• Let's Review: Little Fillies #2

    Appearing with neither previews nor hints, this one caught me off-guard! Now's the time to look over this latest adaptation of "Little Women" and see how things fare.

    Catch the full review with plenty of 4th wall humor clippings after the break!


    Last issue I had some wondering over the art style. Was it a nod to the art pieces of the period with only Discord not conforming, or was it a lack of familiarity with the ponies? It wouldn't be the first time the Flash-style animation confused comic artists. Having read this issue, I think it's more of the latter. 


    They stare into my soul
    as I wonder where their chins went.

    Artist Jenna Ayoub is no slouch when it comes to presenting action. In a comic that features characters mostly sitting and talking, Ayoub manages to include strong hugs, martial arts fights, and melodramatic scenese. Yet the biggest weakness is how the ponies' silhouettes tend to remove details. There's very little interior lining to denote the shape of a muzzle or a jaw line. The end result is that while the characters are certainly animate, they also appear very flat. The one exception in all of this is Discord.

    How much do you have to pay a Draconequus to have him fill out all
    those empty seats?

    There is a lot of Discord to reference. Too much, really. He is playing just about every support character not directly linked to the Mane Six. Perhaps its the "draco" in "draconequus" that compels Ayoub to draw Discord with a far more draconic face. The strange thing being that this head shape looks far more three-dimensional than any other character. I have no idea if Ayoub feels more comfortable drawing dragons over ponies, but the styles are very distinct.


    Who says you can't buy friends?

    This single issue tackles chapters six through eight of the original book. One could easily label this section as "Amy March and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day!" and that would come close to matching the melodrama Rarity brings to the role. Yet first we add a small aside as the Marches become closer friends with Laurie and the general Laurence family. Whereas Beth was originally fearful of Mr. Laurence in the original, Fluttershy has no such timidity and gains Mrs. Laurence/Granny Smith's friendship when she takes care of Angel Bunny. Given that Beth is considered so beatific as to be flawless, this is likely the last moment of the spotlight on Fluttershy. Given that I see our yellow pegasus as similarly loving and kind as Beth, I can't get too upset. Though I'm going to start to worry if this series cover the later 30's chapters.


    Use Quick Attack!

    While Jo/Rainbow remains our POV protagonist and Meg/Twilight is her most vocal counterpart, Amy/Rarity gets a chance to deal with the insecurities of childhood and the clash between family members. In the original book, Amy sought to acquire a set of pickled limes. Such things were a treasured treat back then, and her classmates had given her a large amount which she feared she could not reciprocate. So Meg gave her the money to buy some, setting the stage for greater conflict. To help a modern-day audience understand things, writer Megan Brown updates the elements and throws in a healthy-heaping of Watchmen and Batman references. Likely a means to hold the reader's attention. In place of pickled limes, Amy/Rarity is on the hunt for emeralds and steals a magical book from Meg/Twilight to learn her signature gem-finding spell.

    The timin is awkward, but I will never
    lament a salute to Kevin Conroy!

    The consequences of either action lead to the same outcome: a rival of Amy's, Miss Snow, taddles on her to the teacher and thus lands Amy in a very severe punishment. Ms. Snow is depicted by a blonde Cozy Glow while Discord is Amy's teacher. I remain a fan of Discord but this feels like too much of a good thing. Given the wide cast of Friendship is Magic it seems very strange that Discord should fill out 75% of the cast. Perhaps Fancy Pants would have been a better choice for a teacher given Rarity's drive to impress him. Though Rarity is lucky to avoid Amy's fate in that the teacher does not strike Rarity across the hooves.


    School's out forever!

    Neither Amy or Rarity receive much sympathy upon returning home and recounting their ordeals. It doesn't help that she is not invited to attend a Daring Do play with Meg and Jo. Feeling spiteful, Amy does the unthinkable by burning Jo's beloved manuscript; an act that causes a rift between them that only Marmee can counsel to mend. It's a situation that I think many of us can relate to. A sibling broke a toy, deleted a saved file, or did something otherwise intrusive that raised our anger. Likely your parents encouraged/ordered you two to make up even if the anger still boiled. Pinkie uses an exact quote from the book: "Do not let the sun go down upon your anger."


    What is Spike's role in all this?
    I just don't know.

    This is a line directly lifted from Ephesians 4:26-27 that basically states one should not allow anger to fester long and to not allow anger to lead one to do wrong. Clearly Amy has already fallen to this trap and now the challenge resides with Jo. Sadly, this is another instance when the casting for the comic can't provide a 1:1 with the original story's needs.


    These girls are so used to their "mother" that
    days like this don't even register.

    One of the big revelations for Jo was that Marmee also struggled with her anger. From the outside looking in, Marmee is the model of composure, calm, and kindness. While Pinkie is not often prone to anger outside a broken promise, she is too emotionally and physically exhuberant to match Marmee's composure. It might have worked better for Celestia to take the place of the family matriarch. Too late to say, but the dissonance is there.

    I would like to make an entrance like that.
    Floating words and all!

    Jo/Rainbow's anger only abates when Amy falls into a frozen pond, prompting a rescue by Laurie and scaring Jo into a reconilliation. We never get the revelation of Marmee's own struggles. Rather, a heart-to-hear between sisters as they talk about their frustrations. Jo is at a crossroads in her writing, trying to create something new while being inspired by what already exists. Amy feeling like her work and passion goes unappreciated, making her jealous of Jo's boldness.


    I have several questions!

    It's a very heartfelt scene and a nice way to close out the issue. Yet the pacing makes me wonder if this story is really going to try to cover the entire book. Forty-seven chapters and we're only at chapter eight, with some pretty massive plot points looming. I don't know if this comic will only take us a little further into the story or if we're about to advance by breakneck speeds. All I know is that this is a pretty fun read. The artwork is the greatest obstacle to enjoyment, followed by an over-use of Discord and his fourth-wall breaking humor. Thankfully, the ponies get to stand out on their own in their respective roles and I'm still curious to see how they'll adapt the story further.


    When you start arguing with the characters, and they argue back...
    It's time for a vacation.

    I'm Silver Quill. Thanks for reading!

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