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Comic Book: My Little Pony Friends Forever

Variant cover for Issue #1 drawn by Andy Price

A My Little Pony series from IDW Publishing based on Friendship is Magic, and part of the overall My Little Pony G4 universe. Friends Forever is the second spin-off monthly comic series from the main pony comic, and replacing the limited-run micro-series. As opposed to the micro-series where stories were focused on a single character, Friends Forever will feature one-issue stories based on pairing the various characters, including those from the Mane 6, background characters, and other fan-favorites. According to editor Bobby Curnow, this gives them space to play around more, and more potential for future one-off stories while leaving the more serial stories to the main comic. It will feature a similar revolving writer and artist.

Tropes applying to Individual Issues:

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    Issue #1: The Pie's the Limit (Pinkie Pie and Applejack) 
Written by Alex de Campi, Art by Carla Speed McNeil

Pinkie Pie is entering the Equestria Super Chef Championship against other bakers in Equestria, but attempts to mentally cram as many recipes she can before going there. Meanwhile, Applejack is delivering a pie for Granny Smith as part of the backstage catering for the event. As the show starts, AJ is mistaken for one of the entrants in the show, Marine Sandwich, who tries to take her proper spot but is kicked off stage, and she vows to get revenge. In the first round, where the contestants are judged on a pre-made dish, Pinkie realizes she forgot to bring anything in her haste to remember her recipes, while AJ wins thanks to the pie she brought.

During intermission, Pinkie and AJ meet with another competitor, Toffee Truffle, who is trying to win the prize money to reopen a restaurant in Dodge City, and both Pinkie and AJ agree to do their worst to allow Toffee to win. Despite using food from the garbage to make up the desserts for the next round, Pinkie still manages to win. Before the final round, Toffee tells them she appreciates their help but she'd rather compete fair and square.

The final round has the competitors make their favorite food; AJ presents a simple apple, while Pinkie produces a number of pies with which she begins to throw around the stage, neither which impress the judges. Toffee's dessert, however, has impressed them but before they can announce the winners, Marine bursts in with a fondant gun, freezing many of the competitors and crowd. Toffee and Pinkie use Toffee's sticky dessert and a portable party cannon to clog up Marine's gun, stopping her madness. The judges award Toffee the grand prize for both a tasty and practical dessert, with Pinkie and AJ happy for her success.

  • Abnormal Ammo: Marine Sandwich produces a weapon that shoots fondant, which traps those it hits.
  • And I Must Scream: Parodied. Marine Sandhich rants about how she'll trap everypony in her icing forever, and the ponies she "freezes" all bear pretty shocked expressions (including Marine herself, when the frosting gun backfires)...and then when Marine is defeated, Pinkie easily frees everypony...by eating the icing. She even says it tasted good!
  • Circle of Shame: After Pinkie Pie succumbs to performance anxiety, costing her the first round of the contest, she imagines all the baking ingredients laughing at her.
  • Continuity Nod: Pinkie produces a Z&R Mark 4 portable party cannon from her hair Hammerspace. The Pinkie microseries comic identified her normal party cannon as a Z&R Mark 3.
  • Covers Always Lie: One of the covers have AJ and Pinkie apparently going against each other in the competition. However, in the story, AJ not only is not opposing Pinkie in any way, but she wasn't supposed to be in the competition in the first place.
  • Flat "What.": Applejack to a Pinky and the Brain Shout-Out.
  • Exactly What I Aimed At: Pinkie and Toffee fire a party cannon full of pastries at Marine Sandwich, and seemingly miss... except they actually meant to clog up her frosting gun, causing it to self-destruct and trap her in the icing.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Marine Sandwich gets "frozen" in her own icing when her gun explodes.
  • Large Ham: Everyone, as normal. Applejack and Toffee Truffle stand out for being fairly normal.
  • Large Ham Announcer: The announcer at the Equestria Super Chef Competition, whose cutie mark is literally a large ham.
  • Mad Artist: Marine Sandwich is a "food performance artist" who seems to be a bit unhinged. She goes berserk when she thinks Applejack deliberately impersonated her, and at the climax attacks the contest with a frosting gun.
    • Blade Sparxx is clearly a pyromaniac masquerading as a cook.
  • Mistaken for Special Guest: Applejack gets roped into the contest after being mistaken for one of the contestants.
  • Palette Swap: Take Fluttershy and swap out all the yellows and pinks for lots and lots of gray and you've got Marine Sandwich.
    • Summer Van Der Hoof looks a lot like her too. She's even a fairly similar color.
  • Poor Communication Kills: If the staff had actually listened to Applejack, they could have avoided Marine's rampage.
  • Seen It All: Vermouth Roux suffers from this so badly that she approves of Pinkie's garbage coated pickles just because they're actually something different and exiting.
  • Shout-Out: Evan Dorkin's Milk and Cheese make a cameo in Pinkie's imagined baked goods ridicule panel.
  • The Comically Serious: Vermouth Roux is a female Sam the Eagle, totally not approving of this silliness and taking very strange things at face value.
  • Wide Eyes and Shrunken Irises / Oh, Crap: This is Marine Sandwhich's reaction when she realizes her frosting gun is about to explode. It's literally frozen on her face afterwards.

    Issue #2: CMC And Discord 
Written by Jeremy Whitley, Art by Tony Fleecs, Coloring by Lauren Perry

The CMC try to plan how they will try to get their cutie marks but find they have exhausted their own list of ideas. They hear Discord singing outside, where he claims he had been given permission by Applejack, as part of his amended ways, to try to help with creating flavored apples in the orchard. The CMC realize that Discord might have some novel ideas for them to try to get their cutie mark and get him to help them. Discord uses his magic to warp reality to put the CMC in a number of different scenarios, including one case which temporarily involves Spike and Angel Bunny. When Discord shifts to another reality, Spike and Angel find themselves ejected back into Sweet Apple Acres, where a reality bubble has formed around where the CMC and Discord are. They race back to town to warn the others.

Meanwhile, while the CMC try in earnest at each new reality to get their cutie mark, they fail. Discord, slowly becoming annoyed with the trio, continues to invent new scenarios for them to try, unaware that the reality bubble is growing larger on the outside and starting to consume parts of Ponyville, with the Mane 6 trying to stop it. As the scenarios continue to get more contrived and Discord's patience with the CMC wears thin, the CMC comment to Discord that despite not being successful at getting their cutie marks, they really appreciate the help he's been given them and offer to make him an honorary member of the CMC. Discord is touched by their offer, dispelling the reality bubble and returning everything to normal, apologizing to the Mane 6 as being unaware of the effect of his magic. As the ponies return to their normal life, Celestia appears and reminds Discord how good it can feel to help others.

