like Fluttershy and Rosedust. Whatever the case, I think we've cleared a big hurdle with this issue as the true counter-offensive is coming.

    It's difficult to sort my views on this story so far. It's taken a very long time to get to the promised crossover, but there's been some charactization for the angatonists. I can't call it wasted time. The art is mostly based on the show, but there also glimpses of the artist's personal style at play. There's going to be a lot riding on how the story presents the confrontations with both the S'monies and the Witches. Next year should provide an interesting answer.

    I'm Silver Quill. Thanks for reading!

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