Comic Book: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW)

Six of the twenty unique covers for issue #1.
A My Little Pony comic book series based on the cartoon show of the same name. Published by IDW, with a rotating creative team, the series was first announced at the 2012 San Diego Comic-Con, with the first issue released on November 28, 2012.

The series has proven a hot seller, reportedly pulling in lots of bronies who haven't bought comics in years and presumably also kids who have never bought them before. In 2012, the first issue, along with Image Comics' The Walking Dead, were the only two non-DC, non-Marvel comic titles to be listed in the top 100 comics of the year. Individual issues have been IDW's top selling comic for each month regularly placing in the top titles sold in those months.

The series begins with a pair of four-issue Story Arcs, with the first featuring the return of Queen Chrysalis, the villain of the Season 2 finale. Other stories span one or two issues. Some issues also have a two page back-up story. This series is notably the first major part of the Friendship Is Magic Expanded Universe, and promises to follow the same all-ages tone that made the show so popular, although the comics sometimes go a little crazier with the characters than the TV series.

This page also covers the Annual comics and one-shot specials. So far they either focus on the Equestria Girls spin-off franchise or an Alternate Universe like the Power Ponies.

Has a Shout Out page.

See also the other My Little Pony series put out by IDW:

IDW has partnered with Madefire to create motion comics from the series as well.

This series provides examples of these tropes (for more, please also visit the character guide):

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  • Abhorrent Admirer: Andy Price's art will often include background gags of Sweetcream Scoops making advances on a very wary Big McIntosh. Price has stated to fans that he considers that the name "Sweetcream Scoops" sounds like that of a lady of the night, and plays her into that trope.
  • Arc Villain: Almost every arc has had an antagonist of some kind, from heavy hitters like Queen Chrysalis, Nightmare Rarity, and a Mirror Universe Princess Celestia, to a common thief and a high school bully. The only arc so far without an antagonist of any kind is Zen & The Art of Gazebo Repair, it's just Big Mac experiencing a ton of bad luck.
  • Artistic License: Amy Mebberson often draws AJ without her hat; she states that with the hat, this limits how much she can draw of AJ in certain poses and chooses to forgo it instead.
  • Canon Foreigner: There's a few, see here for a full list.
  • Comic Book Adaptation: A type 2 and type 3 at points with background stories.
  • Continuity Nod: Several relating back to the series, as is aught natural for a tie-in comic.
  • Covers Always Lie: What's on the cover usually has nothing to do with what goes on in the story.
  • Creator Cameo: Just a few...
    • Katie Cook has appeared throughout as a green unicorn mare (often wearing a kerchief headwear) with a word-balloon cutie mark. She has also had her husband Ryan appear as a mule in issue #1, with her laughing at him, as light-hearted revenge for his dislike of Fluttershy. This also counts as an indirect example of Interspecies Romance. And despite her personally being younger than Andy, Andy Price drew her next to him in the yearbook (the bottom two left ponies on the Juniors page) on his variant cover for Issue #11 .
    • Andy Price has drawn himself along with his wife Alice as pony characters at least thrice (Issue #1, #9 and the Rarity Micro-comic); his OC is Leadwing, a blue earth pony with a Batman-like cutie mark (part of his previous pedigree), while his wife's OC is a red-headed unicorn mare with a bird-like emblem cutie mark.
      • Both Katie and Andy may have become Ascended Fanboys as their OCs appeared as concept art images for Season 5 of the show. Both characters later had cameos in the episode "Princess Spike."
    • Heather Breckel, the colorist for most of the comics in both the main and micro, has her ponified Angie OC appear in the Rarity microcomic.
  • Darker and Edgier: Storylines are much more mature, Death is actually referred to as such, a lot more of focus is put on the teeth and eyes of characters (in all their icky glory), and the writers are not afraid to include more involved fight scenes and look at some of the more disturbing aspects of Equestrian life, such as just what the Changelings do to their victims. The comic as a whole features a lot of content the cartoon could never get away with in terms of copyright restrictions or Moral Guardians.
  • Depending on the Writer: Like the show, different issues will have different tones and approaches to the characters & universe. A notable example is that Heather Nuhfer and Katie Cook seem to have different opinions on how to approach Princess Twilight's way of dealing with outlaws. In the Nuhfer-written pirates Story Arc Twilight tries to use her Princess status to make a peaceful deal with a group of pony pirates, when they threaten to kidnap her she magically zaps them into submission. Katie Cook on the other hand has Twilight refuse to use her magic on cattle bandits even when they're clearly breaking the law and attacking her friends, on the basis they're legal, sentient citizens of Equestria.
  • Expanded Universe: This series will be the biggest part of it. There have been short "G4" comics and stories found in little girls' magazines before this, but they simply used stock art with poor writing. This series has promised to follow more closely to the show's continuity and tone, while also having the opportunity to flesh out some things that can't be covered in a 22-minute episode. Katie Cook explains that she is writing each 4-issue story with content roughly equal to two 22-minute episodes.
  • Foreshadowing: A cross-arc example: Rarity's issue 1 cover is noticeably darker in colour than the others, and has a cloud or two. Also, Luna is in the background, as if approaching Rarity.
  • Loose Canon: As the comic is written by different people from the show, the comic's canon and the show's canon don't always match up. The comics don't flat-out contradict any pre-established materials, but the show doesn't reference the comic for any material, and as the show has continued on and done more World Building, the discrepancies between the show and the comics began to build up. This is partly because of Animation Lead Time and Hasbro doesn't seem to inform the writers of everything about upcoming seasons. Another factor is that, aside from Twilight becoming an alicorn, there's no indication of passage of time in the comics, and issues are usually self-contained with few, if any, references to other story arcs. Thus, one could even claim the comics are in Anachronic Order, allowing them to happen at different points in the show to various effects on continuity. In short, the canonicity of the comics comes down to how individual fans feel like treating them.
  • Once per Episode: Andy Price, a big fan of the television show Fringe, has included an Observer pony (grey, hairless, wearing a suit and fedora) in every story he's drawn, watching events from the background of a panel.
  • Reference Overdosed: Even more so than the show, especially in the Cook/Price issues. The other writers & artists tone it down a little, but there's still a few shout outs per issue. There's also an interesting case of seeing different tastes in shout outs; Andy Price for example seems fond of old-school Western sci-fi & pop-culture while Amy Mebberson has a tendency to draw ponified Disney & Anime characters.
  • Saved by Canon: It's a simple matter of fact that the characters aren't in any real danger, given the supplementary nature of the comic.
  • Story Arc: The heavier, darker story arcs are four issues long, with Slice of Life comics being one or two issues.

Tropes applying to Individual Story Arcs:

    Issues #1-4: The Return of Queen Chrysalis 
Written by Katie Cook, Drawn by Andy Price, Colored by Heather Breckel

The Cutie Mark Crusaders are fillynapped by Queen Chrysalis, under the guise of an invasion of Changelings across Ponyville! The Mane Six quickly defeat the underlings and rescue the rest of the town, but find that Chrysalis has taken the fillies to her distant lair, and challenges the Mane Six to come rescue them in three days' time. Unknown to the trio, Queen Chrysalis, having taken over "Wuvy-Dovey Smoochy Land" after being ejected from Canterlot after "A Canterlot Wedding", and using the endless love of its cute cat-like critters to feed herself and her minions, now seeks to gain Twilight Sparkle's magic, using the CMC to lure her there.

With Princess Celestia out of pocket, Twilight Sparkle and her friends set off to rescue the fillies, with Twilight worried that Chrysalis' deadline just happens to correspond with the passing of the Secretariat Comet. Traveling through an abandoned Diamond Dog mine, Chrysalis sets her Changelings to split the six into pairs and then create resentment between them through the mimicking abilities. Though the Six regroup and defeat a pack of giant spiders before exiting the cave, the damage has been done, as the three pairs split off in separate directions to rescue the CMC. Each pair runs into its own sets of problems: a giant chupacabra, pony-eating jackalopes, and blood-sucking giant flowers, and as they all escape these, they run back into each other, letting their predators fight for dominance. After a series of apologies - and an ad hoc cake break from Pinkie - they continue towards Queen Chrysalis.

They finally make it to the Queen's castle and meet Chrysalis face to face. Queen Chrysalis traps Twilight's friends into her cocoons and challenges Twilight to either join her as her student in dark magic, or to have her minions kills her friends and the Crusaders. Twilight realizes she can't fight Chrysalis and opts to let her friends go, but this is further part of the Queen's trap - to now consume her love and control Twilight's magic for herself. As the Secretariat Comet passes overhead, both Twilight and the Queen feel a surge in their magical abilities, and fight each other with magic. Twilight succeeds after recalling how much the love of her friends means to her, allowing her to overwhelm the Queen with a powerful burst of magic that bests the Queen.

The Mane Six rescue the Crusaders and regroup outside the castle, along with the arrival of the battle-damaged Princess Celestia and Spike. Celestia apologizes for not being there sooner as she and Spike had to defend Canterlot from a horde of giant magical cocktrices which also tried using the comet's magic surge to cause trouble. As they all relate their tales, Chrysalis finds herself locked inside their castle, and having to deal with her minions entranced by Pinkie's animated costume silliness.

  • Abandoned Mine: The Mane 6 travel through one to begin their journey to the Changeling Kingdom.
  • Adult Fear: The series kicks off with the Cutie Mark Crusaders up to their usual adorable shenanigans, trying to get their cutie marks in Fluttershy's backyard... and then they get attacked by animals.
  • All Your Base Are Belong to Us: Not related to Equestria, but this happens to the uber cute kingdom of cat people that Chrysalis and the Changelings land in after getting blown across the sky in A Canterlot Wedding. They promptly twist the place into their own image and drain the populace of their love, indicating that the Changeling Kingdom we've seen in the comic isn't the original. By the time the Mane 6 have gotten to the Queen at the start of issue #4, all that's left are green-goop-covered homes and solitary heart-shaped greetings on the ground.
  • Always Someone Better: Upon seeing the sheer power Twilight possesses, Chrysalis immediately declares she wants Twilight to be her apprentice.
  • And Call Him George: The cave troll in #2. It's even lampshaded.
  • And Your Little Dog Too:
    Scootaloo: She was all "I'mma' getchoo Twilight! And your little pony friends too"!
  • Anvil on Head: The first issue's third page has a 100 weight that was apparently dropped by Bulk Bicepsnote , prompting an "OUCH!" from the pony underneath and laughter from a pony in a doorway nearby.
  • Art Shift: Issue #3 starts with a quick summary of the previous two issues in a 50's style sepia-tone and slightly simpler-draw ponies, ala the educational film from "Hurricane Fluttershy".
    • Parodied by the end of the issue: in the same sepia style, Spike provides a cliffhanger dialog, and then Angel flips a switch, reverting the art style back to normal.
  • Ascended Meme: Issue #1's synopsis uses the fan-coined term "Mane Six" (already more than a Fan Nickname due to being used on a couple of licensed shirts, but this further elevates the term).
    • Upon being confronted by Chrysalis, Applejack and Rarity are quick to insult her, and reference the meme of Chrysalis having swiss-cheese legs.
    • And of course Derpy's in the comic (though not named), including being lured into a trap by a trail of muffins. Furthermore, when one of the Changelings changes into Derpy, its companion is forced to bonk it on its head to get the derped eyes just right.
      • In issue 2, one of the spiders is gray, has a bit of blond hair, one set of its two pairs of eyes in a wall-eyes fashion, and has a pattern of bubbles on its rear section.
      • At the end of issue 4, one of the Changelings surrounding Chrysalis is also derping, firmly staring into space.
  • Badass Mustache: Spike and Angel in the flashback at the start of issue #3.
  • Berserk Button: While Fluttershy's comes up again, we find that it's never a good idea to talk about bad fashion in front of Rarity.
  • Artistic License – Biology: In-Universe example: Sweetie Belle thought that teeth grew back. They do. Once, after your baby teeth fall out.
  • Batman Gambit: Queen Chrysalis tricks the Mane Six into getting into a huge argument, knowing full well that they will inevitably reconcile and strengthen their bond, thereby giving the Changelings more energy to feed on, and making Twilight's magic more powerful for when she needs to drain it.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: The Changelings do this to the Mane Six in issue #2, and Queen Chrysalis even mentions this in issue #3. By the end of issue #3, though, they're back together. Chrysalis claims that the fact that they're back together actually helps her in the long run.
  • Bizarrchitecture: The Changeling castle seems to have an interior inspired by an Escher painting.
  • Bread, Eggs, Breaded Eggs: As the ponies set off for Changeling territory at the end of issue 1, Pinkie wonders if they'll encounter ninjas, monkeys, or monkey ninjas along the way.
  • Brick Joke: Angel is seen buying a moustache on a stick in the large full page spread in Issue #1. Why doesn't become apparent until Issue #3, where he's using it as part of the Art Shift narrative with Spike.
  • Buffy Speak: Sweetie Belle to Queen Chrysalis in #4:
    Sweetie Belle: And you'll never be able to take away Twilight's magic, she's a bajillion times the... magical... pony... thing... you are!
  • Canon Immigrant: Toyline ponies Sweetcream Scoops and Sugar Grape cameo as background ponies.
  • Captain Ersatz: What civilizations lie outside Equestria, a place based on the My Little Pony franchise? Well, you might expect something like Care Bears...
  • Chekhov's Gun: Parodied. Pinkie claims that since she lugged those "bulky" costumes all the way from Ponyville, [Law of Conservation of Detail [they have to be useful at some point in the quest]]. While Rainbow's costume never serves a meaningful purpose, Pinkie's costume is animated to keep an eye on the Changelings after their defeat.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Pinkie finds the cave troll and has him save the others from a group of giant spiders.
  • Comet of Doom: The Secretariat Comet will be passing the Horsehead Nebula in three days, an astronomical event said to effect every magical being in Equestria.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The CMC have been fillynapped! What's the first thing they think about? Whether or not they get "fillynapped" cutie marks. Queen Chrysalis even considers revising her opinion that trolls are the stupidest creatures alive after putting up with their constant chatter for a while.
    • In #2, Twilight is more impressed by how large a cave troll is instead of any possible threat the troll represents.
    • When Rarity faces the Phantom Pony of the Opera in the changeling castle, she is more disturbed by the prospect of dating a basement-dwelling musician than anything.
    • Sweetie Belle is more upset about Chrysalis being boring than her being a threat to their lives.
  • Continuity Nod:
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Wild Fire, the pony avatar of series storyboard artist Sabrina "Sibsy" Alberghetti, appears in issue #1.
    • The troll in issue #2, named Jim in story, is based on Jim Miller.
  • Crystal Ball: Queen Chrysalis used one to communicate with the Mane 6, telling them to confront her in three days. It even provides a map. And functions as a means of surveillance for Chrysalis.
  • Darkest Hour: The second issue ends with the Mane Six parting ways and continuing their journey separately.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Princess Celestia is unavailable because she is preparing for the comet, because if she weren't the plot would be resolved in five minutes.
  • Divide and Conquer: The changelings separate the group with a cave-in and start causing feud between them through the use of disguises and personal insults.
  • Do Not Adjust Your Set: Though on a much smaller scale. Queen Chrysalis hijacks Spike's fire-mail line to Princess Celestia to deliver a crystal ball to the Mane 6, which serves as a two-way video conference and a map.
  • Door Roulette: In the castle, Chrysalis challenges the Mane 6 to find her behind one of the many doors. The other doors contain a slew of movie Shout Outs, such as a Monster Clown or a pony Phantom of the Opera.
  • Drunk on Malts: Rainbow Dash explains that her memory of the wedding is hazy after having Pinkie's Tutti-Frutti Sherbet Sugar Punch. (It contains seven parts of sugar for every part of fruit!)
  • Duck!: Rainbow Dash tells Fluttershy to duck and she thinks ducks are around.
  • Emotion Eater: While it's been known that Changelings feed on love, issue #3 shows how they actually do so: they just suck the green, gaseous life miasma right out of the victim's body.
  • Evil Gloating: Chrysalis does this a lot, and express annoyance when anything interferes with it.
  • Exact Words: Chrysalis promises Twilight that she would not hurt or drain her friends if Twilight promises to become Chrysalis's apprentice. However, Chrysalis never said Twilight couldn't be made to hurt them.
    • The riddle door asked the Mane 6 if they could answer its riddle. Pinkie got entrance by saying she couldn't.
  • Expository Hairstyle Change: During the battle with the Changelings, Rarity styles Pinkie's hair to look like hers in order to tell her apart from the Changelings who have taken Pinkie's form.
    • In the second issue, Pinkie's hair deflates after a Changeling takes the shape of one of her friends and convinces her they all consider her annoying.
  • Eyepatch of Power: Worn by Spike; see "In the Interim" short below.
  • For Inconvenience, Press "1": Twilight's attempt to reach Celestia only to get a letter back, which reads like an automated message, explaining she's away.
    Twilight: I've been...form lettered!
  • Foreshadowing: During issue #4, Chrysalis comments that while she can drain emotions or take new forms, Twilight posses an ability and knowledge she doesn't have. Love? No, it's the power of devastation.
    • A possible one can be seen on the first issue, when the mysterious stallion that always appears to watch important events can be seen watching Time Turner, who's holding a fob watch and looking at it with an alarmed expression. Knowing that this is a Pony Observer (based on the TV show Fringe), where the Observers are sentient of the future, this further hints that something bad may be afoot. 8 issues later, a Meaningful Background Event shows Time Turner holding the same watch and freaking up about how "the watch is him!" on a Doctor Who nod.
  • Funny Background Event: Yep, even the tie-in comic has these.
    • Issue #1:
      • In the first splash page, a poor background pony falls victim to an Anvil on Head (see above).
      • Same issue, look closely during the Changelings battle when Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy are talking and you'll notice Spike running away from a Changeling he just set on fire.
      • While Spike is horking up Queen Chrysalis' message after the changeling battle, Pinkie Pie can be seen re-inflating her mane to its normal wild curliness (much to the chagrin of Rarity, who had styled it during the battle).
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: On the map page of Issue #2, there's a location known as Gelding Grotto.
  • Giant Spider: Giant spiders inhabit the cave in issue #2, ranging from pony-sized to as big as elephants.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: Chrysalis grabs one of the luvcats and taunts the CMC for their "innocence". What she does with the luvcat in the following panel is never shown, but the splattered black amongst the blank white panel, the "THUMP" and the CMC's screams makes it clear that it is for the best.
    • In the same issue, right after Fluttershy points out a natural species rivalry in the monsters that were chasing the ponies, the ponies (except her) look epically horrified while said monsters presumably disembowel each other just off-panel.
    Fluttershy: Nature is so fascinating...
  • Hammerspace: Rainbow Dash is incredulous of where Pinkie stowed the giant costumes for the two of them (and a Changeling costume).
    • Later, Pinkie pulls out her costume and a perfectly fine (and fresh) cake out from nowhere. This time, Rainbow Dash begs her friends to ask no questions, which leads to a Gilligan Cut in the next panel, where Rainbow, suddenly now in the costume, tells her friends "you had to ask...".
  • Harmful to Minors: There's a strong implication Queen Chrysalis killed one of the luvcats in front of the CMC. If the splatter on the panel is any indication, it was not pretty. It doesn't help that a preview page for issue #4 suggests that the CMC have outlived their usefulness to Chrysalis.
  • Hero of Another Story: While the mane six were dealing with the Changelings, Spike and Princess Celestia were fighting off a horde of giant, magic cockatrices in Canterlot. Also, Princess Luna makes a small cameo at the end holding a map of Manehatten, implying she may have been the one to deal with the giant magical marshmallow pony that Celestia mentioned.
  • Hidden Depths: Fluttershy's knowledge of giant spiders, though its not too surprising being who she is.
  • I Have Your Wife: Queen Chrysalis kidnaps the Cutie Mark Crusaders to force the cooperation of the Mane 6.
  • I Need You Stronger: The trials Chrysalis puts the Mane Six through are meant to strengthen their friendship so their emotions will peak and Twilight will be at her strongest when she drains her magic. This winds up backfiring as Twilight's magic turns out to be much stronger then she realizes. Added with the magic comet amplifying her power and Twilight manages to defeat Chrysalis in a one on one duel.
  • Just Between You and Me: Conversed. As Chrysalis begins to describe what will happen should the Mane 6 miss the deadline, a fillynapped Scootaloo blurts out that she's about to reveal her evil plan to the heroines. Annoyed at the interruption, Chrysalis cuts off communication.
  • Kick the Dog: Or, in this case, Splat the Cat. Invoked by Chrysalis to horrify the CMCs into taking her threats seriously.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In the second issue, a cave troll treats Fluttershy like she were a doll (including one shot that deliberately puts her in the same pose as the MLP "fashion" pony toys) and combs her hair, has rocks that look like Optimus Prime in his "toy" collection, and Rarity makes him some custom pony dolls. Sweetie Belle (watching from Queen Chrysalis's lair) comments that she'd make a cute toy. The whole scene is rather meta, considering the source material.
  • Least Rhymable Word: Pinkie Pie leaves the Changeling minions to come up with a rhyme for "orange".
  • Let's Get Dangerous: After everypony else (sans Pinkie) has been caught by the spiders' web, Twilight declares she'll burst out her magic and fires at the biggest spider, though it only serves to singe it's forehead a little.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Twilight claims that even if Chrysalis drained her of her magic, the Queen still wouldn't be capable of the same kind of magic Twilight could do because Twilight gained her power through focused study. Chrysalis would have power without knowing how to use it. In fact, this appears to be why she loses, despite gaining as much raw power as Twilight does from the comet; she doesn't know how to use it.
  • Mana Drain: Queen Chrysalis intends to drain Twilight of her magic.
  • Mama Bear: They're sisters, really, but Rarity and Applejack are both understandably highly motivated to rescue the Crusaders from the Changelings.
    • When the Mane 6 finally get to rescuing the CMC in issue #4, Rainbow Dash is shown to be protecting Scootaloo as frequently as the above sister pairings. Consider that continuity-wise, this arc pre-dates "Sleepless in Ponyville" where the relationship was made more explicit.
  • Meaningful Background Event: It has this, too. Particularly, in the splash page in the first issue, there's a sneaky changeling right next to Time Turner.
    • Also, in both issues there appears to be a mysterious brown stallion observing the Mane Six, even appearing where he couldn't possibly have gotten to normally. In the crowd of freed ponies in issue 1, when the Mane 6 leave the caves in issue 2, when Twilight Sparkle and Fluttershy are about to fall in the oubliette in issue 3, and when Celestia and Spike join the Mane 6 after Chrysalis is defeated in issue 4.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: In the first issue a bunch of ponies (including the Cutie Mark Crusaders, Silver Spoon, and some background ponies from the show) and various animals have these. Unlike in the show's season 2 finale, these eyes are noticed instantly.
  • Mischief Making Monkey: One of the locations on the map at the end of issue #2 is "Here there be Monkeys", with a subtitle warning visitors to guard their valuables.
  • Mood Whiplash: Has a habit of going from a intense moment to a joke and back again at the drop of a hat. For example during the climax with Chrysalis she gives a speech to Twilight how she's more powerful then ever and that love won't save the group. Then has to stop and yell at her minions that the racket from their fighting with the others is making it hard to monologue, eventually cocooning Pinkie, Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Rarity and Fluttershy single-handily so she can continue.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Twilight can't wait to get back to add to her research on cave trolls.
    Rainbow Dash: Did you just use the words "excitement" and "research" in the same sentence?
    • Similarly with Fluttershy:
    Fluttershy: The vampiric jackalope and the chupacabra are natural enemies. They'll fight for dominance over the rights to eat us. (shot of the other five looking disgusted while Fluttershy is smiling in awe) Nature is so fascinating...
  • Mythology Gag: Not only do we get a Lawyer-Friendly Cameo of the "G1" pony Firefly, on the same page there's a building that says "Est. 1982", the same year the first My Little Pony toys came out.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: the forest the ponies travel through is full of things trying to eat them, leading eventually to Fluttershy's Nightmare Fetishist moment below.
  • Never Say "Die": The death threat on Twilight's friends and the CMC is heavily implied, but they never use the "kill" word.
    • Played straight with Applebloom with a Bowdlerised version of the "I'm Too Young to Die" stock phrase
    Apple Bloom: Ah can't "go" before I get mah cutie mark.
  • Nightmare Fetishist: Fluttershy has a moment of this in issue three when a chupacabra and a pack of vampiric jackalopes battle (presumably to the death) for the right to eat the Mane Six, and Fluttershy watches with captive awe at the "fascinating" creatures.
  • Noodle Incident: Averted, as the reason for Celestia's absence is revealed to be a giant magical cockatrice attack is documented in the 2 page short "In the Interim" of Issue #4.
  • No One Should Survive That: Queen Chrysalis. The end of A Canterlot Wedding suggests a Disney Villain Death, basically falling off a mountain unable to use her wings. This scene is revisited in Issue #3 and shows her hitting the ground face first, yet she and her changelings survive as if it was merely one of Rainbow's crashes, although either the fall or the force of the attack definitely weakened them.
    • Later, she takes multiple magic beams from Twilight, right in the face. At least one of these magic beams is shown to vaporize solid stone. Chrysalis registers the pain and Twilight even talks about it to her friends, but there's no lasting damage until the fifth or sixth consecutive beam. Implying that Chrysalis is just really tough.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: When the Cutie Mark Crusaders aren't interested in cutie marks, you know something bad has happened.
    • Scootaloo turning down an offer to hang out with Rainbow Dash is so upsetting that RD has to tell her friends about it. (Whether she's worried for Scoot, is just nursing her bruised ego, or both is uncertain.)
  • Offscreen Moment of Awesome: Celestia (aided by Spike) had an epic fight defending Canterlot against a horde of giant Coacktrices. The bonus story shows it was a really, really hard battle, and Spike's aid was invaluable against the giant foes.
    • Celestia also mentions a giant marshmallow pony wrecking Manehattan and the rest of the conversation implies she had to take care of many other threats as well.
  • Offscreen Teleportation: It's a three-day journey from Ponyville to the Changeling kingdom, but the Changelings can cross the same distance overnight and show up to hamper the Mane Six as is necessary.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: In issue #3, Pinkie's plan for avoiding themselves getting mixed up with disguised Changelings is to wear costumes of themselves so that they can recognize each other.
  • Parental Bonus: Scoots says she isn't sure she wants a picture of Apple Bloom and Sweetie Belle on her flank for the rest of her life. Any parents or older readers with really unfortunate tattoos can probably empathize.
  • Pity the Kidnapper: Chrysalis has given the Mane 6 three days to find and rescue the CMC, partly because that's when the Comet of Doom will be in position, but mostly because she's already starting to get annoyed by their constant chatter and cutie mark obsession.
  • Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure: Invoked. The Changelings trick the Mane Six into splitting up by disguising themselves as them and creating dissension between them, knowing full well they will inevitably reconcile. Once they do get back together, the love between them peaks and becomes a greater energy source for the Changelings than ever before.
  • Pretend We're Dead: Pinkie Pie tells her friends to act as changelings to avoid notice, by "clearing their mind" and "acting like a zombie".
  • Race Against the Clock: The Mane 6 have to find and rescue the CMC in three days, and it will apparently take three days just to reach the Changeling Kingdom. Secretariat Comet will also be flying over Equestria in three days, which Twilight believes is connected to Queen Chrysalis's plot.
  • Real Men Wear Pink: In the second issue, the mane six comes across a cave troll with a pink heart tattoo who loves ponies.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech: The mane cast gives one to Queen Chrysalis about how she knows nothing about friendship, love or fashion.
  • Revenge: Queen Chrysalis is out for some against Twilight, as she was the one who proved instrumental in derailing the Changelings' plan to conquer Canterlot.
  • Riding into the Sunset: Issue #1, last panel. Parodied since the riders are their own mounts.
  • Sarcasm-Blind: Scootaloo and Spike
  • Schmuck Bait: Spotted by Rainbow Dash, assured that the Queen's plan is just a trap for the Mane Six.
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: A somewhat ambiguous example where Chrysalis and her Changelings are imprisoned in their own castle at the end with the animated Pinkie Pie suit to entertain them (well, entertain the soldiers, annoy Chrysalis). Twilight indicates it will take them " a while" to break out.
  • Serious Business: The "Sorry Cake" in #3.
    Pinkie Pie: Luckily, I always travel with an "I'm sorry" cake! I also have "I am sorry" goodie bags!
    Twilight Sparkle: Uh, Pinkie, I don't think we have time for cake... we are only an hour away from the Changeling kingdom...
    Pinkie Pie: EAT... THE... CAKE.
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!: As the comet is empowering Twilight, she and her friends give Chrysalis a verbal beatdown as Twilight gives Chrysalis a magical beatdown.]]
    Twilight Sparkle: Your motivations are selfish, we fight because we know about things worth fighting for! Love! Friendship! We have things that you can't hope to have! You envy us!
    Queen Chrysalis: Stop... this... nonsense. You can't... defeat me.
    Twilight Sparkle: Ponies who can't do things themselves tell others they can't do it... I can stand up to you. And I can win!!
  • Skewed Priorities: Apple Bloom is more upset about not getting her cutie mark before she is (presumably) to be killed by Queen Chrysalis. Mocked by Scootaloo.
    • Everypony is awed, impressed, and somewhat scared when a magically-uber Twilight takes out the side of the castle wall. Rarity is furious that she ruined the curtains made of the finest silk.
  • Slasher Smile: Pinkie Pie does a face like this in page 9 of Issue 1 complete with a "cut/slit throat" gesture.
  • Slouch of Villainy: Chrysallis has her own Drama Couch in #2.
  • Smart Ball: Pinkie gets it in issue #4, answering the door riddle to the Queen's central chamber.
  • Something Only They Would Say: The Mane 6 are affirmed of the CMCs' identity because of their talk of getting their cutie marks from being fillynapped. Cue deadpan "It's them" from Applejack.
  • Speak Friend and Enter: A trap door in #4 offers the mane 6 a riddle: "How is a pegasus like a writing desk? Can you answer this riddle?" The others are hung up on how a pegasus and a writing desk could be similar, but Pinkie realizes the real answer lay in the fact they couldn't answer the riddle. Doubly hilarious when you realize it's based off "How is a raven like a writing desk", which in fact has no answer...and the closest to canon for answers is a pun using 'nevar', which can't be done with pegasus.
  • Suddenly Voiced: As it turns out Changelings do talk outside of transformations. Issue #2 has one speaking in Snake Talk mid-transformation, and the following issue has one having a full-on conversation with Chrysalis.
  • Sugar Apocalypse: We get a chilling vision of what could have happened to Equestria in the form of what the Changelings do to a peaceful land of cute kitty people they just so happened to land in after "A Canterlot Wedding".
  • Summon Bigger Fish: Pinkie Pie takes care of the giant spiders in issue #2 by bringing in Jim the troll.
  • Super Mode: Remember Twilight's glowing eyes from the series' pilot? The magic of the comet infuses Twilight with even more power, causing her eyes to glow, a powerful aura to form around her, and to float off the ground, ending with a magical burst that defeats Chrysalis.
  • Symbol Swearing: Unfinished versions of page 3 of Issue #1 had the pony partly under a 100 weight use this instead of saying "OUCH!"
    • In issue #2, once the Mane 6 have been set against each other, one panel shows them all shouting at each other, punctuated with a single fancy exclamation point with a dagger set in, Which may or may not be this, depending on your interpretation.
  • Synchronous Episodes: The short in issue #4, "In the Interim" takes place while the events of issues #2 through #4 occur.
  • Tailor-Made Prison: One of the locations on the map at the end of issue #2 is "Ye Olde Oubliette". Twilight and Fluttershy actually fall into it in the next issue.
  • Talking the Monster to Death: Just barely averted. The Cutie Mark Crusaders drive Chrysalis absolutely crackers, then when she implicitly threatens to eat them, they keep it up until she gets physically ill! None of that, though, staves off the final confrontation between Twilight and Chrysalis.
  • Tempting Fate: Used in issue #2 when the ponies are going through an old mine.
    Twilight: Well, hopefully that means no one is here and we can just walk on through with no issues!
    Rainbow Dash: Pfft... saying things like that just means you're begging for something to happen.
  • Title Drop: Scootaloo's assertion on how the Mane Six will recover from being split into pairs, in issue #3.
  • Took a Level in Badass: With a dose of Conservation of Ninjutsu; the rank-and-file changelings are a lot more competent this time around than they were in the show, especially in issue #2.
    • Issue #2 is the first time that the audience gets to see the changelings use something besides direct combat. They are much more dangerous outside of a melee, using indirect attacks to divide their enemies and turn them against each other, without them even realizing that the changelings are attacking them.
  • Trap Is the Only Option: It's obvious that the deadline is part of some greater plot, but the Mane 6 decide they have to meet it anyway.
  • Überwald: The Changeling Kingdom, from what we've seen so far.
  • The Unsmile: Pinkie Pie suggests that they pretend to be like zombies to "blend in" with the Changelings. These suggestions include "clearing your mind", "shambling around" and whatever this horrifying grin is
  • Unsound Effect: KICK! BETTER KICK!
  • Wasn't That Fun?: Exclaimed by Pinkie in issue #3 after falling down a gorge.
  • We Can Rule Together: Chrysalis tries to convince Twilight to join her upon seeing the magic power she possesses. Naturally, Twilight refuses.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Issue 2. The Mane Six split up due to the Changelings' trickery. The issue ends with Twilight bitterly declaring she doesn't need anypony anymore.
    • Issue #3 reveals what Chrysalis actually intends to do and what the Changelings did directly after the events of "A Canterlot Wedding". Those poor cat-things!
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: We never find out the ultimate fate of the luvcats. Issue #3 implies there's still a few left, but they're not even mentioned in the final issue.
    • For that matter, we don't know what became of the Changelings captured in Ponyville. Before the Mane Six set out Twilight mentions to Spike that Celestia will "deal with them", but beyond that the Changeling prisoners get no mention in the story.
  • Wingding Eyes: Several times, notably:
    • Rariry gets a watch-shaped eye, accompanied by a few gears popping out, at the sudden appearance of the spiders in issue #2.
    • When Twilight and AJ are fighting over leadership in #2, AJ gets a dagger in hers, and Twilight a grenade.
    • At the very end, Spike has heart eyes when meeting up with Rarity, as usual.
  • Would Hurt a Child: Queen Chrysalis has made it quite clear that she doesn't intend on letting the Cutie Mark Crusaders leave. Not to mention a luvcat kitten was seen before Chrysalis and her soldiers took over the village.
  • Xanatos Gambit: Queen Chrysalis' plan as revealed in issue #3 has elements of this. Stealing Twilight's magic would of course be her best scenario, but putting the bearers of the Elements against each other, or allowing her minions to have taken over Ponyville would have their benefits too. Further, in issues #4, she forces Twilight to either choose to go free and let the Changelings at her friends and the CMC trapped in their pods, or to have Twilight join her as her servant while letting her friends free. The catch on the latter is that Chrysalis still holds back the friends after Twilight takes this option, anticipating that once she's drained Twilight's love for them, Twilight herself would be the one to destroy them. Chrysalis' plan is only fails when the magic from the comet gives a bigger boost to Twilight than it does to Chrysalis (this is because Twilight's magic studies allow her to focus the comet's boost to it's fullest, while Chrysalis is only obtaining raw, unrefined power), allowing Twilight to defeat her.
  • You Said You Would Let Them Go: Mentioned above in the Xanatos Gambit with a dash of Exact Words: Chrysalis said she wouldn't hurt them if Twilight takes her offer, she never said anything about Twilight doing it once she drained her of her personality.
  • You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Once the Mane Six reach her castle in issue #4, Queen Chrysalis decides she doesn't need to keep the CMC around anymore, mainly just to spare herself any more grief from their chattering. And no, she doesn't intend to just let them go either...
  • Your Answer to Everything: Rainbow Dash to Twilight, upon Twilight suggesting going to the library (in this case to shelter themselves from the infected horde).