  • Are You Pondering What I'm Pondering?: Asked by Apple Bloom to the others, with Scootaloo giving the non-sequitur reply and Sweetie Belle putting her own spin on it.
    Apple Bloom: Are you girls thinking what I'm thinking?
    Scootaloo: You bet! But do you really think I could hang glide onto my scooter?
    Sweetie Belle: I didn't know we were supposed to be thinking. Can you stop so i can catch up?
  • Batman Gambit: Discord knows exactly what strings to pull to bring the CMC into his trickery.
  • Call Back:
    • Discord does the "judges's table" joke again, triplicating himself for the gag after putting the CMC into a figure skating contest.
  • Continuity Nod: Per this interview, post-"Keep Calm and Flutter On" reformed Discord from season 3.
    • During the football game attempt, the CMC compete against a surprised Spike and Angel as well as Fluttershy's bear and one of the Cloud Gremlins from the Rainbow Dash microseries comic.
    • As part of a The Lord of the Rings nod, Star Swirl the Bearded is used in place of Gandalf.
    • One scenario puts the CMC into playing "Oubliettes and Ogres", the Dungeons & Dragons game played by Shining Armor and friends in Issues #11-12 of the main comic series.
  • Freudian Excuse: Implied for Discord—when Sweetie Belle points out that not having her cutie mark makes her (and the other Crusaders, for that matter) feel like they don't belong anywhere, and no one really understands them; the chaos spirit admits that he knows what that feels like. This seems to add more to the little that's known about him. Him never having a friend before was probably due to him standing out like this. It also seems to imply that Discord hasn't been around other draconequui.
  • Good Feels Good: Discord admits he's never been part of a club before at the issue's end and he enjoys it. Even if he doesn't admit it around Celestia.
  • Hidden Depths: Near the end of the issue, Sweetie Belle gives a rather mature explanation for why she and her fellow Cutie Mark Crusaders are so desperate to find their special talent—they feel like they're alienated from everyone else, and no one understands them.
  • Licked by the Dog: Discord. Despite the mayhem caused during his efforts to help the CMC find their cutie marks, Sweetie Belle genuinely thanks him for trying, and Scootaloo gives him a hug. Both times, he's visibly moved by the displays of gratitude and friendship.
  • Noodle Incident: Implied by the number of different attempts the CMC have made for getting their cutie marks, but include specifically previous attempts at lion taming and firefighting.
  • Pet the Dog: Even if he had mischievous intentions, Discord genuinely used his powers to try and help the Cutie Mark Crusaders find their cutie marks. The backlash of his reality bubble raising havoc in Ponyville was just a side-effect. He even apologizes to Twilight for that!
  • Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: Discord is confident he'll be able to think outside the box enough to let the CMC try something they've never thought of to get their cutie marks. Cue his mounting frustration when it turns out that they've already tried many of the scenarios that he comes up with.

    Issue #3: Princess Celestia And Spike 
Written by Ted Anderson, Art by Agnes Garbowska

Spike seeks help from Princess Celestia when picking out a birthday present for Twilight, noting that her old telescope is wearing out. Celestia's astronomy adviser, Starry Eyed, can make one but he notes they need crystals for lens, only available on a distant mountain. To Spike's surprise, Celestia cancels her appointments for the day and goes to accompany Spike to get the crystals.

En route, Celestia notes she's not been able to spend much time with Spike since he hatched, but as they talk, the two are set on by rock lobsters that cage the two. Spike complains about not being an adventurer, with Twilight and the others overshadowing him when they go on their own, but Celestia assures him that she herself is not an adventurer too, but instead inspires others to do their best. This gives Spike the idea to show the rock lobsters that dragons eat rocks, and the lobsters quickly let them go, promising they were only holding them for ransom money.

They continue to the crystal mountain and Spike sniffs out the perfect crystals for the lens. As they leave, a volcano on the mountain erupts. Spike drops the crystals into the lava flow but jumps in to rescue them, with Celestia helping to catch him before he falls over a lava-fall. Fleeing a fireball, they get trapped in a cave with a large boulder blocking the exit, and though Spike tries to push it aside, Celestia knows he's far too weak and she blasts the boulder away; she notes to Spike that sometimes, the teacher needs to help the student in more difficult problems. They return safely to Canterlot and Starry Eyed completes the new telescope. Twilight is thrilled with Spike's gift, and Spike receives a letter from Celestia which notes that she felt their time together was very meaningful and considers herself Spike's friend forever.

  • All-Powerful Bystander: Invoked. The comic finally addresses why Princess Celestia doesn't handle many of the situations the Mane Six end up having to deal with. note 
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Spike's list of the bullies the Mane 6 have defeated on adventures includes things like manticores, changelings, dragons, and bad manners.
  • Character Development: Probably the most detail we've been given on Celestia as Equestria's leader, and shows that she rather be the All-Powerful Bystander, and as a Sink-or-Swim Mentor hoping that her students can surpass her.
  • Continuity Nod: A representative from Apploosa appears to provide census results.
    • Spike, in complaining about being the sidekick to the adventures the Mane 6 have, calls back to the Manticore (from "Friendship is Magic, Part 2"), Changelings ("A Canterlot Wedding"), adult dragons ("Dragonshy"), teen dragons ("Dragon Quest"), the hydra ("Feeling Pinkie Keen"), and nightmares ("Friendship is Magic, Part 2")
    • Dragons are immune to lava, as previously shown in "Dragon Quest".
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: Celestia's "Princess" status means little to the rock lobsters that capture the pair.
  • Lonely at the Top: Celestia confesses to Spike that she often wishes she could join Twilight and friends on their adventures, but her duties as Princess of Equestria never allow her to do anything she really wants.
  • Mugging the Monster: Double Subverted. The Rock Lobsters kidnap Celestia and Spike with little fuss. Celestia's shown enough power to fry them on the spot, but she's content to languish behind the bars of a Bamboo Prison as long as Spike isn't injured. However, Spike then points out that as a dragon, he can eat his way out the prison (which he demonstrates), and then reminds the Rock Lobsters how dragons also eat rocks, ensuring a swift release.
  • Mythology Gag: One of Celestia's agenda items is to prepare for the seapony delegation.
  • Noodle Incident: Spike mentions how Twilight accidentally turned all of Ponyville upside down for a few hours, while Celestia is reminded when Twilight accidently turned her class - including herself - into palm trees.
  • Remembered I Could Fly: This is the first time that a writer makes Spike purposely use his dragon skills (his powerful jaws, indestructible teeth and his ability to swim on magma) to correctly solve his problems.
  • Shown Their Work: The three rock lobsters are named Iggy, Metty, and Seddy; these three names are often used as a mnemonic for the three basic types of rock, Igneous, Metamorphic, and Sedimentary respectively.
    • And indeed, Iggy is a smooth basalt black, Seddy is striped like a stratified bedding, and Metty is covered with swirled foliations.
  • Sink-or-Swim Mentor: Subverted. Princess Celestia confesses that she shows shades of this trope, letting Twilight learn by handling dangerous situations that Celestia herself could have handled on their own. However, as evidenced when rescuing Spike, Celestia steps in immediately when the student is actually about to drown.

    Issue #4: Twilight Sparkle and Shining Armor 
Written by Rob Anderson, Drawn by Amy Mebberson, Colored by Heather Breckel.

Twilight is preparing to visit Shining Armor in the Crystal Empire, reminiscing about their youth and how they would play "monster hunters". When she arrives there, she finds Shining struggling to keep up with the endless discussions Lexicon and other advisers have brought to him with Princess Cadance currently away from the castle, and Shining apologizes to Twilight that he can't spend much time at the moment. That evening, one of Twilight's books is taken, and she finds from Lexicon that this has been happening frequently and the rest of the staff believes a ghost in the castle is at work. When Shining finds out what is going on, he and Twilight agree to find out the truth behind this "ghost", reliving their "monster hunter" game of the past.

Finding a secret passage in the castle, the two explore an old cave system under the castle, with several traps that Shining presumes were placed by King Sombra. They eventually come across the "ghost", a crystal bard creature crying to itself and surrounded by the stolen books. The two find the creature is far from dangerous, and the crystal bard explains that it had been captured by King Sombra during his reign, forcing the bard to read out of the books. One day, the bard had been able to escape into the caves, and Sombra had set up the various traps they saw to try to recapture the creature, but the creature figured out how to sidestep these traps to go and obtain books to read. Twilight and Shining tell the creature that Sombra has long since been defeated and it has nothing to fear now, and realizing that the creature is well versed with the books, offer it a position as the castle's librarian. Shining and Twilight happily finish off her visit in peace.

