• Let's Review: G5 #3

    It feels strange to review a comic series in the single digits once again, but here we go!

    It's adventures in dogsitting as Zipp returns home to watch over Cloudpuff. How does this comic stack given the larger narrative? Find out after the break along with spoilers!

    We start off this comic with several factors working against it: a new art style, a continuity error, and the reader's own impatience. Let's start with the art.

    "Okay, we just got our plots kicked by a chaos spirit.
    What do we do for an encore?" 

    Today's comic is both written and drawn by Robin Easter, who previously delivered the Pinkie/Cheese ship in MLP #99. There's a tremendous advantage to having two roles in one as the communictive hurdles don't exist. Plus Easter has some experience drawing our favorite equines from a previous issue. Yet it seems they're aiming for a new look to help differentiate G4 and G5. Normally, ponies tend to feature circular heads to help amplify the cuteness. Easter draws the new generation with oval layut. The end result is a look that I would describe more as "pinched".

    I'm pointing out the flaws, but I also want to encourage people
    to always try new styles and see what works!

    Delving into this new style also leads to some stiffness in both the poses and expressions. There are several occasions where we need to understand that a character is shaking their head or waving a hoof. Not an easy thing to convey in a fixed medium. Easter helps convey this with motion lines yet the poses often feel very static.

    Is this the first case of a pony that is also a furry?
    Easter also uses emotional lines to emphasize a character's mood. Or to convey that a lamp's shine. What we're witnessing is an artist getting used to a new style and using some very overt signs to help convey the idea. If they continues on with My Little Pony I'm betting we'll see an evolution to her work as they becomes more familiar with this style and its characters.

    Is this agreeing or disagreeing?
    You, the viewer, decide!
    Our next hurdle is a continuity glitch in the setup. Last we saw our protagonist ponies, they were trying to disintangle themselves from Discord's parting magic. Cloudpuff's last image was trying to help free Sunny. So as we start this issue we're meant to assume that Sunny & Co. freed themselves, journedy back from Canterlot, and returned Cloudpuff to Zephyr Heights. Now Zipp is summoned to serve as a dog-sitting. This transition would be a bit easier if we witnessed Zipp returning Cloudpuff to Queen Haven before being reminded that she has to stay and care for the airborne pomerainean. In fact, this might have been an effective trap by Queen Haven to get her daughter to take on some responsibility.

    "Unity Summit?" 
    And no one invited Sunny?
    It's very easy to empathize with Zipp because of our final hurdle: impatience. One could easily argue that this issue is meant to be a break. A slow exhale in the wake of Discord's revelations. I could see how many fans would enjoy something quick and light-hearted. I am not one of those fans and I doubt I'm alone. On the first read, it's easy to view this as an unncessary diversion that interrupts a crisis. Every minute brings Discord closer to wiping out magic forever. It's easy to see why Zipp treats this situation with such contempt.

    He won't answer you!
    Yet upon further reading and reflection, I realized that there is an element that could help tie this into the larger narrative. Plus this does a lot to help develop Zipp's character.

    It appears this is not a lesson in delegation.
    Cloudpuff lives a rich, pampered life as the Queen's pet and Zipp seems to resent that lifestyle. Likley fearing that this will be the lifesyle she'll have to endure as a future ruler. Her independence leads her to not only skimp on Cloudpuff's usual treatment, but to reject and possible aid the pup might offer. Zipp could easily combine walking the dog with searching for leads, but instead she leaves Cloudpuff behind. This in spite of the fact that Cloudpuff helped guide them to Canterlot before.

    "Approved" but not "loved"?
    That could mean it just meets a bare minimum center!
    Zipp's search for Discord is clumsy and unfocused. With no leads or understanding, she's relying on dumb luck to favor her. When it doesn't, her frustration exhibits itself with a parting jab at the embodiment of a pampered life without checking on Cloudpuff's wellbeing.

    Substitution no Jutsu!
    Yet we see a different side of Zipp when she discovers Cloudpuff missing the next day. Suddenly, Zipp's sense of responsibility exherts itself. Up to this point, we've seen Zipp resisting being groomed into royalty. This is the first time we've seen her consider failure. She's legitimately afraid that this smaller failure makes her invalid to live up to her mother's hopes. It's an interesting duality at war within Zipp.

    She is just radiating despair...
    or hunger.
    I'm not sure which.
    This all leads us into the means by which this story could tie into the larger narrative. Summoning Hitch's aid, Zipp is much better prepared for this search. She uses her knowledge of Cloudpuff's habits to follow a trail. Luck is still a factor as Hitch find guidance from the local bunny population, but at least Zipp was smart enough to prepare for that possibility by inviting him.

    The "Hitch is Fluttershy's descendant" theory continues to solidify!
    If Zipp can enjoy a moment of reflection, she'll understand why the search for Cloudpuff went better than her search for Discord. She's needs to learn as much as possible about him, his habits, and possible locations to narrow the search. Plus she'll need her friends nearby to offer as much perspective as possible. This story can tie into the larger conflict, but I'm hoping we'll get to see Zipp draw on this experience to help validate this detour.

    You sicken me with your lies!
    Of course, we get a reunion and reconcililation between Zipp and Cloudpuff. I'm not certain that this experience has endeared the two very much. Cloudpuff is still living the pampered life that Zipp fears, yet she did promise to do a better job caring for him. Perhaps Cloudpuff could become a symbol for the care that a Queen must provide to her subjects.

    I'm suddenly remembering Rarity and the Cerberus.
    I wonder how that turned out...
    I think appreciation for this issue is going to shift over time as the larger story concludes. Right now it teeters between relevance and distraction. It is a little break from the larger crisis, but I can't say it's a hugely entertaining detour. I'll be curious to see how this settles as further issues come out.

    Everypony is laughin, so it's a happy ending.
    But about Discord...
    I'll likely be asking the same question next month as Pipp gets to step into the spotlight. Just as we got to see two sides of Zipp this issue, I'm hoping for some good character insight for the Pop Princess. In the meantime, what did you think of this issue? Did you have fun? Were you feeling impatient? Let us know in the comments!
    Even Hitch has to reach quota.

    I'm Silver Quill. Thanks for reading!

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