    Issues #5- 8 note  

Written by Heather Nufner, Drawn by Amy Mebberson, Colored by Heather Breckel

The Mane Six have been suffering nightmares for a week with no explanation. Pinkie offers to host a sleep-over, hoping the party will chase away the dreams, but they only get worse as a black miasma seeps into the room and gives the six more nightmares. Finding Rarity the weakest, the miasma grabs her away from the others, much to the distress of Spike and even Rainbow Dash is too slow to save her!

Regrouping at the library, Twilight sends a letter to the Princesses, who arrive shortly. Princess Luna reveals that the substance that took Rarity was the same force that had converted her to Nightmare Moon, preying on her desires to please her subjects. When the Mane Six had defeated her, the evil force retreated to the Nightmare Dreamscape on the moon, laying in wait. Luna surmises that the force now wants to take the Element bearers as its own subjects as to create its own nightmare kingdom for itself and its Nightmare creatures. While Celestia promises to wait and help protect Ponyville and Equestria, Luna, the Mane Five, and Spike prepare to set off to rescue Rarity, who is currently imprisoned in the lair of the force, slowly having her will whittled away by the creatures of darkness that inhabit this domain...

The Princesses' combined magic is used to lasso the moon closer to the ground to make the journey less perilous for Twilight and her friends. However, when Spike tries to come along in full armor, the rope snaps, but Luni and the pegasi act quickly to save them all, including Spike's Fire Ruby gem that he had also brought. On the moon, the miasma takes control of the ponies' nightmares from before, but with Luna and Spike's help, each of them recognize their nightmare as a fake and dispel the illusion. The miasma speaks to the group, taunting them and alluding to a secret that Luna has been keeping from the other ponies. However, before the ponies can ask more about it, the miasma pulls back to reveal their new Nightmare Moon, Nightmare Rarity.

Back on Earth, Celestia is preparing things to defend Ponyville from the Nightmare Forces, just in time to see darkness spreading through the land and the unfamiliar shape of the new queen of Nightmares appearing on the moon.

Nightmare Rarity turns out to be a very cold and efficient villain, resisting everyone's attempts to help to get through to her and quickly capturing the Mane 5 so they cannot interfere. Luna escapes back to Ponyville on Twilight's suggestion. Meanwhile, Spike, having been tossed several miles away during the melee, recovers and sets out to free his friends. Covering himself with some strange chameleon slugs, he manages to infiltrate the castle and discover where they're being kept. Before he can find them, however, he suddenly finds himself in a throne room with Rarity asking him to be her King. Though briefly tempted, Spike becomes suspicious when she asks him to forget their friends, and realizes that it's an illusion when Rarity does not recognize the Fire Ruby she gave him. He breaks free of the Lotus-Eater Machine the queen trapped him in and tries to reach out to her once again, but cannot get through. Her Nightmares seize him, and Nightmare Rarity smashes the Fire Ruby to pieces, before announcing that the nightmare has just begun.

Nightmare Rarity takes her forces along with the captured Spike to lead an attack on Ponyville (thus, exterminating anything that could rekindle what's left of Rarity) where Luna has regrouped with Celestia and rounded up the citizens to prepare for battle. However, Spike uses the chameleon slugs to escape, collect the shattered pieces of the Fire Ruby, and regroups with the Mane 5. They figure a way to escape but are left to deal with one of the nightmare forces...

Nightmare Rarity arrives in Ponyville and a large battle ensues, with a nervous Luna leading the call. While they appear victorious against Nightmare Rarity's forces, the villain is able to emotionally ravage Luna and immediately score a direct hit on her, sending a defeated Luna crashing on the ground, much to everyone's horror.

Luna finally reveals her secret: she has always been living in terror that since her bitterness and anger exposed her to corruption once, so she fears becoming Nightmare Moon again herself. Celestia and the other citizens assure her they are behind her, willing to accept her as one of them and that her burden is something she doesn't have to carry alone anymore, making Luna's confidence boost and restoring her mane to its magical wave. The battle continues until Nightmare Rarity reveals that she has captured Spike. At that moment, the Mane 5 and the real Spike arrive along with their guard from the moon, who is revealed to be a uncorrupted creature without malevolence outside of Nightmare Rarity's control, exposed through the power of friendship by the Mane 5. They quickly remove the corruption on the other nightmare forces, and then turn to use the same power on Nightmare Rarity with the help of all their friends. Spike, with the Fire Ruby, provides the last push to revert Rarity to normal, and the evil force that created Nightmare Rarity vanishes. The moon creatures, grateful for their restoration, thank the ponies for their help, and Luna is also grateful for having to face and rid herself of her own fears.

  • Adaptational Badass: Once again, Spike. His physical strength is the same as in the cartoon, but he is way smarter, craftier and competent, being capable to do things that not even Twilight was able to do by herself and easily gaining Dangerously Genre Savvy abilities that allowed him to outsmart Nightmare Rarity and the Nightmares themselves.
    • The entirety of Ponyville and several other familiar faces. For much of the series, the citizens of Ponyville often had to fall on the mane six to help them. Here, they are totally capable of holding their own against the Nightmare Forces until Luna and the mane six step in to deal with the boss. Notable characters include Cheerilee and her students with Babs Seed and the mane six's pets, Trixie (who normally is better at stage magic than combat magic), Granny Smith (who apparently knows karate), and even Octavia Melody's cello sees some action.
  • Adult Fear: The second round of Nightmare Sequences in Issue #5 play on the Mane Six's more personal fears like Twilight being rejected by her mentor and Applejack failing her family.
  • Art Shift: Luna's exposition of her time as Nightmare Moon and her defeat are told in the same style as the storybook in the pilot.
  • Back-to-Back Badasses: During the Nightmares' attack on Ponyville, Cup Cake and Carrot Cake pull this one while they fight the nightmare hordes. Justified, as they are carrying their children on their backs and thus are in full-on Mama Bear and Papa Wolf mode.
  • Batman Can Breathe in Space: The lack of oxygen doesn't seem to be an issue on the moon. Issues #7 and #8 revealed that there's enough plant life on the moon as to provide air and sustenance for animal life.
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: The Nightmare forces are, in their true appearances, both pleasant and pleasant-looking.
  • Big Badass Battle Sequence: All of Ponyville takes on the Nightmare forces when they invade in #8.
  • Bragging Theme Tune: In-universe example: Spike improvises his own hero tune to cheer himself up when he's lost on the moon and later infiltrates the nightmare fortress. The song is also used as part of a Travel Montage to show the freaking long distance Spike has been traveling.
  • Brick Joke: In Issue #7, as the Mane 5 are being captured, Pinkie thanks her captor for "the wiggles!". Turns out, she happened to obtain the key necessary to free them from this wiggling.
  • Cannot Spit It Out: Spike, when confronted by Nightmare Rarity, can't quite bring himself to admit his feelings for her. This is immediately seized on by Nightmare Rarity, who coldly mocks him for it.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Spike bringing the Fire Ruby and his unexplained immunity against the Nightmare Forces are two giant, flashing guns hanging on the wall.
    • In #7, the Fire Ruby helps Spike expose Nightmare Rarity's Lotus-Eater Machine as a lie, since dream!Rarity doesn't recognize it. Also, despite dismissing his attempts to reach her as pointless, Nightmare Rarity keeps the ruby.
    • The Nightmare Forces shatter it right after saying Rarity's still in Nightmare Moon II somewhere and they're trying to crush what's left. After making a Decoy Getaway, Spike collects the pieces, and during the final confrontation against Nightmare Rarity, the broken ruby becomes whole again while Spike delivers the final line that releases Rarity from the Nightmares' control.
    • The silly wiggle dance performed by Pinkie Pie during #7 made no sense until the next issue, where she reveals she did it to get the prison's key from their captor.
    • The Moon Slugs introduced in the #7th issue (and their ability to mimic colors) end up being used by Spike in #8 to create a convincing decoy and cover his escape.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Not Pinkie (for a change), but Rainbow Dash, who suggests using an enlarging ray on her (so she could transport an entire army to the moon all by herself) and a time machine to rescue Rarity. Later she even menctions making explosives made out of duct tape and Applejack's hair.
  • Continuity Cameo: This arc seems to take place during season 3, as Babs Seed and Lightning Dust both make cameos, and Trixie fights to protect Ponyville and speaks to Luna about being given a second (or third) chance in #8.
  • Continuity Drift: Exactly who or what Nightmare Moon and Nightmare Rarity actually are — either a Superpowered Evil Side, Demonic Possession, or something else — is a bit difficult to piece together.
  • Continuity Nod: Luna being a Dream Walker is brought up, she's even described as the "Protector of Dreams" a couple of times.
    • How Luna became Nightmare Moon and how she was defeated by the Elements of Harmony set the basis of the new evil for this story.
    • Further, some rationale is given for Luna's hair and the difference between S1 and subsequent appearances; when she is fearful and anxious about trying to quell her jealously that led her to be Nightmare Moon on her own, her mane is the regular wave, but when she gains the confidence of facing this by Celestia and the other ponies, her mane becomes the glittering style that she's been in since season 2.
    • Rainbow Dash once again pulls off a Sonic Rainboom to try and save Rarity, see Hope Spot.
    • We're reminded once again that one of Twilight Sparkle's biggest fears is being rejected by Princess Celestia.
    • Rainbow Dash mentions Spike's crush on Rarity during #8 and even comments that maybe he will finally tell her how he feels once everything is over.
    • The Fire Ruby returns in #6. In fact, the near final scene of this episode is a thought bubble and used as the final tipping point to de-covert Rarity.
    • The Cloud Gremlins from the Rainbow Dash micro-comic appear in Rainbow's nightmare.
    • Something of a minor Call Forward; the hat Rainbow Dash wears in Fluttershy's nightmare in #6 is the same hat she wears at Twilight's coronation.
      • Also, Rarity is ultimately saved by, quite literally, the light that shines from her true, true friends!
    • Rainbow Dash considers what Daring Do would do in their imprisoned situation.
  • The Corrupter: The Nightmare Forces are this to Rarity
  • Corrupt the Cutie: Played straight with Rarity, completely averted with Spike, as the baby dragon manages to remain loyal to his friends even after being tempted with an ideal Lotus-Eater Machine world.
  • Creator Cameo: An early panel of #7 shows OCs of Sibsy (Wild Fire) and fan musician Mando Pony and a later panel has an appearance from Holly Giesbrech (Holly Dash) among other background ponies in Ponyville.
    • Many of the background ponies that aren't easily identified in issue #8 are OCs of friends of Amy Mebberson, as she confirmed. She provides a rough guide via the following Twitter posts: here, here, here, here, and here.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: The Nightmares were previously beaten by the combined power of the Elements of Harmony. To make sure this doesn't happen again, the first thing the Nightmares do is kidnap Rarity, then make her their new queen to make absolutely sure they can't be beaten the same way.
    • Nightmare Rarity almost immediately tries to turn the Mane 5 against Luna, and when that fails has them captured and imprisoned in separate, magic-nullifying cells. She also stopped Spike's rescue attempt before he even had a chance to implement it.
    • Issues #7 and 8 shows that Spike has reached this level as well.
  • Darker and Edgier: The comics do feature a reasonably darker world that the ponies inhabit, including near open discussion about the mane 5 believing Spike had been killed, along with quite a few other rather dark scenarios.
  • Dark Secret: Nightmare Moon II claims that Rarity has one, which is part of why she choose her to be her new vessel. The secret was an extreme case of low self-esteem and fear of being rejected and forgotten.
  • Decoy Getaway: Spike does this in Issue #8 by getting a bunch of moon slugs to crawl over him, which he uses to make a decoy of himself. Nightmare Moon II and the Nightmare Forces leave him behind to rescue the others thinking he's just trying the silent treatment.
  • Depending on the Artist: Luna sports her Season 1 appearance in spite of the series taking place after Season 2. Colorist Heather Breckel says this is story related, however. Confirmed in issue 8 - when Luna stops being afraid of becoming Nightmare Moon and taps into her true power, her mane etherealizes. Her earlier mane style was apparently a result of her being Willfully Weak.
  • Demonic Possession: The Nightmares have no true form themselves. They possess other beings and corrupt their form to suit their purposes. This includes both iterations of Nightmare Moon, though in their case a little More Than Mind Control was necessary to get the ball rolling.
  • Deus ex Machina: Issue 8. The protagonists cannot use the Elements of Harmony against the villain, but never fear, as their friendship suddenly and arbitrarily "lights them up from the inside" for no reason whatsoever, which proves just as effective.
  • Earn Your Happy Ending: After all the misery Spike goes through he finally seems to share a moment with Rarity in the last panel.
  • Evil Makeover: Just as Luna's Nightmare Moon persona changed her appearance, Rarity gets aged up, darker coat, a diamond on her horn, and a much longer mane and tail. Even her cutie mark changes to be more star-like.
  • Face-Heel Turn: Rarity, who is kidnapped and subjected to More Than Mind Control and Demonic Possession to become Nightmare Moon's successor.
  • Face Your Fears: The mane 5 are all confronted by their nightmares yet again in #6, but are all able to face them with help from each other, as well as Princess Luna and Spike.
  • Fallen Heroine: Rarity, who succumbs to the Nightmare Force's More Than Mind Control to become their new queen.
  • Fatal Flaw: The Nightmares exploit a specific flaw to possess a host, and evidently can't possess anyone else (or, at least, it would be an unacceptable risk). Both Luna and Rarity suffer from self-esteem issues regarding their craft; the night and fashion, respectively. This is what makes them viable targets, even after the other Nightmares suggest that Fluttershy would have been easier to corrupt.
  • Foreshadowing: When Applejack asks why the Nightmare Forces are even interested in the Mane Six, Princess Luna has a brief flashback to an ominous throne room, shakes her head, and then tells them they basically want revenge and make sure the Elements of Harmony don't cause any problems this time around. Issue #5 ends with Rarity tied up to this very same throne.
    • #6 includes several instances of Luna thinking to herself that there's some information she has deliberately held back from the mane 5.
    • Issues #5 and #6 have both shown that, for whatever reason, Spike is neither targeted or even affected by the Nightmare forces. In issue #7, Nightmare Rarity can manipulate his dreams (preying on his desires instead of his fears), but Spike is able to break free after catching on to dream Rarity's uncharacteristic behavior. Nightmare Rarity is not pleased by this.
  • From Bad to Worse: From the first page to the very last one, issue #7 just gets progressively worse: at a point Twilight even assumes that Spike was dead.
  • Gondor Calls for Aid: The fight with the Nightmare Forces see all of Ponyville and even a number of side characters (such as Babs Seed and Trixie) team up against them.
  • Heel-Face Turn: Jerome, the Butt Monkey among the Nightmare Forces. None of the other Forces even knew his name.
  • Heroic BSOD:
    Twilight: Maybe I've been wrong this whole time... The magic of friendship can't save everything... It couldn't save Spike.
  • Holding Out for a Hero: Subverted. Big time. The heroes are captured by the villains? ALL of Ponyville comes together and kicks rump, holding the line until the Mane Six can show up and turn the tide.
  • Hold Up Your Score: Rainbow rates Fluttershy's "shout" to break her nightmare as a 3.4.
  • Hope Spot: Rainbow Dash uses a Sonic Rainboom to try and catch up to Rarity, who has been kidnapped by the Nightmare Forces. They vanish in a puff of smoke just before Rainbow can save her.
    • In #7, Spike seems to briefly get through to Nightmare Rarity, but she shakes it off and sics her Nightmare forces on the group.
  • Hyde Plays Jekyll: Nightmare Moon II disguises herself as Rarity to try to trap Spike in a Lotus-Eater Machine.
  • "I Know You're in There Somewhere" Fight: This is attempted with Nightmare Moon II, several times. Nightmare Moon II insists she's in control the first time, though Spike seems to momentarily get through. The Nightmares privately admit to Spike that Rarity is indeed in there, and they take steps to prevent any repeat incidents. Ultimately, with some help from Luna, a heap of praise and Spike's love, they get through to her completely.
  • Incorruptible Pure Pureness: Spike is unaffected by the Nightmares period and quickly breaks free of the Lotus-Eater Machine Nightmare Moon II traps him in.
  • I'm Not Afraid of You: A large part of the mane 5 dealing with their fears is loudly proclaiming some variant of this to the Nightmare creatures.
  • Internal Homage: Rainbow Dash's nightmare in #6 is basically a re-telling of the events of her micro-series comic if she failed to stop the Cloud Gremlins. They even make a cameo!
  • Interrupted Declaration of Love: In #7, Spike tries to do this to Rarity, but he stutters and is cut short by Nightmare Moon II, who coldly mocks him.
  • Is This Thing On?: Rainbow says this about her own voice when she grows frustrated with everyone else ignoring her.
  • Kick the Dog: Oh God, Spike. As if nearly killing him, and later trapping him into a Lotus-Eater Machine from where he had to give up his heart's desire in order to escape, only to get immediately captured by Nightmare Rarity wasn't enough, the Nightmare Forces crushes the Fire Ruby in front of him.
  • Large Ham: Sporting her Season 1 look hasn't stopped Luna from showing she's the real Princess of Ham.
    Twilight Sparkle: "One more chance" to what?
    Princess Luna: To claim what Nightmare Moon promised - An all powerful kingdom of their own! *said while on her hind legs with a dramatic lunar eclipse in the background*
    • Pinkie Pie turns up the ham when she confronts her nightmares in Issue #6.
    Pinkie: I am the MOST laughter-giving, fun-having, friend-making pony ever! YOU HAVE NO POWER OVER ME!
  • Legacy Character: A new pony takes on the mantle of Nightmare Moon in this Story Arc. It's none other than Rarity after being "convinced" by the Nightmare Forces to become their queen.
  • Lotus-Eater Machine: This is Nightmare Rarity's ability. She tries to use it on Spike, trapping him in an ideal world where Rarity asks him to marry her and together rule as Queen and King. It doesn't work since dream Rarity wants him to forget about their friends and doesn't know what the Fire Ruby means to him.
  • Lunacy: The Nightmare forces draw their power from the moon, and a full moon empowers them enough for one more chance at escaping.
  • MacGyvering: While trapped in the Nightmare dungeon, Rainbow Dash muses that Daring-Do would make a bomb out of duct tape and Applejack's hair to escape.
  • Made of Iron: During the fight against the Nightmare forces, Spike is tossed several miles away and even smashes through a rock mountain before crashing on the ground. This only leaves him bruised and unconscious for a few panels.
  • More Than Mind Control: The Nightmare forces' MO, at least where their queen is concerned. First they talk the pony into accepting them, then they get their hooks in. They convinced Luna that, as Nightmare Moon, she could get everypony to respect her through fear. Then they did the same to Rarity, convincing her that while others might eventually abandon her for someone better, they would always want her help.
  • Misfit Mobilization Moment: Ponyville does this. All of it. When the heroes are captured and the Nightmares are preparing to invade, the town comes together (including characters like Trixie, Snips, Snails, and Granny Smith) and fights back, managing to hold the line long enough for the heroes to show up.
  • Never Mess with Granny: During Ponyville's invasion in #8, a group of Nightmares discovered too late that Granny Smith is way stronger than she looks.
  • Nightmare Sequence: Issue #5 starts with this, and mentions the mane 6 have all had nightmares for an entire week. It's during another one that the Nightmare Forces kidnap Rarity and take her to the moon. In the following issue they are confronted by the same nightmares, but overcome them thanks to each other (with the exception of Rarity, who's still kidnapped, of course).
  • No Sell: Nightmare Moon II easily blocks Luna's first attack, then knocks her out of the sky with no trouble. Once Luna gets her confidence back and transforms into her current look, she loses that advantage.
  • No Title: Unlike the first arc, this one doesn't have a title. Though fans have dubbed it the NightMares Arc for obvious reasons.
  • Out-Gambitted: The Nightmare Forces break Spike's Fire Ruby to try and ensure he can't get through to Rarity...only for Spike to use the fact a bunch of moon slugs were crawling onto him to make a dummy of himself while they weren't looking, tricking them into leaving without him so he can collect the shards of the ruby and then go help the mane six get free.
    Spike: (to himself) Joke's on you-I'm not the only one that loves Rarity, and you're about to find out the hard way! I guess that's what you get when you don't know what true love and friendship are!...That and a couple of slugs in your chariot!
  • Pass the Popcorn: It's easy to miss, but in issue #6 Spike offers Princess Luna some popcorn while Pinkie Pie faces her fears.
  • Power Glows: The mane 5 all manifest magical auras throughout much of #8.
    • Spike has this too, when trying to convince Rarity that she's everything to him and asks her to please come back home. It also seems that this power restores the Fire Ruby.
  • The Power of Love: Well, that and friendship, obviously, but it's mostly love that cures Nightmare Rarity at the end.
    • The final part of this saga heavily implies that this is Spike's personal power, as he gets his own glowing aura and the effect is powerful enough as to fix the destroyed Fire Ruby.
  • Psychological Torment Zone: The moon itself is this, as it's tied to the Nightmare Dreamscape, home of the Nightmare forces.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: When Applejack spots a group of cute Nightmare creatures, the nearest of which have sparkly red eyes, she asks Fluttershy for her opinion on their significance:
    Fluttershy: Possible inherent evil?
  • Retcon: Originally, Nightmare Moon was portrayed to be a Superpowered Evil Side of Princess Luna, then the comic changes it so that Nightmare Moon was the product of the Nightmare forces possessing Luna, though this retcon is based on a Word of God from Lauren Faust saying that Nightmare Moon was the result of corruption by dark magic (whether this magic came from Luna herself or a separate force was never decided on).
  • Rope Bridge: How do the Mane 5, Spike, and Luna make their way to the moon? By lassoing it and pulling it closer to the Earth and using the rope as a bridge.
  • Running Gag: The word "dingus" was used quite often in issue #8.
  • Ship Tease: The Nightmare Arc might as well be called "Secret of My Excess, Part 2" for all the Spike X Rarity moments. For one thing, Spike brings the Fire Ruby, plus Spike is one of the only two characters who could cause a reaction on Nightmare Rarity (the other is Sweetie Belle) and it's Spike who delivers the final line that releases Rarity from the Nightmare's grip. The last panel of the arc's final page also speaks volumes, as Rarity and Spike share a hug under the stars but Rarity is the one who's doing the hugging.
  • Skewed Priorities: Surprisingly, Apple Bloom actually has the sense to point out to Scootaloo that a potential Nightmare invasion may not be the best time to think about their cutie marks, though she does briefly indulge Scootaloo's thought.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Although the other Mane 5 are instrumental in this with their power, it is Spike who ultimately finishes off Nightmare Moon and restores Rarity.
  • Spotting the Thread: When trapped in a Lotus-Eater Machine, Spike realizes it's not real when Rarity tells him to forget everyone else and serve only her, and doesn't fully appreciate the significance of the Fire Ruby.
  • Spanner in the Works: Spike. Again.
  • Stealth Pun: On the moon, Buffy takes Angel's place as Fluttershy's pet companion.
  • Sunglasses at Night: Pinkie briefly in #6, who even wears them on the moon. Rainbow is quick to tell her to take them off when she complains about not being able to see.
  • Tempting Fate: Constantly with the Nightmares toward Spike as they don't see him as a threat. Likewise, Nightmare Moon II proclaims that Spike can't hope to stop her alone. Take a wild guess who throws the biggest wrench into their plans?
  • That Man Is Dead: Subverted with Nightmare Moon II; the Nightmare Forces outright state that Rarity's still in her somewhere which is why they want to have her destroy Ponyville to crush what little is left.
  • This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself: Princess Luna insists that she alone go rescue Rarity, being intimately familiar with the Nightmare Dreamscape. Twilight and Celestia quickly convince her that the other Spirits of Harmony (and Spike) can help, as well. This comes up again in #8, when Luna believes she must defeat Nightmare Rarity herself in order to redeem the sins of her own past. All of Ponyville convinces her that she doesn't have to carry that burden alone.
  • This Means War!: Rainbow Dash jokingly says this to Pinkie Pie at the slumber party when the latter initiates a pillow fight.
  • Too Spicy for Yog Sothoth: Spike is unaffected by the Nightmare forces (their powers, at any rate, he's still quite vulnerable to conventional attack) and when Nightmare Moon II uses her Lotus-Eater Machine ability on him, he quickly deduces that it's not real and escapes.
  • Toilet Humour: In #7, Pinkie Pie tries to jolt Nightmare Rarity's memory by reminding her about the time they were at the spa and Pinkie told a joke so funny it made her fart under the water. This becomes a Brick Joke in #8, as this exact memory is what Pinkie uses to help save Rarity at the end.
  • Travel Montage: To show how far Spike was thrown from the evil tower, he is shown singing to himself while walking across the landscape, but his song and pacing get more weary with each panel until he finally drops of exaustation.
  • 20% More Awesome: The old "20% cooler" line gets referenced in a twisted way; during Rarity's nightmare she sees Rainbow Dash call the saddle bag "Maybelle" made for Twilight "200% cooler". Cue a Single Tear from Rarity.
  • Walking Spoiler: The identity of Nightmare Moon II, so much that we can't refer to the Big Bad of the Arc by her proper name without spoiler tags!
  • Wham Shot: The final page of Issue #6, revealing the identity and form of the new Nightmare Moon.
    Shadowfright: Now the Elements of Harmony will be destroyed and Ponyville will be defenseless! Meet our new Queen... Nightmare Rarity!
  • World-Healing Wave: Of a sort. After the Mane Five get back to Ponyville, they empower Luna with their magical auras, which she then releases as a rainbow wave which eliminates the Nightmares and weakens Nightmare Rarity.