  • Achievements in Ignorance: Lexicon manages to walk through a trap filled cave unharmed while his glasses are broken, thinking he's heading to his room.
  • Awesomeness by Analysis: Twilight and Shining Armor memorized their "Monster-pedia" to the point that they can remember the precise page numbers of the various entries.
  • Bigger Bad: The entire conflict is pretty much Sombra's fault, but he's too busy being dead to participate.
  • Blind Without 'Em: Lexicon is near blind without his glasses, and manages to wander through a trap-filled cave thinking he's heading to his bedroom when they're broken.
    • Even with his glasses, his eyesight isn't very good. Heck, he thought Twilight was Celestia! Besides both being alicorns, they don't look even remotely similar (Celestia being white as opposed to Twilight's purple, as well as being a lot taller). Shining lampshades this, asking Lex if he'd gotten his eyes checked again like he promised.
  • Call Back: Twilight mentions meeting a cave troll, events from Issue #2 of the main comic series.
    • Twilight and Spike mention Oubliettes and Orges, the in-universe tabletop role-playing game introduced in main series #11-12, the Shining Armor/Cadance story. It even calls out to the two-page short in Issue #11 that suggested Twilight played along with Shining and his friends when they were younger.
    • Crystal berries, tiny ewes and flugelhorns are brought up again.
  • Character Development: Arguably, we learn a bit more about King Sombra from this story in the short flashbacks than we did in the two-parter featuring him, in that he was egotistical and a well-educated tyrant. And that he was a bit stinky...
  • The Chains of Commanding: Shining is definitely feeling the chains.
  • Continuity Nod: As noted by the solicitation, this is the first comic of any of the series to take place in the Crystal Empire.
    • Shining Armor frequently refers to Twilight as "Twylie!"
    • Sombra's attention to setting traps as he did to protect the Crystal Heart is re-enforced by his attempts to trap the Crystal Bard.
  • Covers Always Lie: The staircase featured on the special subscription cover is filled with fire and frickin' laser beams; in the comic proper, it's the only part of the secret passage that doesn't have traps in it.
  • Mooks: A flashback confirms the fanon that Sombra had pony soldiers.
  • More Hero Than Thou/Who Will Bell the Cat?: Twilight and Shining in a flashback, trying to decide which of the "brave monster hunters" be the first to enter the damp, dark cave deep in the forest. Later, in the present day, they laugh it off and step inside together.
  • Our Ghosts Are Different: The crystal bard is only called a ghost.
  • Quip to Black:
    Twilight (to Lexicon): You aren't scared of ghosts?
    Lexicon: Scared or not, something is stealing books...
    (next panel)
    Lexicon (with sudden turn of head): And they're overdue.
  • Sadly Mythtaken: In-universe, the crystal bard is referred to as a crystal ghost in the Monster-pedia.
  • Skewed Priorities: One of the ponies at Shining's meeting is really focused on flugelhorns, despite there being more serious issues.

    Issue #5: Fluttershy and Zecora 
Written by Thomas Zahler, Art by Tony Fleecs

Fluttershy wakes up one day to find that all her animal friends can talk to her in normal, pony-based language instead of chirps and squeaks. When she tries to explain this to Rarity, her friend just passes it off as a sign of being too tired. Fearing she is losing her senses, she goes to Zecora to see if she knows anything. The zebra runs Fluttershy through a number of tests, mostly to verify that she herself hasn't been charmed or magicked. Zecora brings in a raccoon to try to have it "speak" to Fluttershy, but the critter stays silent, and Zecora starts to wonder if Fluttershy is going crazy.

While Zecora tends to something in a different room, the raccoon speaks up and says he needs to get to some planned event and leaves, with Fluttershy giving chase. When Zecora finds Fluttershy absent, she brings in two wandering cats and interrogates them - and then forces them through a comedy routine - eventually discovering that they can talk, but were told only to talk to Fluttershy by an entity they can't reveal. Zecora heads off to find Fluttershy.

Meanwhile, Fluttershy has followed the raccoon back to a large gathering of animals, lead by a very talkative Angel Bunny. By the time Zecora arrives, she discovers that the animals have all set up a giant tea party for Fluttershy, and are anxious to hear more of her adventure stories. While Fluttershy is having fun, she realizes that this is still unnatural, and prompted by Zecora, determines the true culprit: Discord. The Spirit of Chaos appears, saying this was all a gift for Fluttershy for being good friends. Fluttershy, though still a bit distraught on the suddenness of the gift, thanks Discord and goes back to talking to her animals. Zecora, having a feeling Discord was behind it, reminds him he'll have to turn the animals back to normal, still wary of his mischievous ways. Discord promises and admits that this was all in hopes of helping to keep his friendship with Fluttershy in his path of reformation.

  • Bait and Switch: The attitudes of the animals hinted that they were planning something sinister. Turns out they were throwing Fluttershy a surprise party.
  • Batman Gambit: Zecora starts a comedy routine on the two cats she grabbed, then pretends to forget the punchline of a joke, leading to one of the cats bursting out the answer in frustration.
  • Blade on a Stick: Zecora's Jaffa Stick, a tribal-esque spear. How she plans on using that to solve Fluttershy's problems is a mystery.
  • Call Back: A reformed Discord appears again.
  • Continuity Nod: The animals make mention of Fluttershy's adventures in the "Crystal Kingdom".
  • Character Development: For Discord, we learn that he sees his path to redemption as being through maintaining his friendship with Fluttershy. Given this came out after the Season 4 finale, in which the friendship between Discord and Fluttershy is tested, gives Discord's motivation here a much more poignant meaning.
  • G-Rated Drug: Zecora uses catnip as a bribe to two cats to get them to spill the beans.
  • Hypnotic Eyes: Zecora gets these during one of her tests.
  • Literal-Minded: Fluttershy during Zecora's tests to try and help the pegasus figure out what's going on.
    • When Zecora tries to do an Inkblot Test, Fluttershy replies that she sees ink.
    • When the zebra asks Fluttershy to guess what shape is on the card she's holding, she guesses card-shaped.
  • Off Model: Discord looks a little odd, especially the panda eyes.
  • Parental Bonus: One of Zecora's tests is a sobriety test.
  • Pet the Dog: The animals suddenly being able to talk was a well-meaning gift from Discord to his friend.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Zecora, as usual. Lampshaded by both Fluttershy and Discord.
  • Shown Their Work: Zecora refers to catnip as Nepeta at one point, and indeed, that's the scientific name for the genus of plants to which the species of catnip belong.
  • Snark-to-Snark Combat: Discord can be pretty snarky on his own. Putting him in the same room as Zecora, however, leads to some fun times.
  • Suddenly Voiced: All the animals can suddenly talk to Fluttershy.
  • Talking Animal: While the show implied that she had at least a base understanding of their languages, the animals becoming Suddenly Voiced and able to speak to Fluttershy in a language everypony can understand is new.
  • Unexpected Character: Being an Fluttershy/Zecora pairing, the sudden appearance of Discord, and more about his reformation post-"Keep Calm and Flutter On", came as a surprise.

    Issue #6: Rainbow Dash and Trixie 
Written by Thomas Zahler, Art by Agnes Garbowska

Rainbow Dash receives a message to come perform at a distant kingdom, and she eagerly takes off despite the warnings of her friends. She is surprised to find that the kingdom is one run by Diamond Dogs, though much more refined than the trio she had met before. Rainbow is taken to their new queen that had sent for her - Trixie. After dismissing her staff-in-waiting, Trixie anxiously begs Rainbow for help, as she only became queen after the Diamond Dogs found her looking for prop jewels in a mud pit believing that she was gifted in dousing for gems. Though initially thrilled to be treated as royalty, the Diamond Dogs won't let her leave, hoping Rainbow can help her out before they find she really can't douse for gems.

Rainbow tries the straight-forward route - flying Trixie out of the kingdom - but they find her crown is really a collar that magically prevents her from leaving. Rainbow manages to coax information from some of the Dogs that they've gone through a lot of rulers and the collar they gave Trixie will keep her in only as long as they believe in her abilities. Rainbow and Trixie scheme a plan to weaken the trust the Dogs have in Trixie - as Rainbow performs an aerial show for the gathered kingdom, Trixie suggests that they give Rainbow the entire treasury of gems as respect. The Dogs begin to doubt Trixie, long enough for Rainbow Dash to pull off a Sonic Rainboom and in its wake, fly Trixie off and leaving the collar behind. Trixie thanks Rainbow for her help and promises not to get into any similar jams.

  • 0% Approval Rating: It turns out that the only way to get the crown off is to invoke this and make it so that the Diamond Dogs don't want Trixie as their Queen anymore by making them lose faith in her.
  • Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Trixie for Rainbow's help escaping.
  • Batman Gambit: Trixie called Rainbow Dash to perform at the party because she wasn't sure the pegasus would come help her if asked, but knew she'd come if her ego was appealed to.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Trixie enjoys being Queen at first, but it loses its appeal when she realizes that she's been Kicked Upstairs and isn't allowed to leave.
  • Call Back: The kingdom is called Dimondia, the kingdom of the Diamond Dogs.
  • Character Development: Trixie is still a Large Ham, but she isn't afraid to ask Rainbow to help, and drops her Third-Person Person act when she's alone with Rainbow Dash. She also works surprisingly well with Rainbow Dash and is quick to compliment her for her part in the plan.
  • Continuity Nod: The events of "A Dog and Pony Show" are explicitly discussed, with the more "civilized" Diamond Dogs having long kicked out the three, Rover, Fido, and Spot, that tormented Rarity.
  • Dogs Are Dumb: Civilized or not, these Diamond Dogs still aren't very bright. A good portion of them are illiterate and they easily fall for Trixie's Hurricane of Excuses.
  • Drama Queen: Trixie's just as bad as Rarity.
  • Gilded Cage: The Diamond Dogs fall for Trixie's bragging and make her the queen of their kingdom. She relishes in her new position...until she realizes that not only is she not allowed to leave, she cannot leave at all because the crown she wears is enchanted specifically to keep her from leaving and cannot be taken off normally.
  • Hidden Depths: A few Diamond Dogs have surprisingly varied vocabulary. One moment, they'll be talking about how half of them can't even read, the next moment they're talking about how executive power is derived from the people.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Trixie got herself into this whole mess with her usual bragging.
  • Hurricane of Excuses: What essentially kept Trixie from having to reveal that she can't find gems. These include anything from "The stars are out of alignment" to "I don't work on Sundays". It helps that the Diamond Dogs are dumb enough to fall for them every time.
  • My Species Doth Protest Too Much: Jim tells Rainbow that the "A Dog and Pony Show" Dogs were rougher than these dogs, and were kicked out of the pack a while back.
  • No Kill Like Overkill: Part of the plan is for Trixie to rile up the Diamond Dogs so that they don't accept her as their queen anymore which will disable crown. The problem is that she riles them a little too well and keeps going even as the dogs form an angry mob. It's probably a good thing Rainbow got her out of there when she did.
  • Restraining Bolt: Trixie's crown, which prevents her from leaving. It was created specifically because their previous rulers quickly left not long after being recognized by the Diamond Dogs.
  • Summaries Always Lie: The summary claims that Trixie has a hidden agenda, and that Rainbow Dash might not want to help her once she finds out. Trixie doesn't. She genuinely just wants to escape, simple as that.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Trixie's story of how she ended up as Queen, as expected of her Large Ham nature. Luckily, we get to see what really happened.
    Trixie's narration: I was bearing the situation with my usual grace and poise, of course.
    Trixie: (In her Flashback) Why? Why do these things always happen to me?!

    Issue # 7 Princess Luna and Pinkie Pie 
Written by Jeremy Whitley, drawn by Tony Fleecs, colored by Heather Breckel

The annual Chuckle-lot event, instituted by Princess Celestia during Nightmare Moon's banishment to help raise the morale of her subjects, is coming up soon, and Princess Luna, still trying to acclimate to normal life, worries she is not funny enough to participate. She first turns to Twilight Sparkle, but Twilight's by-the-books lessons on humor bore Luna. Twilight instead suggests going to Pinkie Pie. Pinkie is only glad to help, and tries to help teach Luna, first by the aspects of physical comedy and slapstick, and then helping to show her how to do practical jokes on the various groups at Canterlot.

However, with the Chuckle-lot event the next day, Luna still doesn't have anything for the event, too worried about being laughed at herself as she tries to upstage Celestia. Pinkie reminds her that being funny is not just about making others laugh but being able to laugh at yourself, as well as being oneself. Pinkie and Twilight attend the event the next day and Celestia is disappointed to announce that Luna would not be attending. Luna suddenly appears, and offers a gift to her sister. Celestia opens it and is splatted in the face with a cream pie. Pinkie finds several other presents at the event are also cream pies, and a pie fight soon breaks out. Luna trips up in the pie filling on stage and crashes into her sister, and realizes the humor of the situation, leading off a round of laughter from the entire audience.

  • Always Someone Better: Part of Luna's problem is that she sees herself as inferior to Celestia and she wants to best Celestia in the Chuckle-Lot without losing the respect of their subjects.
  • Be Yourself: Ultimately, the aesop. Pinkie tells her that if she had stopped trying to compare herself to her sister and be herself, she wouldn't need anypony else to teach her how to have fun. Luckily, Luna heeds Pinkie's words in the end.
  • Brick Joke: Pinkie demonstrates several practical jokes, but a pie catapult doesn't go off. Until a few pages later when Luna walks in front of it, which then causes her to stumble into all the other pranks.
    • Pinkie calls Luna Nightmare Moon again.
  • Call Back: Pinkie's inanimate friends from "Party of One" return.
  • The Cameo: Several IDW-specific ponies reappear: Flax Seed and Wheat Grass from the Rarity micro, the PNN newspony and one of the Cloud Gremlins (or at least a costume of him) from the Rainbow Dash micro, and Praiser Pan from the Fluttershy micro, and Tiberus, Luna's pet possum, from her micro.
  • The Comically Serious: Twilight teaching about humor in the most dry and boring way possible. Later, Luna realizes this is the best role for her at Chuckle-Lot.
  • Condescending Compassion: Just like Luna thinks she will lose her respectability by being funny, turns out she also doesn't have that much of respect for Pinkie in first place (in part due to Pinkie making foals run scared from her).
    Pinkie: Laughing and mocking are not the same thing.
    Luna: You do not understand, Pinkie Pie. I'm very important. You're just a clown.
    Pinkie: (crestfallen) Oh, I see.
    Luna: Pinkie, I didn't mean it like that. It's just that I have responsibilities and you...
    Pinkie: And making ponies happy isn't important.
  • Continuity Nod: The reason for the annual Chuckle-Lot event is tied to the banishment of Nightmare Moon. Pinkie also still calls Luna as "Nightmare Moon" when she first sees here, and it's implied that Luna holds a bit of a grudge.
  • Discussed Trope: Many Comedy Tropes are discussed. In particular, Comedy Ghetto becomes a major plot point when Luna believes she would lose the respect of her subjects by causing them to laugh at her.
  • Mood Whiplash: When Pinkie calls out Luna for being motivated by wanting to beat Celestia instead of a genuine desire to be funny, their argument ends with Pinkie sadly trudging out of Luna's bedroom, and Luna slumping down on her desk in despair.
  • Moral Guardians: The role Luna ends up playing at Chuckle-Lot, becoming the straight mare to Celestia's comedian.
  • No Indoor Voice: Luna arrives at Twilight's library with the Royal Canterlot Voice. Lampshaded later when Pinkie turns to address Luna in the same manner.
  • No Sense of Humor: Luna's problem is that she doesn't know how to make ponies laugh.
    • Ironically enough, Luna once held the Element of Laughter along with Honesty and Loyalty when she fought Discord alongside Celestia. Thinking everyone preferred Celestia over her is what made her Nightmare Moon in the first place, so it makes sense that she'd have forgotten what those things meant.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Luna's eyes after Pinkie breaks down in guffaws.
  • Rule of Three: Lampshaded and demonstrated (albeit unknowingly) by Twilight in researching the essence of humor.
    • Luna also prepares three pies for her Chuckle-Lot demonstration.
  • Pie in the Face: A big showdown in the Chuckle-Lot presentation.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Pinkie is not shy about mocking and criticizing Luna, something the princess is obviously not used to. It's this lack of formality that makes their relationship so effective.
  • Whoopi Epiphany Speech: Pinkie gives Luna a speech calling her out about her disregard by comedy.
    Pinkie: You don't really want to learn about being funny. You just want to beat Celestia at something. (...) Maybe if you stopped worrying about what you are supposed to be and were just yourself you wouldn't need somepony to teach you how to have fun.