    Issues #9-10: Zen and the Art of Gazebo Repair 
Written by Katie Cook, Drawn by Andy Price, Colored by Heather Breckel

For Big McIntosh, today was supposed to be another quiet day on the farm, but when Granny Smith tells him that the gazebo needs fixing, he finds he's run all out of nails, and needs to make a trip into town. Unfortunately, today's the Summer Wrap-Up Festival, and the fairgrounds stand between him and the hardware store. As he tries to make his way though, Big Mac is waylaid by numerous citizens of town - the Cutie Mark Crusaders on another attempt to get their cutie marks with a fireworks launcher, the Cakes to help him babysit their foals for a few minutes, and even Princess Luna drags Big McIntosh to be her partner for the game events. Eventually, he reaches the hardware store - only to find it both closed down for the fair, and in ruins after being hit by one of the CMC's accidental launches.

Determined to find nails, Big Mac returns back into the fray of the festival, now looking for Lugnut, the hardware store owner, running into more antics from the various Ponyville citizens, as well as avoiding another CMC disaster. As the sun sets, he has yet to find Lugnut, and starts to head for home considering the day wasted. Zecora suggests that he think about all the memories of the rest of the day, and he realizes that while he didn't find his nails, he did have a good time. She also points out that she saw Lugnut back at his store. Big Mac finds him there and learns that the store's supply of nails melted when the fireworks hit it. Lugnut recalls that Apple Bloom should have some to spare, since she took all the nails on the farm to build the CMC's fireworks launcher. He gives Big Mac some nails from the launcher, which he has since dismantled, and promises to deliver some lumber to the farm the next day. A confused Big Mac returns home and finds the gazebo in ruins, the latest and last victim of the CMC's pyrotechnics.

  • Abhorrent Admirer: Sweetcream Scoops to Big McIntosh, as usual.
    • Based on his expressions and thought, he defines Luna as this by the end of #9.
    • Fleetfoot escapes the first aid tent to stalk Big Mac in #10.
    • Tealove joins the fray during #10 as well, and Photo Finish does the same on her own special way.
  • Accidental Dance Craze: Big McIntosh is mistaken as the lead dancer of Sapphire Shores's crew and dragged up her float for her show. Since he's already up there, Mac decides to try looking for Lugnut among the crowds and stands on his hind legs to get a better view: the rest of the dancers copy his movements as the music plays and eventually the entire thing catches on. The dancers decide to call it "The Navigator" and it spreads like fire among Ponyville.
  • A Day in the Limelight: For Big McIntosh.
  • Ascended Meme: Lyra walks away from Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon's advice booth with a thought bubble, a picture of a chair with a red "no" symbol over it. Ever since Lyra's appearance in "Dragonshy" where she's sitting on one of the benches like a human rather than a pony, the fandom has tagged Lyra as wanting to be more human-like or at least sit in more seemingly awkward positions that would be normal for humans but odd for ponies.
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: Not even a strongpony like Mac beats Celestia in hoofwrestling.
  • Big Ball of Violence: Fleetfoot and Tealove get into one over Big Mac. Naturally, he isn't paying attention.
  • Big Eater: During the single-page chart showing Big mac's progression through the fair, he stops at three different food booths, each time eating an absurd amount of food/drink.
  • Breather Episode: After two arcs dealing with supernatural threats, this one just focuses on characters going about their business.
  • Brick Joke:
    • Early in #9, Sweetie Belle mistakenly sets off the fireworks early. It's alluded to that the launch seemed to cause some sort of damage, but only at the end is it revealed that the hardware store Big Mac has been looking for has burned down due to the earlier launch. This is even mentioned by Scootaloo, stating that the fate of the firework "ball" is the "future's problem".
    • The gag itself gets repeated in issue #10, when Snips sets off the CMC's fireworks catapult again. At the end of the issue it turns out that it hit the gazebo Big Mac was trying to repair.
    • On the very first issue, we get a quick view of Time Turner staring at a fobwatch with a surprised expression. On this issue he's back, freaking out about how "the watch is him."
  • Burning with Anger: Big Mac's reaction after failing the ball-throw twice.
  • Butt Pony: Big Mac all throughout the story arc.
  • Call Back: Spike and Angel don their vaudeville-like outfits and fake mustaches (used for narrative in Issue #3) to provide the dramatic cliffhanger (and a terrible pun) for Issue #9.
    • In #10, Big Mac wins a stuffed pony modeled after Pinkie's Paper-Thin Disguise from the first comic arc.
    • Which he then passes off to Fleetfoot, who has escaped from the first aid tent (where she was taken after her crash-landing in #9) and is now stalking him.
    • Derpy apparently now lives in the cocoon she was trapped in back in Issue #1 during the Changeling invasion.
  • Cat Fight: Fleetfoot and Tealove get into one over Big Mac. One panel even has them pose as cats hissing at each other.
  • Chick Magnet: Big McIntosh. Luna herself is charmed by and openly expresses how much she likes him and enjoys his company (although she's too focused on winning the games to display any romantic interest. At least until she spends a ferris wheel ride with him).
    • Clueless Chick Magnet: Big McIntosh never notices the looks and whistles he gets from young mares, famous celebrities and even the Princess of the Night during his search for nails. Inverted in the case of Sweetcream Scoops, which Big Mac states in his internal dialog "DANGER! Abort! Abort!"
  • City of Weirdos: Invoked in the cover for issue #9 by Andy Price.
  • Comically Missing the Point: The CMC, to no surprise. Their first fireworks conflagration flies off into the unknown. Scootaloo's first thought is basically "where are we going to get more fireworks?"
  • Continuity Cameo: Given that this is an issue dedicated to the background characters, these should come as no surprise:
    • Donut Joe is running a stand at the summer fair.
    • Derpy Hooves and Time Turner are next to the Muffins booth which naturally doubles as a Shout-Out to Doctor Who.
    • Octavia Melody and Parish Nandermane have their cart stolen, unknown to them, by the CMC.
    • Lyra is taking advice from Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon about her habits of sitting like a human.
    • Flax Seed, from the Rarity micro-comic, is running a stand, and Roseluck is carrying a bag with the "F&W" (Flax and Wheat) logo that Rarity designed for them.
    • Mr. Waddle announces the start of the games; in continuing from his appearance in "Hearts and Hooves Day", he is apparently a pony of the cloth.
    • DJ Pon-3 is off singing to herself a song on her iPod-like device in issue #9, and DJ-ing the Hoedown in issue #10.
    • Derpy later appears on a sign on Spike's theater prop.
    • One of the barber ponies is Barber Groomsby, who was introduced in one of the more recent "G4" blindbag waves.
    • Cherry Jubilee and other residents from Dodge are on one float.
    • Sapphire Shores is leading a musical act on one of the floats.
    • Peewee the phoenix chick is hanging around with Spike.
    • Photo Finish discovers the beauty of Big Mac as a photography subject.
    • Flim and Flam are trying to sell "Parasprite Away", at a "bargain price" of 5 bottles for the cost of 7.
    • Discord and Queen Chrysalis appear as both part of Spike's figurines, and on a photo posing board.
    • Other appearances include Pipsqueak, Snips, Snails, Wild Fire, Cranky Doodle Donkey, and Rarity's parents. The usual Cavalcade of normal show background ponies (e.g. Sweetie Drops/Bon Bon, Minuette, Golden Harvest, etc.) all appear as bystanders throughout.
  • Continuity Nod: Big McIntosh was called on by the CMC to repair the gazebo from "Hearts and Hooves Day".
    • Trixie has set up a puppet show for the kiddies retelling the Ursa Minor incident in a very different way, mentioned by Big Mac himself.
    • Princess Luna arrives to have fun at the Summer festival, showing that while she still has a few odd mannerisms such as the antiquated speaking style, the lessons of "Luna Eclipsed" have stayed with her.
      • And she even gives a Fluttershy-ism after one rather loud demand to Big Mac:
      Princess Luna: You there, thou hast the appearance of being physically fit and increasing my chances of winning. Come forth. If you don't mind, please.
    • The Cake Twins are still exhibiting extraordinary magic and flight abilities for baby foals.
    • Parade balloons of in-universe fictional characters Daring Do and the Mysterious Mare-Do-Well are part of the parade.
    • Summer Wrap-up starts the next day, including the ponies in their duty vests, a song that matches the phrasing of "Winter Wrap-Up" and a panel that recreates one scene from the show.
    • Big Mac gives a sidelong Death Glare to Flim and Flam.
  • Couldn't Find a Lighter: Sweetie Belle lights the match by striking it against her chin!
  • Crash-Into Hello: Fleetfoot meets Big Mac this way.
    • And in the next issue, Tealove.
  • Crocodile Tears: Spike uses this to guilt trip ponies into buying his merchandise. Given the massive pile of bits behind him, it's been a good strategy for him.
  • Deconstructive Parody: Luna, at least for Big Mac. At first he likes her, but soon her personality wears thin and he sneaks away to continue his search for nails.
  • The Ditz: Sweetie Belle is either this, or indulging in pyromania.
  • Does Not Know His Own Strength: Big Mac tried a "test your strength" machine. It cost him ten bits to repair the broken bell.
  • Easy Come, Easy Go: Exaggerated. Big Mac wins 5 bits playing with horse shoes, only to break the strength hammer swing game, costing him 10 bits.
  • Explosive Stupidity: Pretty much expected with the CMC and their attempts to get their cutie marks by setting off their fireworks. Sweetie Belle eventually does this twice by lighting their stacks as a result of mishearing the code words from the other crusaders. They don't get hurt but they do wind up destroying the hardware store and the gazebo.
  • Expressive Shirt: Luna wears one while competing along with Big Mac during the festival which constantly changes lines like "Blame my sister!", "Dream Girl", and "Best". It's like the artist has a certain fascination with the character. There's even a Stealth Pun in there: "Dream Girl"? She certainly is one.
  • Fantastic Time Management: During the splash page of Big Mac's trip through the fair, he stops by the Science Fair tent. He ends up sucked into a timewarp, saves Ponyville from a bunch of Mutant Apes, then arrives back five minutes before he left.
  • Flying Brick: Luna can pull off a Wheel of Feet with a full-grown stallion lashed to one leg, and she can overpower four mares in a tug-of-war with just her neck (though Big Mac was clearly helping with that one).
  • Fourth Wall Portrait: Andy Price's ponysona draws a caricature of Big McIntosh which looks more like a real-life horse than the cartoon style, which he tries to sell to Mac.
    Big McIntosh: Nope.
  • For Want of a Nail: Big Mac's empty nail box is labeled "'For Want Of' Brand Nails". Also the principle driver for the story as, well, Big Mac needs more nails to fix the gazebo.
  • Funny Background Event: When Big Mac is meandering through the fair on the splash page, you can see signs directing him to the wood crafts tent, where he hopes to find nails. Even a sign mid-way through promises "Nail art" at the tent. When he gets there, all he finds is another sign "Sorry, all out of nails".
    • Fleetfoot's "stalking" of Big Mac in Issue #10, which then extends to Tealove and their eventual catfight over Big Mac.
  • Furry Reminder: The carnival game busker even points out that it's hard for a pony to hold a baseball, and Big Mac has problems throwing it until he resorts to a well-placed buck that destroys the game stall.
  • Game Breaker: In-universe, half of the competitors at the fair are shooting angry looks at Luna and Big Mac, clearly aware that the Princess now has an advantage they can't possibly beat (if they could even beat her to begin with).
    • In issue #10, Celestia is even stronger. Big Mac is hoof-wrestling against her, but despite his own Super Strength, he's straining as hard as he can, and Celestia's just smirking.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar:
    • Coincidence or fandom nod, but Fleetfoot does the infamous "Wing Boner" stance, pounding heart and all, when she notices how handsome Big Mac is.
    • Sweetcream Scoops and her kisses booth. Look at the mountain of gold behind of her.
    • One of the booths says "Guess your weight, age or sex", granted, it is referring to guessing their gender, but still...
  • Hilarity Ensues: When the CMC attempt to get their cutie marks using a firework launcher.
  • Imagine Spot: Fleetfoot has one about marrying Big McIntosh presented as a Time-Compression Montage.
    • Tealove gets a similar montage after she bumps into him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon ask Big Mac why he wears his bulky, heavy yoke all the time, even when he's not doing any farm work.
  • Lame Pun Reaction: The pets to Spike's 'nail' jokes, while he's doing the narrating.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: The Sound Effect "BOOM" when the fireworks go off in the distance appears physical as the CMC hold on to its letters to keep them from flying off from the blast of the explosion.
    • When Nurse Redheart interrupts Fleetfoot's Imagine Spot, she asked Big Mac if she is with Fleetfoot, to which he responds "Nope." In panel, we can see the romantic Thought Bubble of Fleetfoot being punctured by a nail that came out of Big Mac's single-minded balloon, once she hears Big Mac's reply.
  • Love at First Sight: Fleetfoot falls for Big Mac as soon she meets him. The concussion she received after falling from the sky also helped a bit.
    • Same with Tealove. Again, the concussion she got from bumping into him probably helped.
  • Lower Deck Episode: Starring Big McIntosh and the other citizens of Ponyville. While the Mane 6 are present (see Mythology Gag below), they appear in the background.
  • Manipulative Bastard: Spike, in running his "Kissy Kissy Booth + Crafts" stand. He gives a rather sad tale of not being able to sell his homemade figures, not to mention his "debonair smooching", basically conning Big Mac into buying a figure. In a second, Spike quickly affirms no refunds and tosses Big Mac's money on the rather large stash behind him.
  • Masculine Girl, Feminine Boy: Luna and Big McIntosh fit this trope like a glove. While Luna is loud, assertive, athletic and the goddamn Princess of the Night, Big Mac is quiet, shy, polite and very gentle.
  • Meaningful Background Event: Time Turner freaking about his fobwatch, revealing he is The Doctor. Now his previous freakout on the 1st issue watched by one of the Observer Ponies makes more sense.
  • Mondegreen: Sweetie Belle mishears the line "pyrotechnics" as "pirates", the code word to start the fireworks display. Later she mishears the new code word ("Frutie Barks") as "Cutie Marks" and launches another barrage of fireworks. The comic blatantly hints she will do it a third time as the new new code word ("Peaty Mells") sounds almost exactly as her name, though her friends are smart enough to take the matches from her before this can happen.
    • She still manages to do it again somehow by Issue #10, burning down the craft tent.
  • Mundane Made Awesome:
    • The Big Mac/Bulk Biceps conversation.
    Bulk Biceps: Hey you! Are you ready to buff up?
    Big McIntosh: ...Nope.
    Bulk Biceps: Yeah!
    Big McIntosh: ...Nope.
    Bulk Biceps: YEAH!
    Big McIntosh: ...Nope.
    Bulk Biceps: YEAH!
    Big McIntosh: ...Nope.
    Bulk Biceps: Well, okay, you have a nice day!
    Big McIntosh: ...Yup.
    • Luna's desire to win the Summer fair games. When she takes off her hoofboots and ties her mane into a pony tail, you know she's serious.
    • Celestia is easily winning a hoof-wrestling match with Big Macintosh.
  • Mythology Gag: During Mac's rounds through the fair, the reader can see Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, Rarity, Fluttershy, and Twilight mentioning some off-screen adventure to their friends and family. It involved a lot of bees, a giant beehive and a "Sun Stone" - all part of the plot of "The End of Flutter Valley" series of episodes from My Little Pony 'n Friends.
  • News Travels Fast: When Big Mac is dragged into performing as one of Sapphire Shores' dancers, he instead continues to look around for Lugnut - unaware that the dancers are all following his lead. By the time he gets to the hoedown later that day, his new "dance", the Navigator, has become the latest sensation among all the Ponyville citizens.
  • Nopony Poops: Averted, as Pound needs a diaper change when Mr. Cake foists the twins onto Big Mac. A toilet seat can be seen among the rubble of the destroyed hardware store, too.
  • Noodle Incident: One of the booths that Big Mac visits in one of the splash pages is a science booth, where he somehow travels in time to save Ponyville from mutant apes and is returned five minutes before he left.
  • Odd Friendship: Big Mac is a quiet, shy farmer who gets picked by Luna (The Princess of the Night herself) as her teammate for the games. They form a surprisingly good team, as they both steamroll their oponents during the games, thanks for an unexpected great chemistry (they even win a syncronized swimming contest) that makes them enjoy the games and have a helluva of a good time. Big Mac even seems to forget his quest to get nails for a while. However, it's subverted by the end: Mac's first thought when Luna isn't looking is to sneak away from her and get those nails.
  • Pictorial Speech Bubble: Throughout, Big Mac's need for a nail is illustrated simply by him thinking of a picture of a nail.
  • The Quiet One: Though an established character trait for Big Mac, his thoughts that provide the story's narration are much more detailed while his actual spoken words remain extremely terse.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: The quiet and shy Big Mac forming a team with Luna, the explosive Princess of the Night. She absolutely adores the experience, which contaminates Big Mac a bit.
  • Schmuck Bait: The "Test Your Strength" booth with Princess Celestia there to hoof-wrestle all comers. Even Big Mac's Charles Atlas Superpower attempt doesn't do more then make her smirk at him.
  • Self-Deprecation:
    Spike: Is this really going to be a two-part story?
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Big Mac wasn't out of nails, Applebloom had just hoarded them all in her clubhouse. What's more, the gazebo ends up completely wrecked by one of the Crusaders' balls of fireworks. Then subverted when Lugnut and Big Mac are shown fixing the gazebo with the Crusaders' help in the black and white slides.
  • Ship Tease: Luna plants a kiss on Big Mac's cheek during a ferris wheel ride. Also, when he meets up with Cheerilee, the first thing she does is give him a very affectionate hug.
  • So Long, Suckers!: The Cakes ask Big Mac if he could either watch the foals or deliver the cake. Big Mac gives a moment of hesitation, enough time for the Cakes to thrust the foals at him and run off with the cake, laughing and shouting "FREEDOM!".
  • Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion: Played with. Zecora has to stop briefly while talking with Big Mac to come up with a proper rhyme when she next speaks.
    Zecora: You'll have to excuse me and give me pause/I have to think of a rhyme for my next clause.
  • Unwanted Harem: By the end of the story arc, Big Mac gets no less than three mares to fall for him, completely by accident.
  • Wheel of Feet: Luna at the start of the 7-legged race.
  • When I Was Your Age: Granny Smith's rant.
  • Zen and the Art of X

    Issues #11-12: Neigh Anything 
Written by Katie Cook, Drawn by Andy Price, Colored by Heather Breckel

A story focused on how Shining Armor and Princess Cadance became a couple. The story takes homage to 1980s teen high school comedies, and the title itself is a parody of Say Anything.