    Issue # 8 Reins, Trains, and Carts with Wheels (Applejack and Rarity) 
Written by Katie Cook, drawn by Andy Price, coloring by Heather Breckel

The Apples get a letter, and Granny reads off that AJ's cousins on the west coast want her to bring some of her apples to Applewood to use in a dessert. Realizing this as a potential financial opportunity, AJ prepares to leave and asks Rarity for a traveling bag. Rarity, upon hearing the name "Applewood" is immediately eager to join AJ, not only to meet the celebrities in Applewood and its fashion sense, but also to sightsee along the way.

Their first stop puts them at Salt Lick City with a few hours layover, and Rarity suggests they go see the Largest Ball of Cashmere Yarn in Equestria. AJ obliges, but gets bored and falls asleep quickly. When she wakes, she realizes they are late for the train and barely make it on before it leaves the station - only to learn that this train is not theirs, which is running late, but one bound for Seaddle, where they can transfer to the right train - after another brief layover. Rarity, again, suggests taking in a seaside attraction. However, when their taxi back to the station is wrecked, and they get caught in a rain shower, they hastily take shelter for the night, knowing they'll miss the train. Fortunately, Rarity finds a pedal-powered aircraft that they take.

The two get into an argument over the lack of any serious business plan AJ has to sell her apples, causing them to crash into Mount Monument. As they get down safely, AJ realizes they were flying the wrong way, but they are fortunate to find a small western town with a stagecoach puller willing to take them to San Franciscolt where they can catch a quick train ride to Applewood. Rarity insists on more sightseeing but AJ shuts her up, until they are attacked by a gang of Cattle Rustlers. AJ and Rarity manage to work together despite their arguments to fend off the bulls and help reach safety.

A brief train ride later lands them in Applewood, and the two apologize for each others behavior. AJ has a way of making it up to Rarity, taking her to Whinnyland as she had been asking during the trip. The two enjoy a fruitful day as friends before they head to AJ's relatives. They are as surprised to see her and have no need for her apples, but Rarity sees they are throwing a party and joins in, dragging AJ along with her.

Back in Ponyville, Granny Smith realizes that she misread the letter and sent AJ off in the wrong direction, and it was really Aunt and Uncle Orange in Manehatten that wanted the fruit.

  • Action Girl: Applejack manages to beat up several of the rustlers, with Rarity getting in a few licks as well.
  • Adorkable: Both AJ and Rarity when at Whinnyland; their excitement is comparable to Real Life adults visiting Disneyland for the first time.
  • All Animals Are Dogs: After getting caught in the Seaddle rain, AJ and Rarity take shelter; Rarity has managed to stay mostly dry but AJ is sopping wet, and not amused. Rarity tells AJ to calm down, goading AJ into shaking off the water like a wet dog would, totally drenching Rarity.
  • Amusement Park / Theme Park: Whinnyland.
  • The Cameo: Derpy appears as the mailmare.
    • Whinnyland includes an attraction based on Pirates of the Caribbean, and in it is Captain Hoofbeard from the pirate arc of the main series, who himself is an Expy of Captain Jack Sparrow.
    • The Observer ponies briefly show up again.
    • Jim the Troll (based on "Big" Jim Miller, the show's co-producer) is on a billboard and called out as "Big Jim".
    • Aunt and Uncle Orange appear, albeit at the very end.
  • Captain Obvious: In the finale montage, "Apple Bloom: Did not get her cutie mark in base jumping"
  • Casual Danger Dialog: Applejack and Rarity get into disagreements over AJ's business plan while flying a plane and fighting off the Rustlers.
  • Continuity Nod: Mount Monument is in the middle of an expansion to add Princess Twilight Sparkle's head to the sculpture. A small sign, petitioning to add Queen Chrysalis's head, is hidden below it, and with only one signature, Chryssy's herself.
    • Rarity offering to help AJ with her business plan despite the anger between them mirrors Rarity's line from "Testing Testing 1 2 3" where she's willing to help Rainbow Dash despite her offhanded comment.
    • Rarity and AJ are doing The Navigator dance (from the Big Mac arc of the main series) at the "City Bear Disco" attraction at Whinnyland.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: Granny's misreading of the Oranges' letter sets off the whole disastrous chain of events.
  • Death Glare: AJ gives Rarity a very impressive one at one point.
  • Epic Fail:
    • Big Mac builds the replacement barn so poorly that it collapses and he has to start all over again. It's implied a similar situation is why the barn collapsed early in the comic.
    • Apparently, the Seaddle's show always ends with the boat crash-landing out of the stadium, usually wrecking a taxi or some other vehicle in the process.
  • Expy: There are several locations that are blatant copies of US locations.
    • Mount Monument is a obvious copy of Mount Rushmore, but with the faces of the four Princesses instead of presidents.
    • Whinnyland is the Equestrian answer to Disneyland, with a wombat Mickey and an eagle Donald.
  • Foreshadowing: Lampshaded, as the Cattle Rustlers promise they will be back in a future issue (in this case, main series #25-26 announced just before this issue came out).
  • Hero of Another Story: The stallion that carted Applejack and Rarity then went on a series of adventures of his own, and apparently became a king, but we don't see any of it.
  • Hilarity Ensues: The issues is pretty much set out for wacky hijinks.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The goat at the Biggest Ball of Yarn has a chewed up version of a season five script in its pen.
    • One of the Cattle Rustlers says that they'll be back in another issue.
  • Missing Steps Plan: Applejack's business plan: "Sell apples".
    • In a Brick Joke, they decide to actually deconstruct the trope, of all the tropes to deconstruct. Rarity is exasperated that Applejack thinks business is that simple, wondering how the farmer expects to settle a supplier/salespony partnership contract if her business model begins and ends at "fruit stand".
  • Museum of Boredom: Rarity eagerly drags AJ to visit the Largest Ball of Cashmere Yarn and its associated museum while at a scheduled train stop at Salt Lick City. While she is initially impressed and gets to pet the goat, AJ tires of it quickly.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Literally, with Big Macintosh destroying the barn more than once, and Applejack & Rarity wrecking the aircraft.
  • Noodle Incident: Oh, we see how Big Mac destroyed the barn, but AJ's Death Glare suggests this is not the first time this happened with Big Mac. From the images at the end, it appears that he just isn't very good at making sure the barn is sturdy. That or he's so strong that any attempts would end up breaking the barn even more.
  • The Other Rainforest: Of course it rains in Seaddle.
  • Reality Ensues: Rarity is quick to point out that Applejack doesn't have a serious business plan for selling her apples.
    • The owners of the "gyro-flyer" were quite surprised to find it missing.
  • Road Trip Plot: Applejack and Rarity take a road trip to see Applejack's relatives, and it goes just about as well as for them as it did for the Apple Family and Pinkie Pie.
  • Schizo Tech: Rarity and Applejack use a pedal-powered two-seater airplane (a "gyro-flyer") at one point of their trip.
  • Shown Their Work: Assuming that the geography in Equestria is similar to the real world, the travel challenges in this issue make sense. They leave from Ponyville (somewhere in the mid-west) , to Salt Lake City, get on the wrong train to Seattle, find the plane but take it the wrong direction (east, instead of south) as to end up in South Dakota, then find a western town that is close to San Francisco which is then a short train ride to Hollywood/Los Angeles. Mind you, some of the attractions don't make sense (the Biggest Ball of Twine is in Minnesota, and Seattle doesn't have the type of body of water to make a good water-skiing show, at least as large as the one shown with sharks and dolphins), but otherwise still spot on. The inconsistencies can probably be pinned on the fact that Equestria isn't an exact copy of Earth.
  • Skewed Priorities: Rarity gets into an argument over AJ's (lack of a) business plan for selling her apples while flying a plane. They crash.
  • Stealth Pun: There's a mention of Rodeo Drive, which given the series' fondness of horse-based puns is likely pronounced just how it looks, unlike the real street in Beverly Hills which is pronounced "Ro-DAY-o."
  • Swapped Roles: Normally Applejack is the calm and steady one, with Rarity as the Drama Queen getting worked up over small details, but Rarity is remarkably calm about things, while Applejack is the one getting stressed out more. AJ lampshades this at one point. Things apparently go back to normal after the trip is over.
  • Vitriolic Best Buds: Applejack and Rarity, of course.
  • Where Are They Now: A series of photos at the end of the comic shows what became of the characters after the events of the story. Applejack learned a lesson...about something. Rarity had a minor breakdown over her own project sometime later. Applebloom did not get her Cutie Mark in base jumping. Big Mac built a barn...He didn't do a very good job on the first barn and had to do it again. Granny Smith has an optometrist appointment next Tuesday. The stranger sought adventure and eventually became a hero. The curator of the world's biggest ball of yarn is currently working out how many socks can be knit with the ball of yarn. The owners of the gyro-flyer that AJ and Rarity took were incredibly confused when they returned to their barn some weeks later. The Manehatten Oranges are still waiting for Applejack.

    Issue # 9 Granny Smith and Flim & Flam 
Written by Christine Rice, art by Tony Fleecs

The Apples attend the annual fruit-sellers convention, though Granny Smith is bitter about the excessive amount of non-apple products the convention has added over the years. As AJ, Big Mac, and Apple Bloom set up their stall, Granny wanders the fairgrounds and is surprised to hear the voice of Flim trying to hawk a new gadget, but with no sign of Flam. Flim states he has broken up with his brother and have gone their separate ways. Later, Granny finds Flam also trying to sell the same gadget, and has the same story. Despite their past attempts to con the Apples, Granny feels this isn't right and goes to find Flim and ask him about it.

Flim tells her that three weeks before the con, they were in Dodge Junction where they met Marian, a librarian pony, which caught both of their attention. They started to vie for her heart, but got so bitter towards each other that Marian decided to drop the both of them. The two brothers went their separate ways, by chance being at the fruit convention at the same time.

Granny hatches a plan to bring the brothers together. After stopping them from yelling at each other, Granny tells them that in her youth, she incited the same division of the Jonagold brothers when they both tried to win her over. She opted to leave both alone, but that caused the brothers to feud, and never see each other again, and she does not want the same to happen to Flim and Flam. She helps them reconcile their differences, and by the end of the convention, they are back together and making a (legitimate!) fortune, thanks to Granny's advice.

  • Ascended Meme: Apparently, Celestia likes bananas.
  • Blatant Lies: Granny Smith initially denies helping the brothers get back together, but admits it when Applejack gives her a Death Glare.
  • Cassandra Truth: Flim and Flam tell Granny that they are no longer on speaking terms and are not scheming anything, but it takes awhile before Granny actually believes them.
  • Continuity Cavalcade: The two page spread overlooking the apple convention has too many background character cameos to list, though some notable characters include Cheese Sandwich, Maud Pie and the rest of the Pie clan, Ms. Harshwhinney, Surprise, and Daring Do.
    • There's also several nods to the past comics: the David Bowie - inspired pie wagon from the Rainbow Dash micro is there, as well as Flax Seed & Wheat Grass's "Goops for Stuff" from the Rarity micro. "Fancy Shmancy" from the Pinkie/Luna is in line, and the PNN reporter pony is awaiting on stage. Wheat Grass and Summer Mane also show up later.
    • It might be easier to say who doesn't show up.
  • Even Evil Has Loved Ones/Everyone Has Standards: Granny may not particularly like the Flim Flam brothers, but she won't stand by and let two family members be driven apart if she can do anything about it.
  • History Repeats: Granny Smith was once courted by a pair of twins called the Jonagold brothers, who began fighting each other of her affections. Granny, unable to choose between them, broke it off with both of them, and neither spoke to the other again. Her helping Flim and Flam is an attempt to stop the same thing from happening to them.
  • I Was Quite a Looker: Granny says this word for word at one point.
  • Shout-Out: To The Music Man. Flim and Flam were originally based on Professor Harold Hill from that play, and in the backstory to the comic they vied for the love of a a mare named Marian — who is a librarian.
  • Sibling Love Triangle: Both of the Flim Flam brothers had a crush on one mare, named Marian, and their attempts to woo her drove them apart, and neither got her. This is situation that Granny can relate to as she was in a love triangle herself with the Jonagold brothers.
  • Really Gets Around: Apparently Granny had a lot of boyfriends when she was younger.
  • Riddle for the Ages: Flim proposes the idea that Marian had never cared for him and his brother, and was only distracting them from conning the ponies of Dodge Junction. Granny's tale implies that she couldn't choose between them and was tired of their fighting. Since she never appears outside of what Flim is telling Granny, we never know.
  • Sibling Rivalry: Flim and Flam, due to having been two opposing sides of a Love Triangle.
  • Take That: Granny Smith's and Apple Bloom's reactions to Apple Con parody the most common criticisms of San Diego Comic Con — the theme of the convention has drifted away from its original focus (apples = comics, oranges = movies and TV), it's too crowded, and attendees spend most of their time standing in line.

    Issue # 10 Fluttershy and Iron Will 
Written by Christine Rice, art by Agnes Garbowska
Fluttershy's friends are alerted that Iron Will is back in town and looking for her, and they race to her cottage to help protect her from him. However, Fluttershy is more than happy to see what Iron Will wants, where they learn that he's been kicked out of his maze by his wife for being too assertive and is looking for Fluttershy's help to calm down. She is happy to help, and tries to put him through several situations to help learn patience and understanding: feeding her animals (until it comes to Angel Bunny), helping at Sugarcube Corner (until Pinkie has a bit of Insane Troll Logic that throws him off), and even helping at Sweet Apple Acres (until he tries to harvest apples by ramming a tree directly and knocking himself out). Fluttershy suggests a bit of time at the spa but when Rainbow Dash comes in and teases Iron Will for finding his "inner pony", he storms off to Everfree Forest.