A week prior to the Summer Wrap-Up and Hoedown, the Mane 6 are enjoying tea with Shining and Cadance, when the question of how they met comes up. Shining starts to explain that in Canterlot Academy, he was a bit of a nerd along with his friends Poindexter, Gaffer, and 8-bit. After a scuffle with the polo team captain and local bully Buck Withers, Shining sees Cadance up close for the first time, and immediately falls in love. The beauty of Cadance leaves Shining love-struck, and his three friends agree to help Shining win over Cadance's hoof for the next school dance. They first arrange to have Cadance foal-sit Twilight to help get Shining to meet her outside of school. Then, during the big pep rally, the group perform an epic song in front of the whole school to show off Shining's personality. While Cadance seems pleased with the song, Buck quickly ridicules the group with the rest of the school following suit. They come with the idea to sabotage the polo match to make Buck storm off in a huff leaving Shining free to ask Cadance. However, their sabotages only serve to allow Buck to win the match. Shining is heartbroken as Buck asks Cadance to the dance.

At this point in the present, Cadance takes over the narrative, asserting that Shining might have exaggerated a few things. Telling her side of the tale, Cadance reveals that she was similarly in love with Shining at first sight, and with filly Twilight's help during foal-sitting, assured she and Shining were a perfect match. She was more infatuated with him from his parade song, and annoyed at Buck's attempt to shut them down. After overhearing the sister of one of Shining's friends mention Shining's crush on a certain mare, Cadance fears that Shining won't ask her to the dance, and accepts Buck's offer. As she is getting ready with her own friends, she admits that she would rather be going to the dance with Shining, and will try to ditch Buck at the first chance. Meanwhile, Shining and his friends plan a complicated ruse to distract Buck to allow time for Shining to approach Cadance.

At the dance, Cadance sees Shining with his "date", a crossdressing Poindexter, and realizes she can easily go through with her plan, and dumps Buck then and there; Buck realizes that she's about to go off with Shining. With Gaffer and 8-Bit using harnesses from the gym's rafters to annoy Buck, Shining and Cadance are able to have their moment together. Cadance and Buck are unsuprisingly announced as the Queen and King of the dance, and Buck rubs this into Shining's face. However, before he can dance with Cadance, Shining and the rest of the student body stand up, showing how much a bully Buck has been and that Shining is the better pony for Cadance. Shining tricks Buck into one of the harnesses, leaving him high aloft as Cadance and Shining enjoy their first dance and kiss together.

In the present, the Mane 6 are happy with the story, but wonder what happened to Buck. Shining reveals - just as Buck walks into the tea room to the shock of the others - that he's gotten much better since high school.

  • Acme Products: Several of the tricks Shining and his friends use on Buck are Acme Products.
  • Adorkable: Shining and his friends.
    • Add Cadance and filly Twilight as they prepare to do detailed calculations on the compatibility of Shining and Cadance.
  • Affectionate Parody: Of the 80s, the whole comic is chocked full of 80s references and even parodies 80s romantic-comedy plots a little.
  • All There in the Manual: Word of God states that Buck's right-hoof stallion, the yellow-coated one, is named Flank Thrasher, with a cutie mark that consisted of a band-aid with a "pow" explosion-type effect behind it (this can be made out in some panels, but it's not fully well-defined).
  • Anachronic Order: Applejack mentions the Summer Wrap-Up festival, setting of the previous story arc, is right around the corner.
  • Attractiveness Isolation: Played straight for Cadance. Unfortunately, it was Buck that asked Cadance out first, and since she didn't turn him down enough, she still ended up going with him.
  • Background Halo: Cadance gets one when she helps up Shining Armor.
  • Bait-and-Switch Comment:
    Twilight: Was he a complete dork?
    Cadance: should know better.
    Shining: Thank you for coming to my defense, my sweet.
    Cadance: He's always a bit of a dork.
  • Bland-Name Product: "Honey Dew", "Oubliettes and Ogres", "Hocus Pocus: The-Get-Together".
  • Call Forward: "We are going to live happily ever after in a crystal castle. I can see it clearly..."
    • Shining performs a musical number to get nominated for King of the Fall Formal. His sister eventually did the same thing to get nominated for Princess of a different Fall Formal.
  • Character Development: Shining Armor, who many fans have consider getting much more development in just the first issue of the arc than any of his appearances in the show. Gaffer notes that Shining has no character and needs to show off in front of the school.
  • Continuity Cameo: Taking place when Twilight was a filly while at Canterlot, a number of other established characters are used the flashback.
    • The nerd pony (first seen in "Putting Your Hoof Down") is one of Shining's schoolfriends, though with brown eyes instead of blue ones and named Poindexter instead of Gizmo (his trademarked name from Enterplay's Collectible Card Game demo).
    • One of the game figurines is Jim the Troll from Issue #2.
    • A filly Vinyl Scratch is seen gaining her musical note cutie mark while watching Shining's song atop her brother (who is named in Issue #12 as 33-1/3 LP).
    • 80s Cheerilee appears as a spectator at the parade, and in the yearbook if you have issue 11's Cover A.
    • Mayor Mare, a student with her pink mane, comments to Cheerilee about not wanting to go into politics.
  • Continuity Nod: Take this with a grain of salt, as Shining Armor is a self-professed Unreliable Narrator.
    • A box in storage of the basement where Shining and friends play their game has "Winter Wrap-Up Vests" written on the side.
    • Cadance's foalsitting flyer states that she is referred by Celestia, referencing the details of Cadance's story outlined in Twilight Sparkle and the Crystal Heart Spell.
    • Twilight Velvet (Twilight and Shining's mother) is implied to be the award-winning author of the Daring Do books, or possibly an award named after Daring Do. (Her blindbag card does say she loves to write about adventures.) A season 4 episode, "Daring Don't", reveals that A.K. Yearling is actually Daring Do herself. It's more likely Twilight Velvet writes side stories, or is possibly her publisher.
    • One of the sponsors for the school game is "Quills & Sofas".
    • Applejack's comments imply that the visit with Shining Armor and Cadance is set before the events of the last two comics. Even at the end of #11, we jump to Spike and Angel in their busker outfits from that arc, and appearing to have watched Shining's flashback through a penny arcade, while Big Macintosh is in the background looking for nails.
    • The origin of Twilight and Cadance's "Sunshine, sunshine..." chant is shown to be based on a schoolyard secrecy oath. Likewise, Pinkie is the only one who understands how important it is to keep a promise.
    • Celestia has a journal called "Progress on Sunset Shimmer"; as this story likely takes place before the events of "The Fall of Sunset Shimmer" (due to a background shot of Cadance, Shining, and filly Twi together in that short), this would still have Sunset as Celestia's private student.
    • When Cadance and Shining first kiss after ridding themselves of Buck, their horns touch, creating a heart-shaped aura.
  • Could Have Avoided This Plot: If Twilight and Cadance hadn't made a promise to not tell Shining about their night of list-making, he would have known Cadance returned Shining's feelings much earlier. Shining is not one bit pleased with this.
  • Creepy Crossdresser: Poindexter, not only in the cheerleader's outfit, but that he dresses up as Boy George for the show, wears his mother's turtleneck for snooping around, and in the 2-page short, plays a female elf-pegasus character. This goes Up to Eleven when he goes as Shining's date to the dance, fully in crossdress.
    • The last one was more Dragged into Drag however as it's mentioned it was punishment for not returning a tabletop role-playing figure to one of Shining Armor's group. He does, however, say several times that he "feels very pretty" while in drag.
  • Crazy Jealous Guy: Buck Withers. He turns the crowd against Shining Armor and Co.'s performance because Cadance liked it, and when Cadance leaves him at the dance to talk with Shining Armor, and tries bullying him until Cadance comes back.
  • Damned by Faint Praise: When trying to let down Buck gently, Cadance says "I just don't deserve a guy like you!" She's right; only if she did something truly awful would Cadance deserve to have somepony like Buck as her special somepony. Buck doesn't take long to realize what she's done.
  • Easily Overheard Conversation: Cadance overhears the sister of one of Shining's friends talking the Cheerilee about Shining having a crush on an unnamed mare. Cadance takes this as a sign that Shining doesn't love her.
  • The '80s: It's dripping with this. And Cheerilee wasn't kidding when she said all the fillies were wearing their manes like that.
  • Empathic Environment: In #12, as Buck moves to ask Cadance first to the dance before Shining, dark storm clouds start to move in. Called forward from #11, that after seeing Buck ask first, Shining walks off under a torrent of rain created by these clouds.
  • Epic Fail: Hilariously subverted.Shining Armor's flubbed attempt to say goodbye to Cadance appears this way. The subversion comes when the sheer magnitude of the failure warps in upon itself, and Cadance instead sees it as incredibly endearing and falls madly in love with him.
  • Everyone Went to School Together: A lot of the older ponies in the show apparently went to Canterlot Academy. This picture alone shows Shining Armor, Cadance, Cheerilee, Thunderlane, Soarin', Lyra Heartstrings, Caramel, Minuette, Wheat Grass, Moondancer, and other familiar ponies all attending school at the same time.
  • Flashback: Save for some framing set in the present, the story is told in Shining's flashback.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Shining Armor and Cadance get together by the end.
  • Furry Confusion: Polo is the big sport at Canterlot Academy. Of course, in this case, the ponies are the actual players rather than the mounts the players ride.
    • In the 2-page short, 8-Bit's dwarfen character - visualized as a shorter pony - asks about getting mounts.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Shining Armor's song for Cadance is an obvious rewrite of Oingo Boingo's "Little Girls," a rather blunt song about pedophilia.
    • Shining Armor carries his dice in a purple bag with gold cords that is quite obviously a Crown Royal whiskey bag, famous among gamers for this very use.
  • Gibberish of Love: Shining when first meeting Cadance, who takes his babbling as a sign that he hurt his head and should go see the nurse. Invoked again when Cadance and Shining meet at the dance, luckily Cadance finds it kind of endearing.
    Cadance: I think, by the end of the night, we'll be able to work you all the way up to coherent sentences.
  • Happily Ever After: Cadance finishes her story with this. Shining Armor is quick to disagree, because the past tense implies they aren't living happily together every day.
  • Hidden Depths: Shining Armor plays Equestria's version of Dungeons & Dragons and plays the flugelhorn. He also plays Equestria's counterpart to Magic: The Gathering.
  • Imagine Spot: Shining Armor gets one thinking about his future with Cadance. Cadance also has one during her version of the events.
  • Internal Homage: One panel in #11 has Spike and Angel, viewing the events of Shining Armor's flashback while the events of #9-10 are still going on.
  • Insecure Love Interest: Cadance invokes this to get away to be with Shining Armor. She's actually as confident as they come, but is too kind a pony to even tell Buck to screw off. Buck, however, sees through this a few moments later.
  • Jerk Jock: Buck Withers, the main obstacle between Shining and Cadance. Even Princess Celestia can't stand him, telling Cadance to ditch him as soon as she gets the chance.
  • Just Friends: Cadance, who has no interest in pursuing a relationship with Buck, uses this to turn him down without being too mean. Unfortunately, Buck just smart enough to realize what she's doing, so she has to be more blunt later on.
  • The Libby: Subverted with Cadance, who goes to check on Shining and his friends after they're tripped and is genuinely concerned that Shining's Gibberish of Love means that he's hurt his head.
  • Love at First Sight: Shining for Cadance.
  • Lower Deck Episode: For Cadance and Shining Armor.
  • Ludicrous Precision: Twilight has the delivery date for Shining Armor's gift narrowed down to the minute. She must be really confident in the postal system.
  • Mars-and-Venus Gender Contrast: Shining and his friends, and Cadance and her friends, are shown separately getting ready for the dance. With three hours left, the stallions are all ready and decide to engage in a round of HocusPocus: The Get-Together, while mares panic they have only three hours left to get ready.
  • Mocking Sing-Song: Twilight when she realizes Cadance has a crush on Shining.
    Twilight: You liiike him! You think he's cuuute!
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Cadance and Twilight on taking notes. I mean, Good Lord! Listen to them!
  • My Little Phony: Filly Twilight had a "My Tiny Gecko" poster.
  • Nerd: Shining Armor and friends.
    • And surprisingly enough Cadance, who seems to best filly Twilight in being prepared for an assignment, has "37 different colors of paper" for her label maker, and carries an abacus in case she needs to work out percentages for a pie chart. Needless to say, the two quickly bond.
  • Opinion Flipflop:
    • The crowd to Shining and Co's performance at the parade. At first the crowd follows Cadance in applauding the song, then the polo captain starts mocking them, causing the crowd to follow suit.
    • Cadance confides in Celestia how she'd rather be the date of Shining Armor rather than Buck for the dance. Celestia tells her niece how she's still obligated to try to enjoy her time with Buck and to pursue Shining Armor later... that is, until Buck arrives and opens his mouth. Celestia then whispers to Cadance to dump him at the first chance she gets.
    • At the dance, Buck is voted as the king. But then he starts gloating and revealing his jerkass nature to everyone. The crowd soon turn on him, labeling his bullying actions compared to Shining's generous nature through the semester.
  • Origins Episode: Focuses on teenage Shining Armor and Cadance and how they eventually fell in love.
  • Pair the Spares: In the present, we see that Buck ended up with Cadance's friend Lemony Gems.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Poindexter, who is dressed as Shining Armor's date largely as part of a plan to woo Cadance. Most of the ponies, inculding Cadance, manage to see right through it (though it's a relief to her as it dispels any notion of Shining Armor already having a girlfriend.)
  • Serious Business: The playground promise Twilight and Cadance make with the former swearing not to tell Shining Armor that Cadance really does like him. Twilight sticks with it until Cadance eventually tells her side of their love story long after they've married. Naturally Pinkie agrees when Shining asks his sister why she didn't bother telling him sooner.
  • Schizo Tech: One of Shining's friends is named 8-bit with a Space Invaders cutie mark, showing that, like with "Hearts and Hooves Day", video games likely exist in Equestria.
  • Something Else Also Rises: Cadance's reaction to Shining's performance has leaning fully on her front hooves staring ahead, her heart beating out of chest (in cartoon fashion), and her wings fully open (a possible Ascended Meme reflecting a "wingboner").
  • Springtime for Hitler: All of Shining and his geeky friends' efforts to sabotage Buck only make him look good.
  • Stalker with a Crush: Cadance has shades of this, imploring Twilight to tell her every relevant bit of information about Shining Armor.
  • Stylistic Suck: Shining Armor's childish, crayon-drawn Imagine Spot (this was actually drawn by one of the staff's children).
  • Super OCD: Twilight and Cadance both exhibit this, spending an entire night making a variety of lists and charts just to determine that Cadance and Shining are meant to be together.
  • Switching P.O.V.: Issue #11 shows events from Shining's point of view; Issue #12 shows some of the same events, but now from Cadance's side. Eventually both stories combine at the dance.
  • Tacky Tuxedo: Shining and friends. More specifically, Shining's might as well be the trope image for this, 8-bit's in a brown plaid, and Gaffer's in a tuxedo tee-shirt.
  • Took a Level in Kindness: Buck in the present.
  • True Companions: Shining Armor's friends who more then willingly try to help him woo Cadance.
  • Two Scenes, One Dialogue: Both Shining and Cadance's groups concoct plans to get Shining and Cadance together at the dance, if for entirely different reasons. The stallions genuinely want Shining to get his happy ever after, while the mares just want a shot at Buck Withers for themselves.
  • Unexpected Character: So, how do Shining and Candance get together? With a little help from Sam (as Gaffer) and Al.
  • Unreliable Narrator: Shining embellishes how suave he was in his first meeting with Cadance. In reality, he was too lovestruck to utter a single word. This apparently runs in the family, as Cadance calls him out on his exaggeration of the story at the end of #11. Twilight then reveals that Shining and Twilight's dad exaggerates the story even more.
  • Unsound Effect:
    • "Insert bowling pin sound effect HERE"
    • Bonding!

     2013 Annual 
A collection of shorts based around the My Little Pony: Equestria Girls movie.

The Fall of Sunset Shimmer
Written by Katie Cook, Art by Andy Price, Coloring by Heather Breckel

An eight-page Prequel that details the origins of Sunset Shimmer. The short was initially published in the 2013 San Diego Comic-Con exclusive variants of Issue 9.

Sunset, some time before Twilight's entrance to Celestia's school, is Celestia's star pupil, and though talented in magic, remains extremely selfish and vain. One day, Celestia shows her the magic mirror, though does not describe its function. Sunset sees herself as a powerful alicorn princess in its reflection - and then perhaps something darker - and becomes fascinated with what the purpose of the mirror was, hounding Celestia for answers. Celestia refuses to give these, and starts to see the greed and selfishness in Sunset. Getting nothing from Celestia, Sunset breaks into the Dark Magic section of Canterlot library, learning not only the mirror leads to another world, but that there is magic to make a pony into an alicorn. Celestia arrives with her guards on hearing this; Sunset demands that Celestia make her a princess, but Celestia refuses, asserting the title is something earned, which she has been trying to teach Sunset. Celestia denounces Sunset as her pupil, and has her guards escort her out of the school. Sunset manages to escape and makes her way through the mirror. Realizing she made another mistake as with her sister Luna, Princess Celestia has the mirror moved to her throne room as a reminder of her mistake and in hopes Sunset would return. On the other side, Sunset, now a human, starts to see an advantage of this new world...

  • Call Forward: Sunset's hair when she unleashes her plant growth spell in school takes on a fire-like appearance. Later, when she looks in the mirror, after seeing herself as an alicorn, she then is briefly entranced by a figure that seems to be standing in the middle of fire, before Celestia pulls her away. Both allude to her appearance in the film after she dons the crown and becomes a demon.
  • Continuity Cameo: Lyra Heartstrings, Minuette, Lemon Hearts, and Twinkleshine appear (and of the same age as Sunset). These are the same ponies that tried to be friendly to Twilight Sparkle early on in the pilot episode of the TV series.
    • Among the aforementioned group of background ponies is one who looks like an updated version of "G1" Moondancer. This pony is most likely the Moondancer who was mentioned but never shown in the pilot.
    • Filly Twilight can be seen along with the younger versions of Princess Cadance (with ponytail) and Shining Armor in the background after Sunset passes her test.
  • Continuity Nod: The story starts with Sunset taking a similar test as Twilight as an entrance exam to Celestia's school - and causes similar type of destruction (though this caused by a plant growing out of control instead of a giant Spike). Unlike Twilight, however, Sunset does it on purpose and with a clear lack of concern for the damage she's causing.
  • Dramatically Missing the Point: Much like Twilight at first, Sunset doesn't see the need for friends and doesn't really listen to Celestia's attempts to lecture her on the subject, even though she would have gotten exactly what she wanted if she did.
  • Hypocrite: Sunset calling Celestia selfish for keeping her from her destiny. Just look at the tropes below and ask yourself who the selfish one is here.
  • It's All About Me: Sunset Shimmer, full stop, constantly believing that she deserves power and recognition.
  • Jerk Ass: Sunset clearly is this at the start; her fall from grace certainly doesn't help matters.
  • My Greatest Failure: Princess Celestia is indirectly reminded of being forced to banish Nightmare Moon, and keeps the mirror in her throne room once Sunset goes through, both as a reminder and in hopes she may return someday.
  • Mythology Gag: A piece of paper laying by the portal on the human world side announces the upcoming dance, with inquiries to be made to Megan, Danny, or Molly — the human protagonists of the various "G1" cartoons. The dance is also called the Sundance, which was the name of a "G1" pony.
    • Speaking of "G1" humans, one of the books in the Dark Magic wing of the library is titled "Who was Megan?"
    • Two additional books in the library are the "History of Aquastria", and "Sea Ponies".
  • OOC Is Serious Business: Princess Celestia is shown several times with barely-contained rage against Sunset's increasingly self-serving behavior, at one point instantly ruining a picnic they were having when she's fed up by Sunset's pestering about the magic mirror.
  • Origin Story: By definition, describing how Sunset Shimmer fell out of Princess Celestia's grace and found the mirror to the human world.
  • Single Tear: Celestia does this as part of the title banner. As Season 4 flashback shows, this is accurate.
  • Villain Protagonist: While more of a Jerkass than a villain, Sunsit Shimmer fits this trope.
  • When Trees Attack: As part of a mid-term exam, the students have to perform a spell on a plant. One student's attempt conjures a living bonsai tree that tries to grab her. Sunset's attempt causes more property destruction, but doesn't harm anyone.

Main story
Written by Ted Anderson, Art by Tony Fleecs

The story is prequel to the Equestria Girls film. While most of the story is told in flashback, and with an uncertain timing with the short comic, the present of this story happens after the short, as Sunset Shimmer is present in her human form.

The Humane Five are briefly describing their first few days experience at coming to Canterlot High to a camera for an interview with the school paper. While Rainbow and Fluttershy were friends before from Cloudsdale Junior High, they didn't know about the others before. Though they all meet at the Freshman Fair and share classes together, they still struggled with getting to know one another.

Pinkie Pie struggles with finding a club that she really enjoys, even after trying them all, while Rainbow Dash is desperate to be the star player for the Wonder Colts soccer team but difficult to play as a team member. Meanwhile, Applejack finds that her cousins Babs Seed and Sunflower are also at the school, but they are quick to ridicule her country duds and her drawl. Both, however, quickly warm up to Rarity, who has established herself as the school's fashion expert. Rarity finds the two are quick to ostracize others that don't fit into the clique, including Fluttershy who is worried about the health of Sunflower's dog but unable to get a word in edgewise to let her know, and Rarity wonders if she has fallen into the right crowd.

At the first soccer game of the season, Pinkie talks to Vice Principal Luna about starting a glee club, her true calling, who allows her to go through with it. Pinkie gets Fluttershy to help to distribute fake pony ears to the crowd to help cheer on the team. When Fluttershy approaches Babs and Sunflower, she still sees Sunflower's dog is sick and speaks up. The two chew Fluttershy out until both Rarity and Applejack call them out as bullies, and join in helping Fluttershy distribute the ears. The cheering helps to lead the team to victory, with Rainbow Dash allows the team captain Spitfire to make the winning goal. The five become close friends throughout school.

At the conclusion of the interview, the reader finds these have all been performed by Sunset Shimmer, who is gathering information on their friendship.

  • Age Lift: Babs, of all characters, appears as the same age as Applejack and the other Mane 5, based on height and the fact they're in the same school (with AJ as a freshman). Mind you, the other CMC, as well as Diamond Tiara and Silver Spoon, also appear as background characters with the age-up they had from the film but obviously younger than the Mane 5 or Babs, which raises several questions on aging and timing in the Equestria Girls world.
  • Alpha Bitch: Before there was Sunset Shimmer, there was Sunflower.
  • Continuity Cameo: In addition to those BG characters that appears in the film (including Big Mac, Granny Smith, Trixie, Vinyl, Photo Finish, and of course Derpy) additional BG characters from the show appear in human form, including Octavia, Bon-Bon, Spitfire, Soarin', Ms. Harshwhinny and Babs Seed.
    • The Cloud Gremlins from the Rainbow Dash micro-comic, which Tony Fleecs also worked on, appear in humanized form here.
  • Continuity Nod: Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash knew each other from "Cloudsdale Junior High", mirroring the fact that the two, as ponies, were in flight school together.
    • Pinkie Pie goes about the school to advertise her glee club as a one-man band, similar to her one-pony band in "Swarm of the Century" and "Magic Duel".
    • At the end of the interview, Rainbow Dash notes that their friendships formed due to some "spark", a nod to Twilight's line from the second episode about how the Elements of Harmony worked together.
  • Evil Counterpart: Unlike the pony version, human Babs Seed has no redeeming qualities and is just a straight bully.
  • Narrator All Along: The interviewer is left ambiguous until the final page reveals its Sunset Shimmer, though you may catch on to this early on in the first page as you can see her yellow hand.
  • Series Continuity Error: A pretty glaring one at that. In the Equestria Girls movie we see Twilight flipping through a photo album depicting the Humane Five as having been friends prior to high school given their appearance. It's pretty jarring to say the least.

    Issues #13-14: My Little Pirate: Friendship Ahoy 
Written by Heather Nurfer, Art by Brenda Hickey, Coloring by Heather Breckle
Fluttershy is afraid to return a fish, Gil, back to the ocean after she helped nurse it back to health, and the rest of her friends and Spike decide to help her out, making it a beach trip to Horseshoe Bay. While the others enjoy the fun in the sun, Fluttershy lollies over releasing Gil, until the sudden arrival of a pirate ship washes ashore and sends Gil into the ocean. The ship's captain, Hoofbeard, disembarks and asks the mares about any ready stallions for joining his crew to search for treasure on the mysterious Gallopinghost Islands. Rainbow Dash and the others asserts they are just as capable, and Fluttershy is quick to join, hoping to find Gil. Twilight remains skeptical until Hoofbeard points out that only a skilled navigator will be able to meet the challenge of getting to Gallopinghost to find a valuable jewel via the Map of the Wandering X, a challenge Twilight quickly accepts.

Their first stop is an old sea town, where Hoofbeard tells the Mane 7 that they need to recover the map to Gallopinghost from his old crew that abandoned him. With Fluttershy strangely wanting to stay behind, and Spike acting as Hoofbeard's "parrot", AJ offers to stay behind, suspicious of Hoofbeard's motivation, particularly his need to unload numerous messages in bottles into the ocean. While Fluttershy secretly finds and recovers Gil, AJ makes a special pineapple juice truth serum and gets Hoofbeard to explain himself: that the failure to get the treasure at Gallopinghost will be a one-way ticket to Wavy Jones' locker.

The other four head to an old bar and find Hoofbeard's crew. Rainbow Dash is immediately enraptured by real pirates, and gets the group into a scuffle, and the pirates briefly toy with the idea of holding Princess Twilight for ransom before she puts them in their place with her magic. Foiled, the crew explain that when they were part of Hoofbeard's crew, the "X" on the map literally wandered, and Hoofbeard was driven mad to keep chasing it down. The crew thus stole the map, and because it was indestructible, threw it in the pit of a nearby creature. One of the crew leads them there, revealing the map now guarded by a ghost of a giant crab.

It turns out the crab is really just a scavenger that drank too many energy colas, and with Pinkie's friendly help, they calm the beast, long enough to get the map and discover one of Hoofbeard's messages that appear to to vow to meet an unknown agent in the future. Back on the ship, they find Hoofbeard remains secretive of his goals, and worry more when, following the map, they leave themselves in the area of the sea without wind, stranding them. Twilight convinces the Mane 6 mutiny and take control of the ship, with the pegasi helping to provide wind to get them back to Ponyville. Fluttershy talks to Hoofbeard in the brig, finding that he is more despondent than angry.

Suddenly, the ship is attacked, and the ponies find themselves being attacked by mermares who have been slighted by Hoofbeard's ways before. Fluttershy quickly realizes that just as desperate as she was to find Gil, Hoofbeard was to find these mermares, and they all come to find that the treasured "jewel" is really a mermare named Jewel that Hoofbeard loves and tried to take from the mermares, and hence why the "X" wandered on the map and the numerous letters-in-bottles he wrote. Fluttershy demonstrates that nopony can make anyone stay with anypony else by releasing Gil, and the mermares agree to allow Hoofbeard to travel with them on his ship. Twilight uses her magic to give Hoofbeard gills and fins so he can be with Jewel, and the mermares provide the Mane 6 a mantahawk to helps them get back home.

  • Artistic License – Biology: Pineapples do not grow on palm-like trees (the plant is short, which the fruit is pulled from its top). However, this does give Applejack some fruit-bucking to do to make delicious drinks for Rarity.
    • Although it wasn't really clarified whether Applejack got the pineapples from the trees or not. We only see her climb up a tree to give Rarity her drinks while carrying one pineapple.
  • Aside Glance: Rarity does this at one point to lampshade Rainbow Dash's grasp of pirate-talk.
    Rarity: Well, I'll be-Our Dashie can speak pirate!
  • Authority Equals Asskicking: When the pirates threaten to take Princess Twilight for ransom, a few good zaps of her magic to their flanks puts them in place and makes them agree to help out.
  • Beach Episode: It starts off this way until Hoofbeard shows up.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: During Fluttershy's reluctance to return Gil, one frame briefly returns her to an obsessive personality:
    Fluttershy: ...And I'm keeping you with me forever or until I'm sure you don't need need me anymore, whichever comes first.
  • Break the Haughty: Just a bit; with everything settled, Hoofbeard finally mentions Rainbow Dash by name, which she takes in pride. Until he mentions she was the second-greatest captain after himself and taking back his captain's hat.
  • Call Back: In the second issue there's a few significant nods back to the storybook Under the Sparkling Sea. Mermares and a Mantahawk appear and Twilight is shown to use the same gill/fin spell she learned in that book.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Applejack uses the pineapple juice truth serum on Hoofbeard to find out exactly what it is he's after.
  • Continuity Nod: This is the first appearance of Princess Twilight Sparkle in the IDW comics, affirming Word of God that all subsequent issues will be considered post-Season 3. Twilight even uses her status to try to peacefully work a deal with the pirates, and when they refuse, she kicks their flanks. (The first issue's release was a few days before the premiere of Season 4 in the United States).
  • Cutlass Between the Teeth: This is more out of necessity than any coolness factor though, since as ponies, they lack hands necessary to wield swords normally. Rarity and Twilight, however, can use telekinesis to wield theirs.
  • Doppelgänger: When the crew reach the Gallopinghost Islands, they encounter Hoofbeard's old crew. There are also ponies who bear a striking resemblance to the CMC as well as Granny Smith and Big McIntosh.
  • Dressed to Plunder: Hoofbeard and his crew, obviously, but the Mane 6 all get into pirate-themed apparel once they join Hoofbeard. Even Spike dons an eyepatch despite playing parrot.
  • Drunk on Malts: Fluttershy can't hold her pineapple juice.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: The Map of the Wandering X literally has a wandering 'X', which is enchanted to track the migration patterns of merponies.
  • Fair Play Whodunit: The signs that Hoofbeard was looking for Jewel the mermare were there for the reader to spot and put together - the wandering "x" on a map, the crew claiming their Captain had been driven crazy, the numerous messages in bottles sent out, and Hoofbeard's vague notion of what the treasure would be.
  • Fence Painting: Hoofbeard convinces Twilight to join the others by describing the difficult task of navigating to the Gallopinghost Islands, stroking her ego a bit to assert only the brightest of navigators can get them there.
  • Funny Background Event: Prior to Hoofbeard's arrival, Rainbow is throwing a boomerang to herself. When Hoofbeard arrives, after she's thrown it, Rainbow is in awe of Hoofbeard - and barely notices when the boomerang smacks her in the back of the head.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Rarity appears slightly drunk (being giddy and giving a brief hiccup) from the fruit drinks Applejack's made for her. Applejack claims the juice has the effects of being a truth serum - a stock side effect of one becoming drunk. AJ later uses the same drink on Hoofbeard, and in the background, Fluttershy has taken a drink of it too, and similarly appears to get drunk.
    • Pinkie jokingly asks the pirates to "take our booties to the booty", while shaking her backside.
  • Giant Enemy Crab: A ghostly one at that. It guards the map. The "ghost" part turns out to be too much energy drinks.
  • Horsemen of the Apocalypse: When challenged by the pirate crew to prove who they are, Rainbow Dash calls herself, Twilight, Rarity, and Pinkie the "four ponies of the apocalypse". Pinkie later sings a song about it.
  • Hurricane of Excuses: Fluttershy tries to reason with the others as to why she can't release her fish Gil back to the sea.
  • Identical Stranger: A couple of the ponies in the bar eerily resemble Granny Smith, Big Mac, and the CMC.
  • Interspecies Romance: It turns out Hoofbeard's "treasure" was a mermare named Jewel, and the two had fallen in love.
  • Jumped at the Call: Hoofbeard barely manages to introduce himself before Rainbow Dash volunteers the Mane 6 to become his crew.
  • Made of Indestructium: The Map of the Wandering X cannot be destroyed or lost, so Hoofbeard's crew stole it and threw it down a hole guarded by a Giant Enemy Crab.
  • Mythology Gag: One of the crab's treasures appears to be a "G1" Pony.
  • Pirate: The heroes appear to be taking this as Type 2.
  • Pirate Booty: The girls believe Hoofbeard is searching for a valuable jewel. He is in fact searching for a mermare named Jewel.
  • Pirate Parrot: Spike gets to take on this role. Hoofbeard even insists on keeping him nearby since he looks more "regal" with Spike there.
  • Plot Parallel: Hoofbeard's desire to be with Jewel mirrors Fluttershy's own desire to keep Gil with her, and when she realizes this, provides the inspiration to revolve the troubles of the Hoofbeard/Jewel plot.
  • Punctuated! For! Emphasis!: Rainbow Dash gets a few of these, finally being around real-life pirates.
  • Ragtag Bunch of Misfits: And they're entirely self aware of it.
    Pirate: Look at the lot of ya - a princess, a fancy frock, a pink thing, and a wannabe pirate - it's the only crew he could get.
  • Sarashi: Rainbow Dash has cloth wraps on her chest and arms.
  • Swashbuckler: Rainbow Dash proves surprisingly adept at swordfighting when she confronts pirates about the Map of the Wandering X, complete with a Chandelier Swing.
    Rainbow Dash: Hey, yoou guuuys!!
  • Sword Drag: Rainbow Dash makes her way down the sail this way. She doesn't stick the landing, though.
  • Take That: Rainbow Dash takes a shot at energy drinks in #14.
  • Talk Like a Pirate: Obviously, but Rainbow Dash is surprisingly competent at it.
    • Fluttershy, on the other hand, not so much.
    Fluttershy: Um, silver me tubers! Is that right?
  • Talking Is a Free Action: Just like Roronoa Zoro, Rainbow Dash has no trouble speaking while holding a sword in her mouth. None of the ponies can understand Pinkie, though.
  • Toilet Humor: As Twilight and the pegasi are about to try to help the ship catch a breeze...
    Rainbow Dash: Cool! I'll make the wind!
    Pinkie Pie: He-he! She sometimes breaks it too!
  • Trailers Always Spoil: See those mermares on the covers of both issues? Yeah, no prizes for guessing what Hoofbeard is really chasing after.
  • Treasure Map: Known as the Map of the Wandering X; Hoofbeard is after it.
  • Truth Serum: The pineapple juice.
  • Wingding Eyes: Upon learning Twilight is a princess, Hoofbeard's old crew immediately agree to help with dollar signs in their eyes.

    Issues #15- 16 note   
Story by Heather Nuhfer, Art by Amy Mebberson
Twilight discovers that a magical and uncatchable bookworm is eating through her books, while at the same time a number of strange pods have started appearing over Ponyville. Leaving AJ, Fluttershy, and Spike behind to watch the pods, Twilight, Rainbow, Pinkie, and Rarity use magic to enter the books in an attempt to repair the stories, believing that will stop the bookworm. Twilight warns her friends to keep the stories to their original form, but they cannot help but to embellish when each has a chance to be their favorite heroes across different works. Meanwhile, in Ponyville, AJ, Fluttershy, and Spike find one pod that bursts open to reveal Daring Do, and fear what other fictional characters may emerge from the others.

In one story, they attempt to thwart the bookworm who wants to make the stories for itself. The bookworm manages to escape, and the fictional world the ponies are in begins to erase completely. The four manage to make their way through the bookworm's exit portal, only to find themselves in a void of complete white, and Twilight realizes the bookworm has managed to eat all of her books. In Ponyville, all the other pods have opened to reveal characters from the stories - some with more malicious intent than others - planning to take over this new world.

As AJ, Fluttershy, and Spike try to keep Ponyville under control, the other four argue until realization dawns on Twilight that they can create their own stories from this void, hoping to lure the bookworm towards them with fresh fiction to eat. Between Pinkie's, Rainbow's, and Rarity's imaginations, they are able to locate the sleeping bookworm and provide a tale that wakes him, and the four race to avoid being eaten. The more evil creatures that have appeared in Ponyville have captured the others, but AJ and Fluttershy get the idea of drawing a simple comic story that will be consumed by the bookworm to explain their plight to Twilight and the others. Their plan works, and Twilight tries to reason with the bookworm showing that his consumption of stories is threatening their friends. The bookworm explains that its actions were only meant to let him read the stories in the books, and meant no harm to anyone. The bookworm agrees to help with its exacting memory of the original stories, and Twilight reverses the spell that brought them into the books. The bookworm then begins to recall all the stories it consumed, repairing each book one by one and causing the fictional characters to disappear. With the library restored to normal, the bookworm thanks the ponies for their stories and returns back to a book safely.

  • Big Bad: The story-eating Bookworm serves as the main antagonist who's causing all the trouble. Turns out he wasn't aware his story-eating was causing ponies to get hurt in the real world, he was just looking for a story with a worm hero.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The worm is clearly aware of "good", "evil", "hero", "villain", etc. He just doesn't have quite the same definitions of each as the ponies do. The biggest disconnect is his eating of books, not caring that they're private property.
  • Break the Cutie: Twilight gets it several times here, first going into nervous breakdowns and fits of rage when she discovers her precious books have been eaten, and even more breakdowns and frustrations with her friends recreating their stories with various improvisations.
  • Continuity Nod: Spike refers to them getting accidentally sucked into a comic book, and Twilight surmises they can solve their problem by doing so purposely. Interesting to note that the episode aired less than a month before Issue #15's release, suggesting forward cohesion between the comic and show runners. note 
    • Series Continuity Error: On the other hand, the interaction between Daring Do and AJ and Fluttershy suggests some unfamiliarity with the events of "Daring Don't", though this could be attributed to AJ not being a big fan of the series to start with. In the second issue, the CMC believe the Elements of Harmony can still be used to defeat the storybook characters appearing in Ponyville.
  • Dangerously Genre Savvy: Makes Daring Do suspicious of everything in Ponyville (she suspects Fluttershy of being a Femme Fatale)
  • Easily Forgiven: The bookworm.
  • Furry Reminder: In the story that is similar to Robin Hood, the mane four that travel into the book gain unshorn fetlocks, something typically only seen on the stallions on the show but would be an issue for mares and stallions alike without proper care and trimming of the coat at their hooves. This continues in the next issue, when in a The Lord of the Rings-inspired story, Rainbow takes the role of Frodo the hobbit and regains the unshorn fetlocks, the equivalent of how hobbits went barefoot.
  • Hardboiled Detective: The story Rarity comes up with to track down the bookworm is a film-noir style mystery with herself as one of these.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: While in the story, the mane 4 "see" the frames of the comic (perceived as edges of the pages of the ruined books) as signs of the stories being wrecked more or repaired by their efforts.
  • Mind Screw: The Daring Do based on the books now exists in Ponyville, even though there is a real Daring Do somewhere in Equestria.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted. When the four find themselves in the white void, Pinkie wonders if they "bit the big one", and Rainbow considers this doesn't look like "the Great Beyond".
  • Refugee from TV Land: The main plot, thanks to a gluttonous bookworm. Coccoons scattered around Ponyville eventually reveal various characters from the books the worm has eaten, including Daring Do.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Twilight and co. attempt to fix the damage the bookworm has caused, but their inability to follow the original stories ends up doing more harm than good. Partially justified though as they have to keep moving to catch up to the worm and either can't remember how the stories go or key characters (like Daring Do in her book) are missing forcing them to improvise.
    • While in the Lord of the Rings fantasy, the others ask Pinkie why she had to drag this on so long without excitement. Pinkie offers to liven things up by summoning a horde of zombies.
    • Sweetie Belle mentioning the Elements of Harmony to the Evil Queen winds up leading the queen and the book villains straight to the library where Spike, Fluttershy, Applejack and Daring Do are hiding out.
  • Not Using the Z Word: Rainbow really doesn't want anypony else to say the word "zombie".
  • Take That:
  • Trapped in TV Land: #15 ends with Twilight, Pinkie, Rarity, and Rainbow Dash trapped in an empty void in the books, while various villains and monsters from the books are wreaking havoc in Ponyville.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: One of the beasts from the books that rampage through Ponyville.

    Issues #17-20: Reflections 
Story by Katie Cook, Drawn by Andy Price, Coloring by Heather Breckel

The Mane 6 are summoned to Canterlot by Princess Luna, who reveals Princess Celestia has been missing for a week and Luna has been masking her disappearance since. Luna reveals she saw Celestia step into a magic mirror not unlike the one Twilight used (from My Little Pony: Equestria Girls), but cannot figure out its magic. She tasks the Mane 6 to find Star Swirl the Bearded's personal library deep below Canterlot, where she remembers that Celestia had spent much of her time learning from him in her youth, while she and Spike maintain order in Equestria.

The girls find the laboratory and start studying his notes. They learn that hundreds of years ago, Celestia and Star Swirl had discovered the mirror could be opened onto countless dimensions, and together they enjoyed studying the other parallel worlds, even bringing some of the technology advancements back for study in Equestria. One world Celestia became attached to, but Star Swirl expressly forbade her from visiting it or "him" again, and cast a spell to prevent Celestia from opening the mirror. Armed with this information, the Mane 6 return to Canterlot. Just as they try to work out how to follow her, a battered Celestia jumps out of the mirror and falls unconscious, the image of King Sombra briefly appearing before the portal closes.

As the others help Celestia tend to her wounds, she explains that in that universe, King Sombra is both her ally and a close friend, and Sombra needs the help of the Mane 6 (and Spike) and the Elements of Harmony to protect his kingdom there. Twilight gets a quick briefing on how to reactivate the portal from the other side and to use Spike for relaying messages to Celestia, and the Mane 6 and Spike step through, finding themselves in a version of Canterlot that has seen much better days. Though briefly captured by Sombra's guards due to mistaking the group for the alternate universe's version of them, they find themselves face to face with a very sane, sensible, and gentlecolt-ly (and rather dashing) Sombra, who thanks them for coming and apologizes for the guards. Before he can explain the situation, the alternate versions of Celestia and Luna arrive - Sombra's tormentors. The mares start to get into a fight with the two evil alicorns, but suddenly Spike coughs up a scroll and Sombra uses a force field to separate the Mane 6. The scroll, from the good Celestia, reveals that any damage done to the evil versions of Celestia and Luna will also harm the good versions, a side effect from the length of time that Celestia had spent in this universe that created a possible paradox according to Star Swirl's notes. As the evil alicorns fly off in laughter, Sombra reveals that he and the good Celestia love one another, shocking the others.

The good Sombra explains that Celestia and Star Swirl visited him long agonote  via the mirror. Both Sombra and Star Swirl were fascinated with the other's world while Sombra and Celesta fell in love at first sight. Sombra and, at the time, a kind Luna, helped to show their visitors around and provided them with goods to take back, extending the offer for them to visit any time they can in the future. Though they would continue their visits, with Sombra and Celestia's love growing, Star Swirl discovered that their two world started to become too interconnected, and limited Celestia's visits to it more and more. Eventually, this led to Star Swirl forbidding Celestia from using the mirror as previously seen, and creating an irreparable rift between Celestia and Star Swirl. Undaunted, Celestia would look for a way to break the spell on the mirror behind Star Swirl's back.

Sombra then explains that he knows the evil version of Celestia has been trying to acquire the magic to to open the mirror from his side, offering Sombra a deal to banish the good Celestia to Sombra's world so they can be together and would leave that world at peace. Sombra has refused, not wishing the fate of his world on the main one. Twilight suggests that the same way they were able to stop their version of Sombra, with crystals, would work similarly well against the two evil sisters. The Mane 6 and Spike make plans to travel to the Castle of the Two Sisters to implement their idea, unaware that evil Luna has overheard everything to prepare her sister for the oncoming battle.

As Sombra and the Mane 7 travel to Evil Celestia's castle they notice the sky becoming ominous, a sign of the weakening of the paradox between the two worlds. When they reach the castle, Evil Celestia begins her second plan - she turns on her own sister and blasts her with full force, knowing full well this will cause the same physical harm to Luna in the prime world and assure Celestia will be by her side. Luna is thrown at the magic mirror, shattering it and causing the barriers between the two worlds to merge, bringing the good versions of Celestia and Luna to this world. Good Celestia refuses to allow her evil self to continue this and begins to use the full force of her magic to fight her. The distraction allows the Mane 6 to trap the two in separate bubbles, and for Sombra to start to encase the evil Celestia in a crystal shell; the realize too late that this is also doing the same to Celestia.

Good Celestia insists that Sombra and the Mane 6 continue the spell, but Sombra refuses to let this end. Realizing that he must restore balance between the two worlds and knowing the fate of his alternate self, he takes the power of the Elements of Harmony and uses that to drain Evil Celestia and Luna of their dark ways and absorbs it himself, taking on the appearance of the villainous King Sombra, bringing the balance from the prime world to this one. With the Celestias released from the shells, prime Celestia spends a brief farewell with Sombra before he loses his rational side and flies off. The walls of realities between the two universe begins to repair itself, with the formerly evil Celestia and Luna back to their good selves and ruling over a much kinder world. A portal opens long enough for the Mane 7 and the Princesses to escape back to their world. Back in prime Equestria, the Mane 7 help Celestia to clean up the broken mirror, Celestia keeping one piece of it to remember her Sombra by.