Fluttershy follows the minotaur to the forest, where he reveals that the reason he was kicked out was that his son, who he is proud of, has been taking too many of his assertive mannerisms and has been using that against his mother and his teachers at school. Fluttershy helps to remind him that while being assertive can be good (and for Iron Will, his source of income from his seminars), that there's a time and a place for it, and if he can show more care around his family, his son will pick up on his good habits as well. Iron Will is impressed by this advice, and before he goes, treats Fluttershy and her friends to a meal (revealing he is a gourmet chef).

  • An Aesop: Iron Will learns that there is a time and a place to be assertive.
  • The Cameo: Twist and Gizmo/Poindexter make appearances as customers at Sugarcube Corner.
  • Classical Mythology: The fact that Iron Will, a minotaur, actually lives in a labyrinth, is consistent with the Greek mythology detailing the Minotaur living in a maze under the palace of Crete.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • This issue marks the first appearance of Twilight's new castle that debuted at the end of "Twilight's Kingdom", making it the first post-Season 4 comic.
    • Angel's reaction to Iron Will's salad mirrors the same gag from "Putting Your Hoof Down", the very episode Iron Will made his debut.
  • Curse Cut Short / Never Say "Die": Iron Will starts one of his mottos after Angel throws a salad onto his head, but is cut short by Fluttershy before he can finish.
    Iron Will: Put food on my head, consider yourself d—
  • Exiled to the Couch: What Iron Will is going through until he can control his assertive manners.
  • Hidden Depths: Iron Will is a gourmet chef. Who knew?
  • Jerkass Ball: The Mane 6 sans Fluttershy are surprisingly hostile and unwelcoming towards Iron Will despite the fact that he was fairly reasonable with Fluttershy during their last meeting (most damage he did was rip off Fluttershy's barricade and that was her own doing to protect her friends after going overboard with her newfound assertive-ness), especially Rainbow Dash who only serve to make fun of him of his "inner-pony" when he was starting to calm down, thus not helping the situation.
  • Real Men Cook: Iron Will appears to be an excellent cook.
  • Ship Sinking: After Putting Your Hoof Down aired, Fluttershy x Iron Will became a fairly popular ship. Fast forward to this issue and it turns out that Iron Will is already married with a son. Oops...
  • Stock Yuck: Rainbow Dash hates brussels sprouts.

    Issue # 11 Rainbow Dash and Spitfire 
Written by Ted Anderson, art by Jay P. Fosgitt
Rainbow Dash is summoned to Cloudsdale for a very important mission under Spitfire's orders, abandoning her plans with Scootaloo. Expecting something major, Dash is surprised that Spitfire needs her help to train a class of colts and filly pegasi to learn how to fly. Dash easily starts to help, but clearly sees Spitfire struggling to articulate anything. After the class, Dash and Spitfire go flying and Dash learns that Spitfire never really wanted to be the Wonderbolts' leader, but her drive and skill brought her respect from the others to elevate her to that position. While she has no problem training the Wonderbolts' ranks as she can use commanding voices to them as adults to command respect, she doesn't know how to same to the younger fliers. Dash suggests she tries it the next day, which turns out to be a disaster when Spitfire goes overboard with her command style and has the whole class break down into tears.

Again, Spitfire and Rainbow Dash go off to fly and talk, and Spitfire calls another aspect of her Wonderbolts command, being the ability to inspire others. This gives Dash an idea, and goes off to prepare. At the next class, Spitfire is there alone with the huddled mass of frightened colts and fillies, when Dash barges in and warns that a rogue tornado is approaching the school. Spitfire drops into a no-nonsense stance and races to deal with the tornado, while Dash coolly stays behind and tells the class to watch. Spitfire expertly undoes the weather pattern and dispels the storm, and as she returns the class cheers for her. Amid the celebration, Spitfire realizes it was Dash that has created the tornado, but for good reason, as the class now look up to Spitfire and ask for more of her lessons the next day. Spitfire admits she feels more confident in training the class now, and thanks Dash for her help. Rainbow then returns to Ponyville, where Scootaloo berates her for not telling the filly that she was coming back. Rainbow apologizes and takes her on a flying trip.

  • An Aesop: Everyone has flaws, even heroes, and if you know you can't handle a task by yourself, there's nothing shameful about asking for help.
  • Ascended Fangirl: It's revealed that Rainbow Dash is now part of the Wonderbolts' reserves.
  • Brick Joke: Scootaloo is left hanging when Rainbow Dash is summoned to Cloudsdale. But she comes back and takes Scoots on a flying trip on the last panels.
  • Cool Teacher: Rainbow reveals herself to be a very good, patient teacher. She ends up explaining to the class the theory behind Spitfire's moves and maneuvers, in a curious yet logical subversion of her usual role, being a practitioner rather than a technician.
  • Covers Always Lie: Although the covers show Spitfire wearing her dress uniform, in the present day of this issue she's always naked (like ponies normally are) except for her goggles, and in flashbacks she wore her Wonderbolts flight suit.
  • Drill Sergeant Nasty: Spitfire reveals herself to be a Tough Love version.
  • Friend to All Children: Rainbow Dash... except, ironically, to Scootaloo, who is uncharacteristically annoyed at Dash whenever she appears in this issue.
  • Motor Mouth: Loop de Loop tends to babble when she gets nervous.
  • Mythology Gag: Amy Mebberson's cover features several G1 ponies as G4 fillies.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: The foals are reduced to tears when Spitfire tries her Drill Sergeant Nasty approach on them.
  • Ocular Gushers: Spitfire's commanding approach causes at least one filly to break out into this.
  • Off Model: This is the first time Jay Fosgitt has drawn an MLP comic, and he admits that he wasn't given any reference material, which is why Ponyville looks like a modern suburb instead of a medieval village, and the Cloudsdale gymnasium is made of bricks instead of clouds. The ponies also have very odd proportions that shift between panels.
  • Shrinking Violet: Loop de Loop. Spitfire temporarily becomes one too, when she tries to hide behind Rainbow Dash after making mistakes with the kids.
  • Spoiler Opening: It's apparent from the covers that Spitfire's secret is not being good with foals.
  • Tough Love: The reason Spitfire has trouble with teaching foals is that she uses this technique with the Wonderbolts, who know she's trying to encourage and motivate them. When she tries it on the fillies and colts, they're reduced to tears.

    Issue # 12 Pinkie Pie and Twilight Sparkle 
Story by Barbara Kesel, art by Brenda Hickey

The annual street vendor fair has come to Ponyville, and just as Twilight and Spike are about to go enjoy the wares, Pinkie barges into the castle, asking Twilight to help her with her insatiable appetite for the one particular snack that her hypermetabolism cannot absorb, PheNOMNOMenons. Willing to help, Twilight starts with some basic aversion therapy but Pinkie is too easily drawn by the snack to stay put. Twilight tries locking up the castle to keep Pinkie in, but her hyperactivity easily busts the chains Twilight had used. After restraining an increasingly angry Pinkie, Twilight creates a device that runs off Pinkie's own hyperactivity to keep her occupied, but once Twilight tells Pinkie that if she can break out from it she can get her PheNOMNOMenons, Pinkie quickly defeats the device.