  • Adorkable: As per the norm, Twilight is giddy with excitement when Starswirl the Bearded is even mentioned.
  • Advertised Extra: Despite getting a full cover devoted to them, the alternate counterparts of the Mane Six only make brief cameos in the actual story. Katie Cook's 2 page short in issue #20 lampshades this point.
  • Alternate Universe: The various universes that Star Swirl and Celestia travel to via the mirror, which appear to be a mix of Another Dimension and Alternate History. For example, one appears to be a case where dinosaurs did not die out (given that the one dinosaur they see is colored like Fluttershy and has her cutie mark), while others are other variants. And then still remains the hinted Mirror Universe suggested by the future covers...
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: The 2-page short in Issue 20, with the mirror Mane 6, had a wanted poster with all of them plus Spike, for a long list of "crimes". Their crimes range from vandalism, smuggling and forgery, to not eating their vegetables, taking tags off mattresses, and jaywalking.
  • As You Know: Issue 18 has Celestia recap everything we learned the previous issue.
  • Barrier Warrior: Good!Sombra mentions that his magical abilities, like Shining Armor's, are mostly defensive in nature, and can keep even Mirror Celestia and Luna at bay with his force fields.
  • Big Good: The Mirror Universe King Sombra. Celestia has described him as the king of that Equestria and a kind and wonderful ruler of his ponies.
  • Big "NO!": Main Celestia when Mirror Sombra takes the evil of Mirror!Celestia and Luna into himself to restore the balance between their worlds, turning them good while apparently making himself evil. You can even see her heart breaking inside the "O".
  • Bittersweet Ending: The group manage stop the Evil Celestia and Luna and save their respective universes, apparently restoring the alternate Equestria in the process. But Mirror!Sombra has to absorb the sisters' evil to do so and become the Sombra we know from the main verse. What's more the portal mirror was broken, meaning Prime Celestia will likely never see him again. The fate of the mirror Equestria is left ambiguous as it now doesn't have a ruler.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Pinkie makes a very good point about their world.
    Twilight Sparkle: But...But what if this [Mirror] world doesn't make 100% sense?! I need to record it all for posterity!
    Pinkie Pie: Our world doesn't even make sense! Why should this one? Who needs continuity?
    • She does it again after Evil Celestia attacks Evil Luna in order to force Good Celestia to her version of Equestria.
    Pinkie Pie: You can't do that! This is a kid's comic!
  • Brick Joke: All those jokes about Twilight and her thesaurus in Issue #17 nod to when Pinkie pulls out "Twilight's Thesaurus" in issue #18 to find another way to address King Sombra.
    • In the first issue, Pinkie's shown to have found chewing gum under her chair when they meet with Luna. Three issue later, Pinkie's blowing bubble gum at the height of the epic fight.
  • Broken Pedestal: When they return to Canterlot, Celestia worries that she had begun this to Twilight after seeing what her actions caused. Twilight reassures her that it proved that Celestia isn't perfect and that she doesn't have to worry about being perfect either.
  • The Cameo: The Observer pony makes yet another appearance, but this time he speaks directly to Twilight. Numerous other characters show up briefly as well.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Mirror Sombra is wise about Mirror Celestia possessing this trait, knowing that if he takes her up on her "deal" and lets her into the main Equestria to conquer it so he and Main!Celestia can be together in his version of Equestria, she wouldn't hold up her end of the deal, and would try and control both worlds. She later betrays and attacks Mirror Luna in order to try and lure Main Celestia to her world.
  • Cliff Hanger: #17 ends with a battered Princess Celestia returning from whatever universe she visited, only to immediately collapse as King Sombra looks about to emerge through the mirror.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The magic mirror featured in this episode is shown to be the prototype of the one that is the focus of My Little Pony: Equestria Girls. A primary difference is that the prototype can access numerous worlds, and can be opened at any time.
      • Several facets of Equestria Girls are brought up; Spike recounts turning into a dog, and Celestia comments that Sunset Shimmer has decided to live her life in the human world.
      • Other elements about the function of the mirror come into play. In Equestria Girls, Celestia fears sending over more than just Twilight for fear of upsetting the balance of both universes; in #18, Celestia learns that her having spent too much time in the Good Sombra universe has caused the balance to become upset so that damage dealt to Evil Celestia is felt by the Good Celestia. Both here and in Equestria Girls, the mirrors opens on the other universe at a base of a statue.
    • Luna comments that it's a wonderful night not to be banished to the moon.
    • Several elements of the Luna micro comic (also created by Cook/Price) reappear, including Celestia's advisor, Kibitz, and Luna's pet possum Tiberius. Luna is shown being able to handle the responsibilities of running Equestria for 7 days straight, using lessons she likely learned from the one-off time from the micro story. Her last line in issue #17 comments on being able to handle the stress. Later, in #18 when Celestia and Luna talk after the Mane 6 leave, Luna can be seen ravaging some cake, again calling back to her Micro.
    • Spike wins a game of "Monopony" against Luna and expresses his love for the game.
    • King Sombra — or at least a mirror universe version of him — returns.
    • Pinkie has pulled out another cake - with icing that reads "Glad You Aren't Mangled Or Anything" - out of nowhere, as she's done before in the comics.
    • Spike and Angel are back in their vaudeville outfits used in the main series before.
    • This occurs before the season 4 opener, since the Mane Six still have the Elements of Harmony.
    • Events "over there" only recently got out of hand when that Luna was converted to the evil Celestia's ways, which Sombra states happened at the same time that our Luna was freed from being Nightmare Moon.
    • Evil Celestia has an Evil Philomena, and Evil Luna has an Evil Tiberus.
    • A sign on the "over there" version of Ponyville has the "F+W" logo used since the introduction of Flax Seed and Wheat Grass from the Rarity's micro - except instead of being hippies, they are now attorneys.
    • As Sombra describes how he first met our Celestia he notes that this was before any of the Mane 6 were born; Pinkie questions "even Fluttershy?", referring back to the fact Fluttershy is a year older than Pinkie.
    • The first time that Celestia and Star Swirl cross to Good King Sombra's universe is set sometime before the evil version of Sombra was known about in the main world. It was also sometime before Luna turned into Nightmare Moon.
    • Celestia has a guard wearing an ancient-Egyptian-esque version of the main universe's armor.
    • The guards in the alternate Canterlot resemble the guards Evil!Sombra had in the main universe, as seen in the flashback in Twilight and Shining Armor's issue of My Little Pony: Friends Forever.
    • Good Luna and Celestia pass under a picture of Evil!Sombra's defeat as they talk.
    • In flashback, we see Star Swirl leaving to Fillydelphia to handle a parasprite problem, with a wagon loaded with instruments - as Pinkie showed to be the solution in "Swarm of the Century".
    • In this same flashback, Celestia is in her library, and shows one book named after Clover the Clever, and a second book that alludes to how Clover was a student of Star Swirl, or as the title puts it "crazy unicorn wizard".
    • Good Sombra and the Mane 7 debate how to stop the evil Celestia and Luna, postulating what defeated Sombra in their world would help here. Rainbow Dash, unhelpfully, brings up stairs, while Twilight nails the answer about crystals.
    • Twilight's doubts about being a princess show up again.
    • Chrysalis can be seen when the worlds merge where she's using the animated Pinkie costume as a punching bag.
    • After Mirror Sombra absorbs Mirror Celestia and Luna's evil in order to restore the balance and save both versions of Equestria, he gains the curved horn and red eyes of his main-verse counterpart.
  • Covers Always Lie: Two of the covers put together form a mirror image of the other, one showing the prime universe cast, the other the mirror universe counterparts. Most of these characters on both sides do not appear in the story.
  • Crapsack World: Evil Celestia and Luna have ravaged the alternate Equestria, turning it into one of these. It actually used to be quite nice.
  • Creator Cameo: On a wall in the alternate world are two wanted posters: one is for the OC of colorist Heather Breckel, while the other is a nod to Bobby Curnow, the IDW Editor overseeing the pony comics.
  • Deal with the Devil: Evil Celestia tried to make a deal with Good!Sombra, basically amounting to giving her the spell to go to the main Equestria, enabling her and her sister to go there while allowing Good Celestia to come to the mirror world permanently with Sombra. Sombra refused, not just because he didn't want to wish that fate on the world the good Celestia cares for, but because he's also smart enough to realize the evil princess won't stop until she controls both worlds.
  • Description Cut: In a flashback, Star Swirl suggests they need a means to protect his laboratory from unwanted eyes, and considers the option of a hydra in a moat to guard the place. In the present, hundreds of years later, the ponies pass a hydra-like skeleton in the moat around the lab.
  • Deus ex Machina: Lampshaded. The secret passage back to the castle from the lab helps avoid the long journey through caves to get there. Pinkie calls this trope out by name as they slide off. It's a minor example as it doesn't impact much on the plot.
  • Disappointed In You: Starswirl says this of Princess Celestia once he learns she's been visiting the Mirror Universe behind his back.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Luna felt that Starswirl was more like Pinkie Pie than Twilight. In general, he was very adventurous compared to Celestia, who worried about her duties to the kingdom. (Merlin from Disney's The Sword in the Stone makes for a very apt comparison).
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The first universe Celestia and Star Swirl visited is inhabited by dinosaurs.
  • Evil Makes You Monstrous: Absorbing Mirror!Celestia and Luna's evil into himself causes Mirror!Sombra to go from Tall, Dark and Handsome to this, taking on the curved horn and eyes of the main Sombra.
  • Expendable Alternate Universe: Averted, just like in My Little Pony: Equestria Girls. Twilight and co. go into the Mirror Equestria with the express intent of saving it.
  • Face Palm: Celestia does this after doing a Spit Take onto the mirror Sombra after he compliments her beauty.
  • Face-Heel Turn: When Celestia met Mirror Luna in Mirror Sombra's flashback, she was apparently far more happier than her own Luna. However, around the same time Nightmare Moon was defeated and Luna returned, Mirror Luna joined her evil sister.
    • Potentially what happens to Mirror Sombra in the end. In order to restore balance, he uses the Elements of Harmony to transfer the evil in Mirror Celestia and Mirror Luna within himself, causing him to become just like main universe Sombra. Part of his former good self is present when he says farewell to main universe Celestia, but it's unknown what will happen to him from this point onward.
  • For Your Own Good: Star Swirl seals the mirror portal because he believes Celestia's feelings for mirror King Sombra are endangering both her kingdom and his.
  • Fridge Logic: In universe, the Mane Seven ask why Sombra doesn't do anything against the evil princess. Turns out that like the main world's Shining Armor, his magic is of the Barrier Warrior variety, not the offensive type.
    • Twilight uses this to come up with a plan to defeat the evil princesses by sealing them in crystal, based off their battle with the main-verse version of Sombra.
  • From Bad to Worse: In the final issue of "Reflections", Mirror!Celestia attacks her sister in order to harm Main!Luna and lure her counterpart to the alternate Equestria. But the attack causes Luna to accidentally break the mirror, causing the rift between the worlds to start causing the barrier between the two worlds to disappear entirely, and begin merging the two worlds into one.
  • Fun with Subtitles: The "Meanwhile, Back at the..." boxes are a bit lemony. For example:
    "Back in Canterlot... Well, the other Canterlot. You know what I mean."
  • Hammerspace: Pinkie produces a fairly large "Glad you aren't mangled or anything" cake and a dictionary from nowhere. Applejack tries to question this, but Rainbow Dash just tells her to go with it. Spike gets in on the action when she produces a "Welcome Home" cake at the end of the arc.
  • Heroic Sacrifice: Mirror!Sombra uses the Elements of Harmony to absorb Mirror!Celestia and Mirror!Luna's evil, restoring the balance between the worlds and causing them to have a Heel-Face Turn while apparently giving him a Face-Heel Turn.
  • Idiot Ball: Celestia, out of all characters, was holding a love-induced one so hard that she put two entire universes at risk. To make it worse, this happens twice. And the second time, events cascade out of control until Reality Bleed ensues and the universes merge. Only Mirror Sombra's Heroic Sacrifice puts things right again.
  • I Did What I Had to Do: Starswirl explains to Celestia in the final flashback that he had to make the decision for Celestia, as making descions she doesn't want to make is part of being a ruler. This gets an Ironic Echo in the climax when Celestia is being encased in crystal alongside her evil alternate and appoints Twilight as the new ruler. Repeating what Starswhirl had told her.
  • Ironic Echo: In a flashback, Celestia and Star Swirl, on their apparent first visit to the Good Sombra 'verse, end up in jail after Star Swirl tells one of the guards their hat is funny-looking. In the present, the Mane 6 (and Spike) end up in the same jail cell because Twilight commented to a guard that his hat looked funny.
  • Irony: The stained glass windows in Sombra's castle depict some... strange paragons.
    Fairness: Flim and Flam
    Wisdom: Derpy
    Love: Queen Chrysalis
  • Imagine Spot: Twilight imagines Starswirl as an alicorn at one point. This results in a Twilight laughing at the thought.
  • Karma Houdini: The anti-mane six have committed quite a few crimes. ...And from the looks of things thy are going to keep committing them. The same goes for anti-Cadence, who unlike Celestia and Luna remains evil at the end of the story arc.
  • Kicking Ass in All Her Finery: Evil Celestia is a clothes horse magically adopting many different evil-looking outfits in the midst of a fight.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Pinkie calls out "You can't do this, this is a kids' comic!" at all the violence going on during the last issue.
  • Let Us Never Speak of This Again: During the final flashback with Celestia and Starswirl, he does after accepting her apology.
  • Little "No": Celestia does this - complete with a broken heart in the "O" - as Mirror Sombra absorbs the evil of his world into himself, Face Heel Turning.
  • Loophole Abuse: Twilight plans to seal the evil princesses in crystal to get around the Synchronization.
  • Love Makes You Dumb: The entire arc is kickstarted by Celestia's irresponsible use of the mirror despite fully knowing the huge danger it poses to her and Sombra's worlds. It ends up costing her her only friend and coming back to bite her in the ass a good thousand years later.
    • In the 3rd issue (#19), we see Good Sombra, Celestia and Star Swirl having their first formal discussion over tea after their first crossing. Celestia is aghast when Sombra compliments her on her beauty, causing her to do an epic Spit Take into Sombra's face. Cue the next panel where Celestia realizes what a doofus she made of herself and FacePalms.
  • Magic from Technology: Star Swirl used some of the technology they took from other universes for the basis for his magic as well as for the betterment of Equestria.
  • Mirror Universe: The alternate universe visited by Celestia is ruled by the benevolent King Sombra and plagued by the evil Celestia and Luna. Discord was a superhero of some sort and it's implied the Mane 6 of that world are criminals. A set of stained glass windows show that Flim and Flam are the representation of Fairness, Princess Trixie (as an alicorn) the representation of Humility, a smart-looking Derpy with glasses as the representation of Wisdom, and a fully-whole Chrysalis as the representation of Love.
  • Monochrome Past: Much of the first issue is recounting Celestia and Star Swirl's interactions in the past, as such all these pages are done in a sepia tone.
  • Must Have Caffeine: Starswirl takes to coffee instantly when he first encounters it in the mirror world, and brings some back when he returns to the main Equestria.
  • My Friends... and Zoidberg: Spike has to frequently remind the Mane 6, Celestia, and Luna that he's there too and willing to help in any way, whenever any of them mention the "six of them" going across.
  • My Greatest Failure: Celestia arcknowledges that she caused great dangers to both worlds.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • Luna, to disguise the absence of her sister, uses makeup to make herself look like Celestia. However, this comes out very pink - much like the initial Princess Celestia toys that started the "G4" line.
  • Non Sequitur Thud: "I don't want a cutie mark in accounting... I want to be the moon..." *faint*
  • Noodle Incident: Pinkie Pie mention a number of times Pinkie's failed at something, including a time when Pinkie tried frosting a cake while going over a waterfall.
  • Not Helping Your Case: Pinkie and Fluttershy mentioning all the times Pinkie's failed at doing something doesn't help improve the mood at all.
  • Never Say "Die": Pinkie Pie says that the hydra is 'pining for the fjords'.
  • Nice Hat:
    • The palace guards in the alternate universe wear helmets which look like Sombra's hairdo. Both Twilight and Starswirl find them funny, which then and now the guards do not appreciate.
    • Post-Heel-Face Turn, Mirror Celestia sports an Egyptian Headdress most likely to contrast with Mirror Luna Greco-Roman dress.
  • Off Model: For some reason, this arc had Spike being drawn much fatter, almost two heads taller and unlike his TV counterpart, having long, phrensile feet.
  • Playing with Fire: Celestia's Super Mode has her engulfed in fire.
  • Please Wake Up: Luna says this to Celestia, in a rather heartbreaking fashion when her sister returns through the mirror and collapses.
  • Portal Slam: Starswirl closes the magic mirror after he catches Celestia using it without his knowledge. Celestia herself seems to do this at the beginning of #17 to ensure nopony can follow her through the mirror. The mirror breaks in #20, seemingly cutting off the two versions of Equestria forever.
  • Product Placement: Princess Luna and Spike are shown playing Scrabble, Mouse Trap, and Monopoly on three separate occasions. All three are Hasbro properties. note  There is also a MLP:FIM version of Monopoly.
  • Reality Bleed: The rift gets even worse after the mirror breaks, to the point that the worlds start merging into one as the barrier between them breaks down.
  • Reality Ensues: It's all well and good to get a giant monster to guard your lair, but they tend to die if not regularly fed.
  • Remembered I Could Fly: In taking the shortcut back from Star Swirl's lab to the castle, all but Rainbow Dash are subjected to a series of slides and other wacky devices; Rainbow simply flies following the others back with far less hazard, later commenting to Fluttershy that she could have flown too.
  • Replacement Goldfish: Luna accuses Celestia of using Mirror Luna to replace her after she was sealed away, though Celestia denies it.
  • Running Gag: Spike reminding everyone that he's part of the team.
    "You six..."
  • Save Both Worlds: The Mane Seven ave to not only save the alternate Equestria from Mirror!Celestia and Luna, but their Equestria as well, for the evil Alicorn has her sights on it...
  • Sealed Evil in a Can: Twilight's plan to deal with the evil princesses is to seal them in crystal, stopping them from causing trouble while getting around the Synchronization problem. Would've worked (which Mirror!Luna even admits) if Mirror!Luna hadn't overheard them and tipped off Mirror!Celestia who forces Prime!Celestia to come to their dimension where the Synchronization is much stronger.
  • Sesquipedalian Loquaciousness: Some of the signs below Canterlot Castle. For example, "Besom Repository" is 'fancy' for "Broom Closet". Twilight of course has no problem, mentioning her joy of reading a thesaurus straight through for fun. Later played up when Spike asks about Luna in her odd speaking mannerisms.
  • Shoot the Shaggy Dog: Celestia and AU Sombra's relationship.
  • Star-Crossed Lovers: Celestia and Mirror King Sombra.
  • Super Mode: Celestia's mane and tail are ablaze as part of hers.
  • Super OCD: Starswirl seems to have had shades of this.
    Twilight: I don't understand why Princess Luna thought finding things down here was complicated. Everything is so well labeled! It's like...
    Fluttershy: ...Like you built it?
    Twilight: Well, yes!
    • Twilight sees Good Sombra's wall of details distinguishing the two universes, and is on the verge of a Madness Makeover to document it all.
  • Synchronization: Thanks to their repeated trips to the Alternate Universe, the two are now intertwined, each a reflection of the other.
    • The beings in each world act completely contrary to their other selves, which even seems to update in real-time, since Alternate!Luna was good until Main Luna stopped being evil.
    • Celestia and Luna are directly linked to their counterparts, feeling any damage the others take. Twilight plans to get around this by using the Elements to imprison the evil princesses in crystal.
    • Even minor things like choices of meal or books taken from a shelf reflect onto the other world.
    • After the mirror breaks due to Mirror!Celestia attacking her sister in order to lure Good!Celestia to her Equestria, the Synchronization gets taken Up to Eleven, with the barrier between the worlds starting to break down entirely.
  • Tall, Dark and Handsome: Mirror Universe King Sombra, who even Fluttershy finds rather attractive.
  • Tanabata: The nature of Celestia and Mirror Sombra's relationship (Star-Crossed Lovers who can only come together through the portal between their two worlds) is very similar to the folklore behind the Japanese festival. This is further emphasized by Mirror Sombra's Wishing Garden, where ponies write their wishes on cards and hang them on trees much like those who celebrate Tanabata.
  • Team Killer: Evil Celestia seriously injures evil Luna in order to do the same to the good Luna, and this force Celestia into the mirror world to confront her evil twin.
  • Tempting Fate:
    Rainbow Dash: I hope there aren't any monsters in here.
    Applejack: Why would you say that? That is inviting that type of stuff to happen!
    • It turns out there is a monster... but it's dead. That's what happens when no one is around to feed it.
    • Twilight wonders how they're going to get out of a jail cell, to which Pinkie silently whacks her horn.
  • Tyrannosaurus rex: Celestia and Star Swirl briefly encountered one. With Fluttershy's coloring and cutie-mark.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Star Swirl is very disappointed when he finds out Celestia has been visiting the Mirror Universe behind his back when he made it very clear that frequent visits might cause problems for both worlds.
    • Luna isn't pleased either when Celestia confesses she used Mirror Luna as a replacement for her real sister.
  • Wham Line: The Mane 6's (and Spike's) reaction to this tell it all.
    King Sombra: Does [the message] say anything else? Does it say if Celestia's okay? My dear, sweet Celestia, I need to know!
    Pinkie Pie: ...Your...
    Applejack: ...dear...
    Rarity: ...sweet...
    Twilight Sparkle: ...Celestia?
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: In the Reflections arc, Celestia and Luna get turned good at the end... ...But Mirror World Cadence is still evil and still out there. What's going to happen to her?

    Issues #21-22note  
Story by Ted Anderson, Art by Agnes Garbowska and Bill Forster (Ted has provided annotations for this arc.)
Applejack, Apple Bloom, Fluttershy, and Rarity have been invited by the Great and Powerful Trixie to one of her magic shows in Manehatten, and they invite Babs Seed along as well. At the show, Trixie does an escape trick involving the valuable Ostlerheimer Diamond, but by the end of the trick, the diamond has gone missing. The theater is quickly blockaded by police. The Ponyville group are surprised that Trixie has actually been working with the police to try to capture the notorious thief Rough Diamond, who has been performing a series of gem thefts in the city. Trixie reveals that the diamond that she had used in the show was a fake, with a magical tracking device hidden on it, but they are surprised to find the fake hidden in Applejack's hat. Confused, Trixie and the others go with the police to the theater office, where the real Ostlerheimer Diamond was stored and, after a smoke bomb hidden in the safe goes off, finds the diamond missing. The police chief reveals that he too put a tracking device on the real diamond, and when one of his sergeants track down the magic, they find the diamond on Trixie. The entire group is put under suspicion, but Trixie grabs the others and escapes.

After ditching the real Ostlerheimer Diamond, the group make for Babs Seed's home to hide out and figure out their next steps. They agree that they must try to catch Rough Diamond and clear Trixie's name, with several of the ponies that were helping Trixie's show as possible suspects. However, they have no idea as to the thief's next target until Babs notices a scrap of paper stuck in Trixie's mane, part of a map of the city highlighting the Manehatten Museum of Art. Applejack vows they will catch the thief there and clear Trixie's name.

The group dons disguises to split up; Fluttershy and Apple Bloom check out the museum to find that the next target of Rough Diamond is the Forehoof Pendant, while the others visit various jewelry stories to discover one where Rough Diamond pawned off her stolen wares, with the shopkeeper only being able to recall having seen a bit of her cutie mark, a diamond. Regrouping, they agree they need to try to catch Rough Diamond in the act and they sneak into the museum that night. They spot the masked Rough Diamond in the midst of the act but she creates a distraction, and before the others know it, Rough Diamond has disappeared and the police have captured the group. Babs catches something odd about one of the arresting officers, Officer Fluffles, and creates a distraction while ordering Trixie to capture her. Babs realizes that the theft of the Ostlerheimer Diamond could have only be done by someone on the inside, including any of the police, and points out that Fluffles' cutie mark is oddly-shaped - when she wipes it away, it reveals the diamond, proving Fluffles is really Rough Diamond. Rough Diamond is apprehended, and the police are able to recover all the missing gems. Trixie is exonerated and thanks Babs for giving her a second chance, and she returns to the stage the next night to finish off her show proper.

  • Anthropomorphic Shift: While the comic has done this before, in this issue the characters spend a LOT of time on bipedal stances and human poses that really don't make much sense.
  • Batman Gambit: The police were hoping that Rough Diamond would try and steal the diamond, as the one Trixie was using was a fake with a tracker on it.
  • Character Development: Trixie is again quick to drop the Third-Person Person act offstage, and is quick to refer to the gang as her friends.
  • Clear Their Name: Trixie gets framed for a theft and the rest of the group is accused of being her accomplices. They have to find and capture the real thief to prove their innocence.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • To Friends Forever #6, as Trixie is mentioned as being the former Queen of Diamondia (the Diamond Dog kingdom).
    • Babs Seed joins Apple Bloom and the other three mares to see Trixie's show; this is implied as Apple Bloom's first visit to the city after "One Bad Apple"/"Apple Family Reunion".
    • Applejack is wearing her "Apple Jewel" dress from "Simple Ways", though she wears her hat and doesn't have her mane done up.
    • Apple Bloom tells Babs that Trixie has a "history" in Ponyville when Babs asks about the gang knowing Trixie.
    • Babs mentions her sister again when offering the others a place to stay while they try and figure out the mess they're in.
    • Apple Bloom once again describes jewels as "shiny".
    • Babs mentions her brief bullying stint to Trixie in an attempt to cheer the mare up and let her know that she knows how she feels.
    • Fluttershy wears her "Dangerous Mission Outfit" from "Magic Duel" when they sneak back into the museum.
  • Fair Play Whodunnit: We get clues to Rough Diamond's identity in the first issue of the arc — Officer Fluffles is blue, which explains how she could have disguised herself as Princess Luna, and she puts her ear to the safe when opening it, even though she had already been given the combination. The original diamond trap was also a Closed Circle, narrowing down the suspects pretty quickly, and much like Micro Series #1 the smudged cutie mark is drawn smudged through the whole issue.
  • Foreshadowing: If the description didn't give it away, Rarity's comment about the jewel thefts before the show should have been a strong indicator of what was going to happen.
  • Frame-Up: Trixie is framed for the diamond theft.
  • Funny Background Event: Some of the police officers are doing things like looking into a flashlight or eating in/swimming in the pudding vat.
    • It's possible to see Rough Diamond's smudged cutie mark after her robbery attempt at the museum.
  • Impossibly Awesome Magic Trick: Trixie attempts to perform one: she tries to make a diamond disappear while blindfolded and tied upside-down from a burning rope over a giant vat of pudding.
  • Impossible Thief: Rough Diamond certainly seems to count, as she managed to get the fake diamond under Applejack's hat and the real diamond under Trixie's hat without either noticing (though she did leave a clue behind in the process). Being one of the police officers in the case helps.
  • Informed Flaw: Applejack tells to Bab Seed that Trixie had "some kinda scheme goin' on" everytime she shown up in Ponyville. It's actually Snips and Snails who led the Ursa Minor while Trixie just wanted to make a show the first time she came there.
  • Inter Generational Friendship : Trixie and Babs Seed become very good friends through their Not So Different realization; plus, Babs didn't meet Trixie before this adventure so she never personally experienced Trixie's worst moments, making her much more willing and open to befriend her.
  • Just One Little Mistake: The one thing that led Rough Diamond's arrest is Officer Fluffles' smudged cutie mark. Babs deduces that because the police were called in immediately after Rough Diamond's escape, she rushed to apply her fake cutie mark before joining the police chief, smudging it in the process.
  • Kid Detective : Babs proves herself a very good one in the end.
  • Magician Detective: Trixie becomes one in this arc.
  • Master of Disguise: One of Rough Diamond's heists involved disguising herself as Princess Luna to rob a bank. And it turns out she was masquerading as Officer Fluffles all along.
    • Sharp eyed readers can use this against her: Fluffles is almost exactly the same color as Princess Luna.
  • Meaningful Name: Trixie's assistants are named Peppers Ghost and Miss Direction, both magic-related terms.
  • The Mole: The gang theorize that Rough Diamond might be one of the police officers, one of Trixie's assistants, or even the theater director. It turns out to be Officer Fluffles.
  • Mythology Gag: The safe combination is "4-14-84", which is also the date the first MLP special Rescue at Midnight Castle, aired.
  • Noodle Incident: Rough Diamond's other thefts, namely the one where she disguised herself as Princess Luna to rob a bank.
  • Out-Gambitted: Rough Diamond somehow manages to catch on to the plot to trick her and turns it into a Frame-Up for Trixie.
  • The Navigator: Babs Seed. Only natural as she's the only Manehatten native of the group.
  • Not So Different: Babs is able to relate to Trixie as she too had been nasty in the past and has changed since then. The two quickly become friends.
  • Phantom Thief: Rough Diamond, an infamous jewel thief who the police have never caught.
  • Schizo Tech: The turnstiles at the subway station, the subway trains, and the police van are very modern-looking. Anderson said he tried to avert this further in the museum by giving it a hallway filled with tripwires instead of a Laser Hallway.note 
  • Shown Their Work: A very minor example: in their escape from Carneighie Hall, the characters catch an F train, which is the closest subway stop to Carnegie Hall and would, indeed, take you from Manhattan to Brooklyn (or Hooflyn). This was intentional.
    • Babs' apartment is located at "Farrier Hill"; this is a reference to the real world Cobblers Hill in New York, but per Word of God, plays on the name, as cobblers would make shoes, while farriers would make horseshoes.
  • Tempting Fate: Trixie says that no one had been in the office where the real diamond was right before an officer said someone had broken in.
  • Wrongful Accusation Insurance: Trixie and the others might not have committed the theft, but they still resisted arrest and broke into a museum. As stupid and unfair as it is, in real life, resisting arrest is considered a separate charge, and you can still be charged with that even if you are found innocent of the crime they tried to arrest you for. Likewise, they may have had good intentions, but breaking and entering is still illegal. Of course, because this is a kids comic, none of this is brought up. Plus, Trixie can argue that she was ultimately helping to catch the thief, which precisely what the police hired her for in the first place, and her friends were just helping her. So any legal transgression, technically, was done as part of her job.
  • You Are Better Than You Think You Are: Babs tells Trixie a bit about her stint as an antagonist, and assures the mare that while it'll be difficult, she can work to be good again.

    Issue # 23 note  
Story by Jeremy Whitley, Art by Amy Mebberson
Angel wakes up one morning to find Fluttershy missing and her forest critters making a mess of the cottage; they throw him out when he suggests they go search for her. Going into Ponyville, he finds it's deserted and the other pets of the Mane Six as clueless as he is. He uses Winona to cover more ground, and finds an aquatic creature is using an hypnotic song to control Ponyville's townfolk and making them dig a channel and break down Ponyville's dam. Realizing that the town would be flooded out by the dam breaking, they escape capture by the brainwashed ponies, and gather the rest of the pets. They convene at Zecora's cottage and concoct a plan to free their owners using Zecora's store of potions. The plan has a speed-enhanced Winona acting as a decoy to get the ponies away from the dam and then KOed by a giant Opal, while Angel uses the distraction to feed a Poison Joke potion to the aquatic creature, preventing her from singing and canceling her control over Ponyville's citizens.

After a short, but intense struggle, the pets' plan succeeds and the aquatic creature's song is rendered useless. Once freed, the ponies quickly turn on the aquatic being, who reveals herself to be a kelpie named Cassie. She explains that she was simply trying to get her water sprite friends, who couldn't leave the water to the nearby ocean before they got sick. The ponies then decide to help them (much to Rainbow's displeasure). Angel is disappointed that the ponies lack memories from being brainwashed, but the other pets assure him he did a good job — until they realize that Opal is still giant-sized.

  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Opal uses a potion to make herself huge, so she can swat away the ponies who were destroying the dam.
  • Aww, Look! They Really Do Love Each Other: Opal's relationship with Rarity is rocky at best but this issue shows that she does genuinely care about her owner.
  • Batman Gambit: When Angel is about to drop the magic potion on Cassie's mouth, she uses Twilight to imprision Angel. Turns out he was already expecting that and has already planned to use Gummy as a final distraction to disrupt Cassie's hypnotic song and let him use the magic potion on her.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Winona and Angel are cornered by the brainwashed ponies and are rescued by Tank and Owlowicious.
  • Butt Monkey: Angel gets tossed around quite a lot throughout the issue.
    • Iron Butt Monkey: He doesn't let it slow him down, and he goes on to save the day.
  • The Cameo: Trixie and Coco Pommel are among the brainwashed Ponyville citizens.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: Nobody ever calls Cassie out on the fact that her first plan to get the water sprites back was to brainwash the village instead of just politely asking for some help.
  • Chirping Crickets / Leaning on the Fourth Wall: By Gummy, even! Angel enters a quite-empty Ponyville looking for Fluttershy, and Gummy, rolled up into a ball, rolls past like a tumbleweed and whistling a bit.
  • Continuity Nod: The potion that Angel uses to screw up Cassie's singing voice appears to be one brewed from Poison Joke, given the bottle has a skull-and-crossbones wearing a jester's hat..
  • Didn't Think This Through: The main problem with what Cassie did is that she didn't to simply ask the ponies for help, or consider that breaking down the dam would flood Ponyville.
    • On the side of the pets, they apparently forgot that Opal would still be a giant after they rescued their owners from Cassie.
  • The Dog Bites Back: Only a quick explanation allows Cassie to escape the angry hooves of the Ponyvillians after they're freed from her control.
  • Easily Forgiven: Good intentions or not, she still tried to hypnotize all of Ponyville to destroy the dam and was forgiven quite quickly, which Rainbow Dash points out.
  • Eye Scream: Owliscious carries Gummy by his eyelids. Though he doesn't seem to mind.
  • Foreshadowing: The existence of kelpies was made official way back during the first comic story arc, as the map had a location called Kelpie Keep.
  • The Greatest Story Never Told: The issue ends with the ponies having no idea who saved them from Cassie's control.
  • Karma Houdini: As Rainbow Dash lampshades, Cassie gets no real retribution for brainwashing Ponyville and nearly flooding the town (though Twilight does point out that she was simply helping her water sprite friends).
  • The Leader: Angel is the one who leads the pets.
  • Magic Music: How Cassie the kelpie controls the Ponyvillians. The pets break her control by using a potion of Zecora's to disrupt her voice.
  • Making a Splash: Cassie seems to have some control over water.
  • Must Have Caffeine: How Angel feels when he wakes up.
  • No Sell: Cassie's singing has no effect on the pets.
  • Oh Crap!: Angel and Winona's reaction to Cassie's entrance.
    • Initially, Opal is indifferent to the Ponyville citizens being brainwashed to destroy the dam. Then Angel reveals that destroying said dam would result in a flood, leading to a very wet Opal. That gets her attention.
  • Pictorial Speech Bubble: All of the pets' dialogue is rendered as these (save for Owlowicious, whose "Who" is written out).
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter: The water sprites.
  • Shown Their Work: A mild example: Gummy managed to deliver pain to Cassie after biting her tailfin even without teeth. Not surprising considering the powerful jaw strength of an alligator.
  • Size Shifter: Opal uses one of Zecora's potions to grow giant.
  • Spanner in the Works: The pets are the only reason Cassie's plan to break the dam failed.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: Cassie was just trying to help her water sprite friends, who couldn't leave the water, get to the ocean before they got sick. The thing is, there's a dam in the way... So, she decides to use her music to get the townsponies to break down the dam. As Twilight says, she did the wrong thing for the right reasons.
  • Whatever Happened To The Cat: Opal disappears after the rescue attempt, only to show up again when Rarity asks where she is.

     2014 Annual Power Ponies Special 

Main Story
Story by Ted Anderson, Art by Ben Bates

A story that takes place entirely in the comic world of "Power Ponies", including the actual versions of these characters and Humdrum (himself a pony here).

The Power Ponies stop several of Maretropolis' villains and put them into Balkham Asylum, earning the praise of the city. But behind the scenes, the Ponies are rather antagonistic towards each other, much to Humdrum's dismay.

In Balkham, Mane-iac meets with four other criminals: Long-Face, High Heel, Pharaoh Phetlock, and Smudge, and suggests that they work together to defeat the Power Ponies, as operating alone hasn't worked in the past. With the aid of a sixth, Shadowmane, they are able to break out of prison and begin their scheme. Later, the Power Ponies are alerted to new danger in Maretropolis but find themselves against all six of Mane-iac's team. The villains easily overpower the superheroes (and tie up Humdrum), and take them to Mane-iac's lair. There, she uses a device that transfers the innate superpowers from the Power Ponies into her gang of six, and with their new-found super abilities, begin to ravage the city.

Humdrum helps to free the others, who fear without their powers all is lost, but their sidekick recalls a show on television that teaches of the strength of friendship and how it can overcome even the greatest villain. After running the Power Ponies through an intense friendship training montage, the group is ready to go off and face the Mane-iac and her gang - only to be caught immediately in a trap. As the villains gloat to themselves, the Power Ponies manage to escape, and secretly goad the villains into distrusting themselves. With the villains angry at each other, the Power Ponies have enough time to reverse the effects of Mane-iac's power swapping machine, and restore their abilities. The Mane-iac and others are quickly subdued by the Power Ponies. As the story concludes, the Power Ponies ask Humdrum about this show he got his idea for, and he takes them back to their tower to show them several episodes of My Little Donkey.

  • Bedlam House: Balkham Asylum, a clear Expy of Arkham.
  • Big Bad Wannabe : Poor Pharaoh Phetlock talks a big game, but doesn't appear to have any actual powers and is the least threatening of the villains on display. The first time he appears he gets taken out by Humdrum, the second time he ends up curled into a fetal position on the floor having a emotional breakdown before the heroes even arrive.
  • Breaking the Fellowship: After realizing that friendship alone won't help them stop the League of Villainy, the Power Ponies decide that they must break apart the League. They do so by sticking to the shadows and try to convince the villains that they're out to get each other.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: Pharoah Phetlock gets into an argument with the narrator about his name.
  • Brought Down to Badass: The League of Villainy was able to steal the Power Ponies' powers, but the heroes' defeat was only temporary; once they learned to work together as a team, they easily defeated the villains, stealing back their powers in the process.
  • Expy: The Power Ponies' base is a clear Expy of Titans Tower, a pony Commissioner Gordon is briefly seen, Balkham is obviously meant to be Arkham, Long Face is a pony version of the Sandman, Pharaoh Phetlock is King Tut from the 1966 Batman TV series, and "My Little Donkey" is such an obvious My Little Phony that if anyone else did it, they'd get sued for copyright infringement, with the characters being obvious donkey versions of the Mane Six.
  • Gilligan Cut: After their intense friendship training with Humdrum, the Power Ponies race off to fight the villainous six. Cut to next panel where they have all been trapped, hung upside down in a cage.
  • Lemony Narrator: The Phony Pharoah, er, Pharoah Phetlock complains that he or she got his name wrong.
  • Headbutting Heroes: Masked Matterhorn outright states that the Ponies are free to bicker with each other all they want as long as they don't do it in public.
  • My Little Phony: Or rather "My Little Donkey", the show which taught Humdrum the meaning of friendship.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: The Villain Team-Up ends up helping the Power Ponies learn to work together better.
  • Power Parasite: The Mane-iac and her allies manage to steal the abilities of the Power Ponies.
  • Race Lift: The Masked Matterhorn is a unicorn instead of an alicorn, and Humdrum is a pony colt instead of a baby dragon.
  • Reality Ensues: After learning about the Power of Friendship and teamwork, the Power Ponies set out to defeat the League of Villainy without their powers. They're immediately defeated and thrown into a cage.
  • Spanner in the Works: Once again, the Mane-iac fails to properly take Humdrum into account, and he not only frees the Power Ponies, he is able to help them learn how to work together better.
  • They Fight Crime: Six super-powered ponies (and their powerless Sidekick) with personalities that clash so hard that when they aren't fighting crime, they're fighting each other.
  • Training Montage: Humdrum teaching the others how to come to trust and value friendship when their powers are taken away.
  • Villain Team-Up: The plot of the issue is the Mane-iac forming an alliance, The League of Villainy, with 5 other villains in order to steal the abilities of the Power Ponies.
  • Villainous Breakdown: Pharaoh Phetlock has one, with Matter-Horn even referring to it as an emotional breakdown.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Although they act like friends in the public eye, the Power Ponies can barely stand each other. Luckily, they are able to overcome this to stop the Villain Team-Up (with a little help from Humdrum).
  • What the Hell, Hero?: After the Power Ponies have been stripped of their powers, Humdrum calls them all out on their behavior towards each other up to that point.

The Return of Mane-iac
In a separate story, Mane-iac escapes from prison and returns to the lair where her hair dryer of doom (from "Power Ponies") lays in ruins. Amidst the destruction she finds a strange mirror and drawn through it, finds herself in a world populated by humans. Curious as to this new world and what evil she can make, she explores and runs into the human version of Mane-iac. The two do not immediately recognize the other and begin to fight, but soon discover they really are the same, beyond the species difference. The two take about their past exploits and agree that they can work together in their separate universes to complete their evil goals. Human Mane-iac says goodbye as the pony version returns to her own world.

Human Rainbow Dash, who has been reading this comic, is perplexed by the pony version of Mane-iac.

  • Sequel Hook: The Human and Pony Mane-iacs hint at a future Villain Team-Up.
  • Who Writes This Crap?!: Human Rainbow Dash's reaction to the whole thing. "A four-legged Mane-iac? This comic is weird."
  • A Wizard Did It: Why doesn't Mane-iac turn into a human after going through the portal into the Equestria Girls universe? There should have been two human versions of her in the same way there are two human versions of Twilight Sparkle.

    Issue # 24 note  
Story by Jeremy Whitley, Art by Brenda Hickey

Fluttershy is about to set off with the Cutie Mark Crusaders on an animal-watching outing for their filly scouts, when suddenly Discord arrives via a meteorite, having come one week too early for his next scheduled visit with Fluttershy. He tags along with them as they witness rather mundane creatures and instead insists he can show them much more interesting things in Equestria's past. The CMC immediately are up for it, but only until Discord lures Fluttershy with the opportunity to see a beautiful butterdragon does she agree. Calling up his time machine, Discord and the ponies set off for the past.

Their first stop is the lost civilization of Anugypt (the Equestrian equivalent of Ancient Egypt) where the group is quickly captured by jackals under Anubis' orders, apparently due to a mess Discord made the last time. As Discord tries to talk his way out of Anubis' plans, he notices several cats nearby, and has his pony friends duck at the right, as Baast and her feline army attack the jackals letting the others escape; the CMC recognize some similarities to that of Baast and her other cats to the Mane 6, and Sweetie Belle recognizes that Anubis has been taken over by the same force that created Nightmare Moon. As Baast regroups and teased the fact that Discord claims Fluttershy as a friend, Sweetie lets her know how to stop Anubis before Discord, Fluttershy and the CMC return to the time machine.

After a few more stops, they end up in prehistoric Equestria where Fluttershy is taken in by all the animals she has never seen. Discord, watching the CMC, is too late to react when a roc grabs the fillies. Fluttershy chastises Discord for using his powers that get them into trouble but never to help save them, as she tries to follow the roc, but eventually faints from exhaustion. Discord realizes his mistake, and calls in a favor from an old friend, a butterdragon named Hubert. Hubert is able to save the CMC and get them all to safety. After talking with Hubert, Discord realizes that he is still learning to how to be a good friend, and after making sure that Fluttershy gets to witness the beauty of the butterdragon, he collects the ponies and makes good to return them back to their home.

  • Bad Future: Discord travels too far into the future and discovers that Equestria (and the rest of the planet) will be overtaken by aliens while the ponies themselves have been turned into ponified CyberMen. He quickly takes everyone away from that future and refuses to tell Fluttershy the future he just saw.
  • Bigger on the Inside: Inverted: when the CMC comment on how big Discord's time machine is (roughly shown as the size of a small house in Ponyville), he comments that it's actually smaller on the inside. Later we see the five all crammed in tight inside it, proving Discord's point.
  • Cats Are Mean: Inverted. Baast and her cats are an heroic group battling against Anubis and his evil army.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Nightmare Force from Issues 5 to 8 returns as the driving force behind Anubis' villainy.
    • Discord tells Fluttershy he's an honorary member of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, which he became in Issue 2 of the Friends Forever comics.
    • One game Discord presents for them to play is Oubliettes and Ogres, which has been a stock Dungeons & Dragons parody in the series since issue #11.
  • Egyptian Mythology: While visiting ancient Anugypt, Discord and the ponies run into Anubis and Baast, among other tropes from that theme.
  • Everything's Better with Dinosaurs: The group briefly witnesses them in prehistoric Equestria.
  • Fridge Logic: In-universe, Sweetie Belle asks why Discord would be worried about running into a butterdragon (a huge butterfly), if they were harmless like he said.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Discord, finding Doctor Whooves in his time machine, kicks him off panel, realizing there's already too many references in the story to this point.
  • Mind Screw: In universe, the Plot Parallel with the cats has the CMC very confused.
    • Apparently, Discord worked with Baast to steal Anubis's favorite bone last time he was in Anugypt.
  • Plot Parallel: Sweetie Belle recognizes the events in "Ancient Egypt", from Anubis having been consumed by the forces that created Nightmare Moon, to Baast and her cat allies being color-matched versions of the Mane 6, are the same as from Twilight and her friends and how they defeated Nightmare Moon and offer this advice to Baast to help deal with Anubis in the future.
  • Prehistoria: Apparently, dinosaurs and ponies co-existed in prehistoric Equestria.
  • Reference Overdosed: Lampshaded. When Discord opens the doors to his time machine, Dr. Hooves is waiting for them. Discord promptly says that this comic has too many references already and gives him the boot out of the story.
  • Running Gag: Once again, Sweetie Belle is a dictionary. She even lampshades the fact that ponies are surprised that she knows these things.
  • Ship Tease: The relationship between Baast and Discord, who licks Discord's cheek and nuzzles him. At the same time, this teases the relationship between Discord and Fluttershy as Baast hisses at her and eyes her angrily. Also, when Baast asks about Fluttershy, Discord looks away sheepishly despite saying that she's "Just a friend". Later while chastising Discord for never using his powers to help them, Fluttershy expresses mild jealousy over Baast and Discord's relationship.
  • Shown Their Work: With mixed results. Fluttershy properly identifies a collective group of goldfinches as a "charm of goldfinches", which is the proper collective noun. However, her "confusion of guinea pigs" is not right - that's just a "group" (the mistake might come from the fact that there is a "confusion" of guinea fowl, which is the adjacent line on most collective noun tables.)
  • Timey-Wimey Ball: Discord attempts to explain the ramifications of time travel to the CMC.
  • Transformation Sequence: Discord has a very Sailor Moon-ish panel as he changes into his honorary filly scout outfit. He even ends with the "victory" pose that Sailor Moon would complete hers with.
  • Whole Plot Reference: Based on teaser images tweeted by artist Brenda Hickey, the whole story is a loose take on Doctor Who, from Discord donning a fez and bowtie, to using a time travel device similar to the TARDIS that's about reliable as the Doctor's, and even a point where some ponified Cybermen and Doctor Whooves himself shows up. Even the Hot Topic variant cover plays on the similarities between Doctor Who and Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure.

    Issue #25-26: The Good, The Bad and the Ponies 
Written by Katie Cook, Art by Andy Price

The Mane 6 travel to Canter Creek, where Chili Pepper, one of AJ's relatives, lives and who has implored the Mane 6 to come up. They meet up with Sheriff Tumbleweed, who says that the town is being ravaged by Cattle Rustlers who really want to gain control of the Peppers' ranch, and do this by intimidating the townsponies and make them give them their food; as such, ponies like Chili Pepper and others have already left town, figuring there's no hope. When the Cattle Rustlers, led by Longhorn, arrive after the Mane 6, AJ attempts to stand her ground only to be outpowered by Longhorn. Even with their power, Longhorn can tell AJ is stubborn, and creates a plan to set the Pepper barn on fire. The Mane 6 quickly help to put it out, though when AJ challenges Twilight and Rarity to use their magic against the bulls, Twilight says that they aren't supposed to use it against non-magical beings.

They come up with a plan with the help of the other townsfolk, but before they can set it in motion, the Cattle Rustlers create a cow stampede that damages more of the town, and even more of the ponies flee. With the meager few left, the Mane 6, Sheriff Tumbleweed and the others put the plan in motion to tar and feather the Cattle Rustlers next time they pass through town. However, this (along with Pinkie's decision to eat some of the flaming hot peppers and setting fire to the tar) does nothing to faze the Rustlers. Sheriff Tumbleweed gives up hope and leaves his badge behind, which AJ takes up and promises to end the Cattle Rustler threat for good.

The next day, after learning of AJ's persistence, Longhorn files official paperwork that as the owners of the ranch have abandoned it, the Cattle Rustlers are due to become rightful owners as long as they remain camped on the property for 7 days. Twilight deems the paper all legitimate and within Equestrian law, but AJ comes up with a plan to dupe the Cattle Rustlers. While Twilight and Fluttershy pose as town officials, noting small mistakes in the signing of the document, forcing Longhorn to leave camp to fix it, the others, along with help of some of the braver townsponies inspired by the Mane 6, distract the other, more dimwitted Rustlers long enough to move their entire camp piece by piece so that it's outside the ranch's property.

On the last day, Longhorn and the other Rustlers find the Mane 6 rebuilding the barn, and believing they are still on the ranch property, proceed to destroy it. However, AJ points out that where they are is no longer on the ranch, and thanks to a few favors Twilight was able to pull with the Princesses, had gotten the barn marked as an historical landmark. Since the Rustlers now have committed a crime within Equestrian law, Twilight willingly steps in with her magic to reconstruct the barn as the town's new jail for the Rustlers. With the threat ended, AJ returns the sheriff's badge to Tumbleweed, who has been re-invigorated by the Mane 6. The Mane 6 ride off into the sunset.

  • Absentee Actor: Spike is literally put on a bus, spending the arc at a Los Pegasus "Pony Trek" convention (and winning first place in the cosplay contest).
  • Broken Aesop:
    • In the fantastical sense, Twilight's hesitation to use magic against a non-magical citizen could have been respectable on some level if she had been consistent in its application. Unfortunately, while she refuses to use her magic to protect innocent people from Longhorn's depredations, she does use it to imprison Longhorn and his gang when he alone smashed up a "historical site" that was declared so under dubious circumstances. It's like she's been taking lessons from the Elders.
    • In the less fantastical sense, Twilight scolds Rainbow Dash for tearing up a notarized document as being illegal, but aside from standing aside while Longhorn commits assault, extortion, vandalism, and arson, she also participates in assault, kidnapping, impersonation and fraud in order to set Longhorn up to commit a crime she'd actually do something about. Unless all of the aforementioned actions aren't actually crimes in Equstria, which has some disturbing implications.
  • Everyone Calls Him Barkeep: The mail pony lampshades this when talking to Rarity.
  • Clean Up The Town: AJ's mission once she takes up the sheriff's badge for herself.
  • Clint Squint: AJ does this within the comic; Andy Price's cover for #26 also has the same squint.
  • Continuity Nod: Windingo [sic] ghost peppers.
  • Distracted by the Sexy : The Mane Six send Fluttershy, disguised as a cute messenger pony, to distract the bulls while the ponies move the villains' campsite.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: The Cattle Rustlers were shown in the Rarity/AJ Friends Forever issue, the events of which are briefly mentioned here.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar : A literal case as Rarity, in anger, calls Longhorn 'Cow Pie'.
  • Gosh Dang It to Heck!: Lampshaded when the Mane 6 are discussing the Cattle Rustlers.
    Rainbow Dash: Everpony in this town is afraid of a cow?
    Fluttershy: Bull.
    Rainbow Dash: I think that was uncalled for.
    • Later, AJ swears using the phrase "meadow muffins".
  • Lawful Stupid: Between Twilight's easy forgiveness of the kelpie in #23 and her refusal to use magic against the bulls in #25, the comics seem to be depicting that her position as princess requires her to follow a completely inflexible moral code.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Several, several times.
  • Loophole Abuse: How AJ schemes around Twilight's Obstructive Code of Conduct to get Twilight to use her magic against the Rustlers, by having them cause damage to a building that has only just been declared an historical landmark.
  • Masochist's Meal: When Pinkie eats a Windigo ghost pepper, she goes through four panels of Fire-Breathing Diner reactions, then instantly snaps back to normal and exclaims "Delicious! Can I have a bag of those to go?"
    • She then decides to eat a bunch just before the Cattle Rustlers arrive, and promptly tempts fate, her reaction ruining the plan.
  • Mind Over Manners: Twilight explains that she will not use their magic directly against non-magical citizens of Equestria like the Cattle Rustlers, which would have solved the problem rather quickly.
  • Never Say "Die": Pinkie uses the phrase "sleeping with the fishes" when Sheriff Tumbleweed notes that Chili Pepper is gone. The Sheriff quickly corrects her to say he's gone and left town.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Pinkie's decision to eat some of the peppers right before the Rustlers arrive.
  • No Name Given: We never learn the mail pony's name despite her pointing out that she has one.
  • Nobody Calls Me Chicken: Longhorn's reaction when AJ calls him out as a "yellow-bellied brisket coward".
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: Twilight, Rarity and Fluttershy manage to fool Longhorn just wearing fake mustaches and glasses.
  • Riding into the Sunset: Lampshaded at the end of the story - Pinkie asks if they should be riding the goats the Rustlers had used as they set off.
  • Shout-Out: Twilight calls Rainbow Dash "kemosabe," which is a term of endearment used by Tonto in the Lone Ranger.
  • Tar and Feathers: Twilight's trap involves humiliating the Cattle Rustlers by covering them in syrup and feathers. While they do get covered, the way it covers them (combined with a shot of flames from Pinkie, who had eaten peppers earlier), causes them to actually look demonic, thus scaring the ponies into giving into the Cattle Rustlers' demands.
  • Took A Level In Bad Ass : Longhorn and his gang; when they first appeared in the 'Friends Forever' series, Applejack and Rarity fought them off, without any outside help, with relative ease. Here, they're a very serious threat to a whole town.
  • Training the Peaceful Villagers: They try, anyway.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The Mane 6 travel to Canter Creek on account of Applejack's missing great uncle. By the end of the arc, he's still missing and what exactly happened to him is never revealed.
  • Whole Plot Reference: The setup is effective the fable of "The Grasshopper and the Ants", itself retold in Pixar's A Bug's Life.

     2014 Holiday Equestria Girls Special 
Story by Ted Anderson, Art by Tony Fleecs

As the holidays approach at Canterlot High, Sunset is reminded that she is far too distant from her family. AJ hatches a plan with the rest of her friends to help warm Sunset up with a series of slumber parties. The first one at Pinkie's goes fine, until AJ gets a call from Apple Bloom to check in on AJ for Granny, calling her by her childhood nickname "Piggly Wiggly" when hanging up. AJ is embarrassed by the nickname but gladly explains it to their friends. As they drift to sleep, Sunset writes to Twilight Sparkle via her book explaining how their friends are helping out.

The next day at school, AJ is shocked to find that some person going by "Anon-a-Miss" has posted about AJ's "Piggly Wiggly" name to a social media site, and the school is already teasing her. They think nothing of it until after the next slumber party at Rarity's, where a bunch of candid photos of the friends dressing in some of Rarity's spare clothes get sent out by Anon-a-Miss the next day. The others all suspect that Sunset is the one responsible for this, as she was the only other person at these events. Sunset finds her friends and the whole school suddenly against her, even as more secrets of other students from the school get publicized by Anon-a-Miss. Even the more mischievous students of the school like Trixie would like to take credit for Anon-a-Miss but they can't.

Sunset writes back to Twilight and asks for her help. Twilight recounts the situation sounds similar to the legend of the Windegos that attempt to foster hatred between friends, and reminds her the importance of family. As she shows this dialog to her friends the next day, the mention of "family" leads the group to realize who Anon-a-Miss might be, just as Apple Bloom, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo appear and admit to being Anon-a-Miss, started as a joke by Apple Bloom to get back at AJ having fun at the slumber parties but soon got out of hand. With their identity known, they quickly delete the Anon-a-Miss profile, and the school soon forgets about the incident, and Sunset's friends apologize to her for doubting her. The group meets up for a final holiday get-together, making sure Sunset is fully welcoming into their group.

  • Adaptational Villainy: The difference between this story and "Ponyville Confidential" is that in the episode, the CMC kept writing Gabby Gums columns because Diamond Tiara was blackmailing them, and they weren't trying to frame someone else. Here, they're motivated purely by hatred for Sunset Shimmer.
  • An Aesop: Some secrets cannot be taken back.
  • The Cameo: The humanized Cloud Gremlins reappear.
  • Continuity Nod: The issue takes place after My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks as Sunset communicates with Twilight via their linked books.
    • The plot calls back to "Ponyville Confidential" in that the CMC become rumor-mongerers, though for different reasons this time.
    • The tale of Hearth's Warming Eve and the Windegos is brought up by Twilight.
    • Sunset's self-esteem problems show up again.
  • Easily Forgiven: To a small degree: the CMC are seemingly given full apologies on the spot by the Humane 6 when they admit to being Anon-a-Miss. However, we learn later they have to serve 6 months detention and live with the fact some of the secrets revealed cannot be taken back.
  • Embarrassing Nick Name: "Piggly Wiggly" for AJ.
  • Fantasy Counterpart:
    • MyStable is a fictional counterpart to MySpace and similar social networking sites.
    • Anon-A-Miss starts out as a Sock Puppet of Apple Bloom, but her friends quickly start sharing shameful secrets of everyone at Canterlot High, much as Anonymous shares secrets of celebrities and other public figures.
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: One of AJ's MyStable posts seemingly contains a Curse Cut Short version of "damn", and another's visibly contains "sucks" (Yes, as slang.).
    • That said, the same word could be "dang", since Apple Bloom's finger obscures enough of the word to not be able to see if the third letter is an n or an m, and the word "damn" probably couldn't fit on the line if the post used justified text orientation. Either way, it's still a trope.
  • Green-Eyed Monster: Apple Bloom originally started Anon-a-Miss because she was jealous that Applejack was spending time with Sunset and her friends and not with her and the rest of her family.
  • Heroic BSOD: Sunset actually bursts into tears at one point because of everyone believing that she's Anon-a-Miss.
  • Motive Decay: The Crusaders start with a selfish, yet understandable motive for framing Sunset Shimmer. After achieving that goal, they continue to do so for no clear reason for days before their consciences get the better of them.
  • Peer Pressure Makes You Evil: One of the reasons the CMC give for continuing to post secrets was that their peers were encouraging them to continue. So the secret posting went on until everyone in the school got involved, which caused the whole situation to spiral out of control.

    Issues #27-28: Root of the Problem 
Written by Katie Cook, Art by Andy Price

The Mane 6 and Spike are about to enjoy a quiet picnic when Zecora is chased out of the Everfree Forest, followed by vines and Timberwolves. The Mane 6 work to save the zebra, who thanks them for their help and explains she was chased out of the forest, and as they watch, vines and plants from the forest quickly encroach on Ponyville. Realizing time is short, the Mane 6 and Spike race into Everfree to try to find the heart of the forest. They come across a young deer, Bramble, who offers to take them there. When the ponies uproot a tree to cross a chasm, Bramble become enraged, and then shows that he, like other deer, carry a bit potion on them that helps to bring vines to life to help repair the damage. Apologizing for their mistake, the ponies are taken to the deer village of Thicket and meet King Aspen, the king of the deer. Aspen is not happy about seeing the ponies, but Twilight Sparkle is able to calm him down enough to learn why the deer are angry.

Aspen shows them the problem - just outside the Everfree is a large construction project run by the minotaur Well-To-Do to construct a new amusement park, aided by ponies and minotaurs alike. Aspen had tried to negotiate with the minotaur with no success, and in revenge, has caused the Everfree Forest to grow and take over the rest of Equestria. Twilight and the others go to Well-To-Do to try to stall the project, but the minotaur is insistent that progress must continue, and refuses to listen even to the Princess. Regrouping with King Aspen, the Mane 6 offer to do whatever they can to help the deer and the forest. Twilight becomes curious as to why Celestia has not done anything and has Spike fire off a letter, upon which we find both Celestia and Luna have become entangled in the Everfree vines, unable to do anything themselves.

The Mane 6 attempt peaceful means to deter Well-To-Do, but he refuses to give up, and King Aspen tells the ponies they should return to Ponyville to help evacuate there, allowing them to rest that night. During the night, Rainbow and Spike follow Bramble as the deer explores the construction site, noting that the strange smoothie mixes seem to have plant growing abilities. Bramble is suddenly captured by Well-to-do's mook, and Rainbow and Spike race back to warn the others. Just as King Aspen is about to attack the site, Well-to-do shows up, and forces Aspen to sign away the rights of the forest for return of Bramble, as well as to force Aspen to become a mascot of the park. With Aspen gone, Blackthorn, Aspen's second-in-command, takes charge and begins to plan a full out assault, enlisting Fluttershy to help convince the animals of Everfree to aid in battle.