Twilight catches up to Pinkie as she starts downing a snack, but Pinkie tells her she has to try one. After one bite, Twilight is overwhelmed by the flavor and both binge on PheNOMNOMenons, Twilight quickly realizing that there's little she could do on her own to stop Pinkie from having the delightful treat, but gets inspiration that she could make Pinkie chose to quit on her own. Feigning failure, Pinkie suddenly rushes to Twilight's aid, forgoing the snacks. When Twilight points this out, Pinkie realizes she has the willpower herself, and successfully wills herself to not eat one of the offered treats. Pinkie gives Twilight a great amount of gratitude for her help before she goes off to find something else to eat.

  • All There in the Manual: The two mares selling PheNOMNOMenons had no names given, but artist Brenda Hickey drew them separately and gave them the Punny Names of "Fawn Doo" (the maroon one with the bonnet) and "Marcie Pan".
  • Art Shift: As Pinkie (and later Twilight) get caught up on the PheNOMNOMenons, the art starts to get a bit on the wacky side, but shifts back to (mostly) normal once Pinkie finds her self-control.
  • Audience? What Audience?: A transition panel from one of Twilight's plans to another has the caption "Later...". Pinkie comments on the caption that she's thanking Twilight "later", and Spike is bewildered at what Pinkie is looking at.
  • The Cameo: Wheat Grass shows up as one of the stall vendors.
    • One of the pirate ponies from the main series Pirate arc is selling pineapples.
  • Continuity Nod: Pinkie gets in some very odd moods, and as such, Pinkamenia Diane Pie returns a few times.
  • Eleventy Zillion: "And I can't stop at one! Or fifty! Or a thousand! Or a million jillion! Or a kazoomazillionzillion!"
  • Going Cold Turkey: Ultimately, the way Pinkie breaks her addiction amounts to this.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: One panel, after Pinkie has foiled another of her plans, has Twilight going "Oh, ..." with the last phrase covered up by another panel with the word "CHEEZBURGER". (Her mouth is in a state where one would say an "f"-sounding word, making this even more amazing it got past the censor.)
  • G-Rated Drug: The new snack that Pinkie can't stop chowing down on.
    • Especially since Twilight herself instantly gets just as hooked on them after one bite.
  • Noodle Incident: According to Pinkie Pie, the last time she ate a PheNOMNOMenon, there was a incident involving another pony, a tophat and a curtain that she doesn't completely remember.
  • Rube Goldberg Device: Twilight builds one to try to confine Pinkie Pie. It fails.
  • Self Restraint: What Pinkie learns to do.
  • Very Special Episode: Even from the covers and synopsis, one can see this being a parallel to someone helping another to break some type of addiction.
  • The Voiceless: The two Elegant Gothic Lolita-style salesponies working at the PheNOMNOMenon stand never speak.

    Issue # 13 Rarity and Babs Seed 
Story by Jeremy Whitley, art by Agnes Garbowska

Rarity and Sweetie Belle are about to go to Manehattan, with Sweetie planning to visit Babs Seed while Rarity works on some dresses for Sapphire Shores. However, Sweetie comes down with an ear infection, and Rarity is forced to go on her own. As she is preparing dresses in Manehattan, Babs stops by, disappointed that Sweetie couldn't come. Rarity, seeing Babs' disappointment, offers to take the filly around town instead. Rarity, being Rarity, drags Babs to a spa, a hair stylist, and a clothing store, but Babs is not as interested in these elements, and while thankful to Rarity for her time, leaves to go home.

Later, Rarity is fitting her outfits with Sapphire and recounts the efforts she tried to cheer Babs up. Sapphire recalls what Rarity had said earlier about her own childhood, her parents not understanding her sense in fashion, but still encouraged her to succeed. With this inspiration, Rarity uses her connections to secure tickets and backstage passes to a roller derby event that evening, taking Babs along. Babs is thrilled even in Rarity's confusion of the event, and is excited to met one of her favorite athletes, who also shows how her mother didn't understand her interest in roller derby to start but since has become one of her biggest fans. After completing her business in Manehattan, Rarity helps to prepare a special CMC-emblazed roller derby outfit for Babs with Sweetie Belle (with the performance name "Bad Seed") and sends it off to her, while writing in their journal about the importance of letting children follow their interests and supporting them.

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Rarity doesn't quite approve of the violent nicknames used in roller derby, but admits that "Shining Harmer" is pretty clever.
  • The Cameo: Sweetie Belle has a Spike plush.
    • Sapphire Shores appears as well, giving useful advice to Rarity on how to sympathize with Babs.
    • It is not stated specifically, but one of the derby racers is named "Shining Harmer" and looks very suspiciously like Princess Cadance. She did say she liked adventure now and then... (Artist Agnes Garbowski remains purposely vague on this point).
  • Continuity Nod: Events from the episode "For Whom the Sweetie Belle Toils" (specifically, Sweetie and the other CMC breaking into Sapphire Shores' studio in Manehatten) are brought up.
    • The comic also follows on from the main comic series issues #21-22; specifically, Rarity remembers where Babs lives to bring her the tickets to the roller derby event.
    • Babs' little breathe of air to flip her bang out of her face comes up a few times. In one specific case, it actually helps to prevent a barber from cutting it off.
    • Manehattan has their own pair of spa twins like Ponyville - this pair plays off a green and yellow color scheme, with the two having (separately) a pair of cucumber and squash slices for cutie marks.
    • The name on the back of the roller derby outfit that Sweetie suggests, "Bad Seed", nods back to "One Bad Apple". Babs also notes that her Manehattan division of the CMC is growing as well, and Rarity recalls that Babs almost fell with the apple float off the road thanks to the CMC.
  • Costume Test Montage: Rarity treats Babs to one.
  • Ironic Echo: A few panels have Babs being pulled off by Rarity on one of Rarity's pampering stops, with Babs giving a surprised look or glare. Later, when Rarity produces two roller derby tickets for Babs, Babs does the same to Rarity.
  • Meaningful Name: Babs is surprised that Rarity knows "Hoi Polloi".
  • Punny Name: Some of the named derby athletes are puns from existing MLP characters, including "Scarswirl", "Princess Skullestia", and of course "Shining Harmer".
  • Shown Their Work: The descriptions of the derby moves are accurate for the sport.
  • Super OCD: The barber pony that sees his sole purpose as to snip off Babs' offending forelock of hair that falls in her face.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Babs and Rarity. Since Rarity is an authority figure to Babs, they're more polite around each other than interactions Rarity had with Applejack and Rainbow Dash have often been.

    Issue # 14 Spike and Princess Luna 
Story by Jeremy Whitley, art by Agnes Garbowska

When a dragon problem in Fillydelphia threatens to get out of hand, Luna enlists Spike's help to find a peaceful solution. There are many suspects and no easy answers as both Spike and Luna must admit to personal shortcomings in order to find the true culprit.

    Issue # 15 Applejack and Mayor Mare 
Story by Bobby Curnow, art by Brenda Hickey

Applejack must maneuver her way through the bureaucracy of Mayor Mare's mayorship after undeservedly receiving a citation.

  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: From work-in-progress images from Brenda Hickey, and cover art, either Mayor Mare or her nerdy assistant Tadwell is poised to be the ultimate pencil-pusher in Applejack's way.

Tropes applying to Short Features:

    Shorts 

Issue #8: A Morning In The Life Of Winona
Written and drawn by Katie Cook, colored by Kate Carleton

Over the time of a morning, Winona transfers mud from the pigpen to Big Mac's bed, destroys Apple Bloom's spelling homework, eats Granny's bake sale pie and chases (and is then chased by) Opalescence, all while maintaining good dog status with Applejack.