Even when faced by the army of ponies, deer, and creatures, Well-To-Do refuses to budge, insisting he is doing everything lawfully and as a well-intentioned business minotaur. The army attacks, and Bramble sees a number of barrels of the organic smoothie mix nearby, directing everyone to knock them over. With copious volumes of liquid poured on the ground, the plants of Everfree are quickly regrown, and smash through the construction site, destroying it and freeing Aspen. Most of the other ponies and minotaurs working for Well-To-Do run off, but Well-To-Do insists that he still has rights to the land and will still build the theme park. Aspen agrees that he is unable to do anything in his power to stop Well-To-Do, but that same respect doesn't extend to the creatures of Everfree, and the hydra quickly devours him.Note .

The deer quickly work to recall all the vines that they had sent out across Equestria and promise to help fix any damage. Princess Celestia arrives and she and King Aspen agree to keep Everfree for the deer and the creatures, and thanks the Mane 6 for their help. Before Celestia departs, Pinkie Pie gives her a new drawing for one of Canterlot's stained glass windows depicting the event, which Celestia quickly regrets when she finally sees it after it is made.

  • Ambition Is Evil: Well-To-Do and his theme park project.
  • Black and Grey Morality: The villainous Well-To-Do is greedy and self-interested and has no problem destroying the forest, but the deer that oppose him are Fantastic Racists who are destroying pony settlements that have nothing to do with the conflict.
  • Black Screen of Death: What the hydra does to Well-To-Do is only given by a black panel, with the reaction of the Mane 6 to judge what least until the 2 page extra showing it is only partially as dark as it might have been...
  • Call Back: Whinney Land, and Rarity's fascination with the theme park, as outlined in the AJ/Rarity Friends Forever comic, comes up again.
  • The Cameo
    • Timber wolves are seen in the opening panels.
    • Philomena and Tiberius, Celestia's and Luna's pets respectively, appear.
    • The hydra from "Feeling Pinkie Keen" appears as one of the monsters attacking the group.
  • Can't Argue with Elves: Twilight even has a quite out of character moment where she eagerly rips down a tree, just so the deer can lecture her.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The heart-shaped potion flask on King Aspen's neck. He isn't called "The heart of the forest" for nothing.
  • Corrupt Corporate Executive: Well-To-Do.
  • Deus ex Machina: After it being explained that Well-To-Do's construction has made the area intolerant to plant life and the deer can't make the forest grow back even if he left, the solution is found when the organic smoothie mix Well-To-Do is planning to sell at the part turns out to rejuvenate the soil. After the direct statement that the deer's magic can't do anything, the resolution shoots past Fridge Logic to this trope.
  • Expy: The deer are clearly taking the roles of Tolkien's elves; even their village Thicket looks like something out of the films.
  • The Fair Folk: While the deer are certainly close with nature and aren't explicitly violent, they certainly can be aggressive when they don't get their way.
  • Fantastic Racism: The deer hate ponies and want nothing to do with them, even frowning on them coming into the forest.
  • Gaia's Vengeance: In retaliation for having parts of it cut down, the Everfree Forest expands into Ponyville.
  • Greed: Well-To-Do's defining trait.
  • Green Aesop: About the dangers of deforestation.
  • Hidden Elf Village: Thicket, the hidden kingdom where the deer live.
  • Hypocrite: In response to the construction project destroying the homes of forest creatures, the deer have the forest spread into numerous pony towns across Equestria to replace what has been lost, destroying those towns in the process. King Aspen directly says to Twilight "tit for tat" when confronted with this.
  • Idiot Ball: There's several being juggled around to the point of Idiot Plot. The ponies are completely ineffectual and useless (their best suggestions to stop Well-To-Do is a protest and a boycott), Celestia and Luna never investigate what's going on in person, and the deer act like racists who never try to meet Celestia in person, explain what's going on to anypony, or look for any alternatives beyond their ecoterrorism.
  • Karma Houdini: Invoked and averted. When Well-To-Do's henchpony, Jargon, is about to escape, Pinkie calls out that he hadn't received any comeuppance. Karma happily obliges by having a gorilla send him hurtling through the air.
  • Large and In Charge: Well-To-Do, especially since most of the construction workers are ponies.
  • Loyal Animal Companion: Calvin, the little bird that's on good terms with the deer and informs them on what's going on in the forest.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: Deer magic is noted to be similar to zebra magic, relying more on potions and salves instead of spells like unicorns do.
  • The Magic Goes Away: King Aspen notes that when the trees are cut down, the soil beneath loses its magic, and they can't get things to grow again.
  • The Marvelous Deer: King Aspen.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: In the "Good Is Not Nice" and "Blue and Orange Morality" context.
  • Never Say "Die": Averted, barely. When Well-to-do is set on by the hydra, the next panel is completely black, following by a panel of the various characters looking queasy, clearly indicating the hydra had swallowed him. The short 2 page at the end shows Well-to-do is fine, just now trying to sell real estate in the hydra out of its stomach.
  • Our Elves Are Better: They're deer.
  • Plot-Induced Stupidity: Just like in the previous issue, the entire plot could have been solved after a few pages if Twilight Sparkle had used her authority as a Princess to stop Well-To-Do's toxic "progress" plans.
    • Previous Cook's stories showed that Celestia is absurdly strong and even can turn herself into living fire, while Luna was shown as being absurdly aggressive and always being ready to go full aggro against any menace to Equestria. In this story the Royal Sisters are both captured by normal vines, neither of them use their powers to break free for unknown reasons, and Luna simply doesn't care about the threat.
    • And then there's the fact of the Deer Kingdom being at a short walking distance from Ponyville all along without neither the ponies or Zecora ever noticing it.
  • Rhymes on a Dime: Lampshaded, when Zecora flees Everfree, she shouts out "Help!" from the Mane 6. Rainbow notes that that isn't a very good rhyme, and then later, when Zecora does drop back into her rhyming scheme, considers "that's better".
  • Skewed Priorities: Rainbow Dash is worried that Zecora's lost her rhyming schemes when she's fleeing the forest while the other Mane 6 run to help. Later when AJ drops the phrase "cow tipping" as they are about to fight off Timberwolves, Fluttershy worried about the cows.
    • When the Timberwolves attack, Pinkie Pie's first reaction is ask Spike to save the cake they had for their picnic.
  • Stealth Pun: The Heart of the Forest turns out to be King Aspen, ruler of the deer... A hart.
  • The Syndicate: Well-To-Do is in the fledgling stages of this. He uses clearly criminal means (extortion, mail theft, assault) to further the progress of his construction business, and he plans to spread his theme parks and parking garages across as much of Equestria as he can get away with. His right-hand pony is clearly a mafia-styled mobster.
  • The Theme Park Version: The upcoming theme park's attractions include "The Cloudsdale Experience" and a roller coaster shaped like Canterlot Castle.
  • Worf Effect: Celestia and Luna are defeated by the Everfree's vines (though Luna's demeanor implies she wasn't taking the conflict seriously). Subverted on the first page of part 2, which shows Celestia and Luna untangling themselves from the vines.

    Issue # 29 note  
Story by Ted Anderson, Art by Jay Fosgitt

The Mane 6 are attending a wrestling match in Manehattan when Rarity happens upon Cheerilee, who reveals one of the wrestlers is actually her twin sister, Cherry Blossom. Rarity sees that Cheerilee is nervous and learns that there's a rift between the sisters, and arranges for a tea party, along with fellow wrestler Cloverleaf. Cherry Blossom is only happy to meet with the others, but when Cheerilee arrives, they argue until the latter storms out. Cherry Blossom tries to catch up to her, but trips up on a step and strains a leg, which leaves her out of commission for 6 weeks. With the championship only days away, Cherry Blossom proposes a plan, to train Cheerilee to take her place in the ring, as in costume, she will be indistinguishable from Cherry Blossom.

Rariy and Cloverleaf help Cheerilee get used to wrestling, learning that while a sport, they are more about performance than hurting their opponents. It takes some time, but Cheerilee gets used to the moves. Suddenly, they are introduced to the competitor in the big bout, Iron Hock, who appears as a formidable opponent. Cheerilee starts to fear the match, knowing that she is far less aggressive than her sister, but Rarity realizes that both Cheerilee and Cherry Blossom share the common love of helping to cheer up young fillies and colts by their own unique methods. After a bit of revitalization with Cherry Blossom's young fans, Cheerilee is ready for the match.

Iron Hock proves as formidable as she made herself out to be, and Cheerilee struggles to stay in the match, but finds the right opening to use a special move she was taught, and wins the match. Thinking the championship is over, Cheerilee is stunned to learn that this was only the one-on-one and now must finish the tag-team match with Iron Hock and her huge partner Steel Buns. Fortunately, Rarity shows up as "Diamonde Elegante" and before Cheerilee knows it, the match is over with Cheerilee and Rarity the victors. Cheerilee and Cherry Blossom reunite, making up for their lost years, when Iron Hock reveals herself to have been Cloverleaf, part of a plan to help the sisters mend their past. Cheerilee thanks the others for their help.

  • Adaptational Badass: Cherry Blossom was based off of a G3 toy, and her bio card presented her as basically a Pinkie clone. Here she's a successful pro-wrestler.
  • Aerith and Bob: Of the characters introduced in the issue we have Cherry Blossom, Cloverleaf, and... Pete, the "Sneaky" part only being part of his stage name.
  • Chekhov's Gunman: Cloverleaf. She's introduced early as one of Cherry Blossom's friends and is there in the initial parts of Cheerilee's training, but is suspiciously absent when Iron Hock is introduced. It doesn't take much to recognize the coat color under Iron Hock's costume matches that of Cloverleaf.
  • Crazy-Prepared: Rarity made herself a wrestling costume just in case she needed to go into the ring to help Cheerilee out.
  • Flat "What.": Cheerilee's reaction after "Diamante Elegante" helps her defeat both Iron Hock and Steel Buns in a matter of seconds.
  • Funny Background Event: At the end of the story Pinkie can be seen mimicking some wrestling moves on a clearly unamused Applejack.
  • Gratuitous Italian / Gratuitous Spanish : Rarity's wrestler name is Diamante Elegante ("Elegant Diamond").
  • Hidden Depths: Rarity as a wrestler, given how efficiently the tag team match finished off (as well as her Crazy-Prepared-ness with the wrestling match).
  • It Runs in the Family: Cheerilee is shown to have natural talent for wrestling, if only physically.
  • Kayfabe: A quite realistic depiction, with the wrestling characters being fake, but the sport still requiring a good deal of athleticism and training, plus the matches aren't scripted.
  • Mean Character, Nice Actor: In the ring both Sneaky Pete and Iron Hock/Cloverleaf are presented as dirty rivals to the Mystery Mare/Cherry Blossom. Outside of it, both Pete and Cloverleaf are both quite pleasant and good friends of Cherry's.
  • Mythology Gag: Cherry Blossom was one of the G3 pony toys. While the two weren't sisters, Cheerilee's toy was the successor in the line to Cherry's.
  • Noodle Incident: We don't get much information on how exactly Cheerilee and Cherry fell out, except for their differing personalities.
  • Not So Different: Rarity is able to get Cheerilee to see that despite their different ways of doing it, in the end both she and Cherry do their best to make other ponies happy.
  • Off Screen Moment Of Awesome: The Tag Team Match between The Mystery Mare (Cheerilee) & The Glamorous Diamante Elegante (Rarity) against Iron Hock (Cloverleaf) & Steel Buns (Pony Unknown).
  • Parts Unknown: Where "Diamante Elegante" hails from.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Cherry is a wrestler while Cheerilee is a school teacher. Also, Cheerilee described Cherry as naturally aggressive in her youth compared to herself who was shyer.
  • Would Hit a Girl Wrestling matches in Equestria make no real distinction between colts and mares; justified as the mares prove themselves as strong and skilled as the colts. The Mystery Mare (Cherry Blossom) defeats 'Sneaky Pete', and Rainbow Dash references a previous match against Brock 'The Block' Gallop. Also, Iron Hock's tag-team partner, Steel Buns, is a huge, muscular stallion; they both get defeated by The Mystery Mare (Cheerilee) and Diamante Elegante (Rarity).

    Issue #30- 31 Ponyville Days 
Story by Christina Rice, Art by Agnes Garbowska

Ponyville Days is quickly approaching, celebrating the founding of the town. Twilight, however, has been called away to Canterlot but has left detailed planning of the events with the Mayor. As the celebration starts, the theme of the celebration is revealed; to celebrate the first building in Ponyville, and name the youngest member of that original family the princess of the festival. AJ thinks this is Apple Bloom since the Apples founded the town, but she is stopped by Diamond Tiara, who insists that it was Stinkin' Rich's first store that should qualify.

An argument erupts, and soon various townsfolk are taking sides, led primarily between AJ, insisting on the Apple family heritage, and Rarity, who supports the Stinkin' Rich side since her boutique would be a tourist spot. The two sides set off to prepare for all-out war with the other. Apple Bloom meets with Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo, and the two give her the confidence to talk AJ out of this. However, by the time she returns to town, the initial "hostilities" have just begun: the Apple side launching a barrage of apple pies, while the Stickin' Rich side tries to force the others into clothes commemorating the period. Apple Bloom rushes to the train station knowing Twilight is due back, and brings her to the town.

Twilight uses her magic to force everyone to stop and tells everyone that it takes all types to found the town — but no one is having that. The two sides return to their bases, preparing to secede their part of the town from the other. Twilight, Spike, Apple Bloom, the Mayor, and Fluttershy wonder what they are going to do when a letter from Princess Celestia arrives, saying that she and a number of other Canterlot citizens are coming to Ponyville to enjoy their festival. Panic ensues.

Twilight takes a breather and decides to visit all her friends and other leading citizens of Ponyville, convincing them to focus on just one particular aspect that they are keen on to make the visitors feel welcome. Assured that staying focused on task will prevent any in-fighting, she goes to help welcome visitors as they arrive, but a new problem soon develops - the sheer volume of visitors overwhelms each of the events on their own, and with each only focused on their specific interest, they all turn to Twilight to help. Twilight nearly breaks out into a fit, but calms herself and begs everypony to simply help everyone else out as best they can to make their visitors happy. This manages to work, and even AJ and Rarity manage to put aside their differences as they come up with a novel solution for all the dress material to be made into makeshift tents for the visitors.

As Ponyville Days draws to a close, Twilight officially closes the ceremony, but this time making sure that both the first residential building on Ponyville (AJ's farm) and the first commercial building (where Rarity's store now stands) are both properly recognized, helping to settle the original matter once and for all.

  • Call Back: The founding of Ponyville as stated by Granny Smith from "Family Appreciation Day" creates a conflict of whether the Apples or Filthy Rich/Diamond Tiara's family truly started the town.
  • Conflict Ball: Twilight is apparently the only thing stopping Ponyville from going to war with itself at the slightest provocation.
  • Deus Exit Machina: Twilight leaves Ponyville for vague reasons at the start of the issue, and without her to be a mediator and provide factchecking, Ponyville spirals into chaos. Once she returns, she reveals the reason for her trip - to raise interest in the festival among the Canterlot population.
  • Shaming the Mob: When Twilight gets back from her visit to Canterlot, she gives everypony a firm talking-to about letting a petty argument spiral out of control. Unfortunately, everyone is still full of lingering resentment, and instead of immediately making up everyone goes home mad, saying they should just call off this year's Ponyville Days festival.
  • Slobs Vs Snobs: The town becomes divided on whether they should honor Sweet Apple Acres or Stinkin' Rich's store as the first building in Ponyville, with Applejack leading the "Ponyville Started With a Seed" crowd and Rarity leading the "Ponyville Started With a Store" contingent.
  • Take a Third Option: How Twilight ultimately solves the issue of awarding the commemorative plaque - by giving one to Applejack (site of Ponyville's first residence) and Rarity (site of its first business).
  • Teeth-Clenched Teamwork: Diamond Tiara begrudgingly agrees to work together with the Cutie Mark Crusaders to put on a play reenacting the events leading to the founding of Ponyville so long as this is never brought up again.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: When Twilight sees the crowds of tourists coming for the Ponyville Days festival... just when it looks like there isn't going to be a Ponyville Days festival.
  • Written-In Absence: Twilight and Spike are off to Canterlot for royal business, and though Twilight has organized the Ponyville Days theme to be followed, it quickly goes downhill.

    Issues #32- 33 Night of the Living Apples 
Story by Thomas Zahler, Art by Tony Fleecs

Rogue meteroites created from the battle between Princess Celestia and Nightmare Moon a thousand years ago finally fall to earth, one crashing into Sweet Apple Acres. When Applejack goes to investigate, she is swarmed by hundreds of now-living apples created by the magic contained in the meteorite.

The next day, the rest of the Mane 6, Spike, and Sweetie Belle and Scootaloo go off to visit AJ. Unknown to the others, Spike is abducted by more of the apples. When they arrive at Sweet Apple Acres, they find that the entire Apple family has been enslaved by the apples, with the lead apple ordering the others to be captured before they can warn the rest of the town. Their numbers overwhelm the ponies, and the lead apple orders them to attack Ponyville. The town is quickly taken over, and Mayor Mare is forced to surrender the town, living under the strict rule of the apples as they prepare to spread out and take over other towns.

The Mane 6 gather in secret to try to plot for information, but even with Fluttershy's animal friends helping to gather intel, they can't figure out how to stop the apples. They agree they need a spy inside the apple ranks, and Twilight uses a spell to turn Pinkie temporarily into an apple. Within the now secured Sweet Apple Acres, Pinkie finds Spike, kept caged up due to him being more dangerous than the ponies to the apples, as well as one Good Apple that would love to help the ponies to defeat the others. Pinkie returns and lets the others know of their ally.

However, they still would need to free the good apple and Spike, and that would be difficult with the number of apple troops. The idea of using the vampire fruit bats to attack the apples come up, but Fluttershy notes that the bats are all inside the sanctuary on Sweet Apple Acres, and even if she could get to them, she would have difficulty of communicating to them. This gives Twilight another idea, and with a bit of hyponotic-like suggestion, she is able to coerce Fluttershy to become Flutterbat once again, albeit with more control of her personality. However, as she is still unstable, they secure Flutterbat under the watchful eyes of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and Twilight uses a spell to transform herself and the other Mane 6 into vampire bat ponies, with more control of their sense. They fly off and begin to fight against the apples, freeing Spike and Good Apple. They learn that while they might be able to get rid of the meteor, that will not stop the sentient apples.

While they are gone, Flutterbat, still struggling to keep control of her Fluttershy self, manages to break her bonds. As the other Mane 6 struggle against the mass of apples, Flutterbat arrives, having successfully contacted the vampire fruit bats, and they begin sucking the apples dry. With the tide turning against them, the lead apple has the others form a giant Spike-like monster to destroy Ponyville, arguing if they cannot have it, no one can. Twilight, Pinkie and Spike let the others tackle the monster while they seek out the meteor. Twilight senses the magic from Celestia and Luna's battle centuries ago, and uses some of it to super-charge Spike's fire breath, which he uses to power Pinkie's party cannon to launch the meteor into the depths of space.

Meanwhile, as the giant apple monster ravages Ponyville, Rainbow Dash manages to put on a burst of speed to crash through the monster, replacing the bad apple leader that powers the apples with Good Apple. Good Apple is able to convince the others to stop attacking, and the situation is quickly resolved. With Celestia and Luna's help, the apples are relocated to a remote part of Equestria to allow them to develop their own society hidden away from other beings. Good Apple insists that the bad apple leader come with them, and Celestia reflects that every one can have a bad side but it is knowing how to overcome that is what makes a pony a better being.

  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Bad Apple pulls this by having the apples group together to form a giant replica of Spike in a last ditch effort to defeat the Mane 6.
  • Big Damn Heroes: Despite the vampony change, the apple are still able to overrun the Mane 6. Just when it looks like they'll be defeated, Flutterbat arrives with an army of fruit bats to help them.
  • Call Back:
    • The meteorites that turn the apples evil are remnents of the battle between Celestia and Nightmare Moon a thousand years prior.
    • Flutterbat and the vampire fruit bats of "Bats!" return.
    • The Mane 6 are using Fluttershy's secret knitting room from the Fluttershy microseries to plot their activities.
    • Twilight uses the same spell from "It Ain't Easy Being Breezie" to turn the other Mane 6 into bat-ponies using Flutterbat as a template.
  • The Cameo:
    • Among various ponies fleeing from the attack of the apples include Sunflower (implied as Babs Seed's older sister from the first Annual special), Flash Sentry, the PNN Pony from the Rainbow Dash micro, and Marian the Librarian from the Granny Smith/Flim & Flam Friends Forever issue.
  • Godzilla Threshold: Flutterbat is brought back as the last-resort plan to save Ponyville from the apples.
  • Mythology Gag: A G4-ified version of Minty is seen in one of the Ponyville panicking crowd shots.
  • Resist The Beast: It turns out the Flutterbat side of Fluttershy is it's own entity and argues with Fluttershy on wanting to go out and feed. It takes a lot of willpower for Fluttershy to keep it under control when they finally break free to help their friends. Likewise the other Mane 6, while in more control of themselves, have shades of this when they set off to stop the apples as their newfound instincts make them crave apples.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Split Personality: Flutterbat is shown here to be a very buried animalistic personalty that was created from the botched bat spell sleeping within Fluttershy once they got her back to normal. When Twilight reawakens it and they have to tie her down to keep from running off, were shown that Fluttershy actually argues with it in trying to keep Flutterbat under control.
  • Start My Own: At the end when everything is under control, Celestia and Luna give the living apples their own valley so that they may start their own kingdom.
  • Take Over the World: Bad Apple's motivation and he certainly doesn't waste any time in going through with it as he and the other apples take over Ponyville in matter of days and set their sights on the rest of Equestria soon afterwards.

    Issues #34- 37 Siege of the Crystal Empire 
Story by Jeremy Whitley, Art by Andy Price

Equestria's most villianous characters gather under the power of a new threat to Equestria and attack the Crystal Empire.

  • Call Back: The series will be based on the history of King Sombra and Radiant Hope established in Fiendship Is Magic #1 (which was also penned by Whitley).
  • Continuity Nod: On a sign outside of Iron Will's office is a notice that a seminar from Well-To-Do (from Issues 27-28) has been cancelled.
  • Legion of Doom: Radiant Hope is getting the help of Flim and Flam and Iron Will to help her plan involving Sombra. Queen Chrysalis is also confirmed to be involved.
  • Sequel Episode: Appears to be this to King Sombra's issue of Fiendship is Magic, as it answers the question of what exactly happened to Radiant Hope and its written by the same writer.

Tropes applying to Short Features:

Issue #1: How Much Is That Pony In the Window?
Written and drawn by Katie Cook
Rarity has Pinkie over to help try on a dress, and steps out for a few moments. Pinkie hears the sounds of an ice cream cart and races to it, ruining the dress by the time she gets there, and tries to play it off when Rarity returns.

  • Idea Bulb: Well, idea candle.
  • Mind-Control Eyes: Pinkie Pie when the jingle of an ice cream wagon distracts her from modelling for Rarity.
  • Tempting Fate: "Its not like I'm going to get in trouble in the three seconds she's gone." Says the pony best known for being easily distracted.

Issue #4: In the Interim...
Written and drawn by Katie Cook
Spike, left behind in Ponyville, has tried contacting Princess Celestia via his dragon breath messaging system with no luck, and travels to Canterlot, only to find it under attack by giant flying cockatrices. Celestia grabs Spike in time, and as Spike rattles off the troubles the Mane 6 are going under, the two work together to defend Canterlot from it. With the threat over, Celestia awards Spike a medal for his help before they depart to meet up with the Mane 6.

  • Adaptational Badass: Epic battle-damaged, trident-wielding Spike riding Celestia in the middle of the fight against the giant Cockatrice attack. And he ends up saving everyone!
  • Call Back: Canterlot is protected by a force field as it was in "A Canterlot Wedding", though Shining Armor doesn't otherwise appear.
  • Eyepatch After Time Skip: Spike has acquired one for some reason, even though both his eyes clearly work fine in the last panel. Perhaps he just felt it looked cool.
  • Forgot About His Powers: The giant mutant cockatrices who attack Canterlot don't seem to be able to turn anypony to stone.
  • Lower Deck Episode: Focusing on Spike and Celestia.
  • Synchronous Episodes: With issues #2 through #4 of the series.

Issue #10: A Page from the Scrapbook of Big Mac
Written and drawn by Katie Cook
A two page spread showing various scenes in the aftermath of the Big Mac (#9-10) arc.

Issue #11: Oubliettes and Ogres
Written and drawn by Katie Cook
A short showing Shining Armor, Poindexter, 8-Bit, and Gaffer playing their role-playing game, Oubliettes and Ogres.

Issue #12: PTV
Written and drawn by Katie Cook
A two page spread poking fun at Creator/MTV, back when they actually ran music videos in the 1980s.

Issue #17: How Star Swirl Got His Hat
Written and drawn by Katie Cook
We are shown how Star Swirl got his hat - sans bells - by a series of random events, starting with its original hat maker throwing the hat out because it was a terrible hat.

  • Creator Cameo: Katie and Andy's pony characters appear in one panel. Another panel features Katie's two children (as ponies), and her husband Ryan (still as a donkey, from the first issue).
  • Nice Hat: The core element of this short's plot.
  • Monochrome Past: This comic is all black line art, as it presumably takes place before the flashback events in issue #17.
  • Random Events Plot: The hat goes through a number of situations created by happenstance before it falls into Star Swirl's hooves.
  • Shaped Like Itself: In Star Swirl's words: ''This is the hattiest hat to ever hat"

Issue #18: How Star Swirl Got His Hat... the other story
Written and drawn by Katie Cook

We are shown another version of Star Swirl getting his hat, as Star Swirl searches the ocean for a powerful hat, and finds it in the belly of a whale.

  • Nice Hat: Like the first story. This time, Star Swirl chooses it over a construction helmet.
  • Monochrome Past: This comic is all black line art, also like the first story.

Issue #19: How Star Swirl Got His Hat... yet another version of the same story
Written and drawn by Katie Cook

Yet another version of how Star Swirl got his hat, this based on following in the merch of the "Wilhelm the Wacky Wizard" doll he loved as a foal.

  • Art Shift: Most of the story is in the Monochrome Past black line art of the first two Star Swirl stories, but the final two panels featuring the Mirrorverse Mane 6 is in full color.
  • Mirror Universe: The short takes place by the alternate Mane 6, which has been hinted at by the main story for the Reflections arc. Notable differences here include that Twilight's cutie mark is one that looks like an atom rather than magic (and she remains a unicorn), Pinkie has long, straight hair and is happily enjoying a healthy salad, AJ wears a black hat and bandana, and Rarity has a huge curly perm instead of her normal trim curls.
  • Self-Deprecation: The book that Twilight is reading appears to be authored by "Katie Cook". Real-life Katie has been humorously vocal about the various levels of fan mail she has gotten when she had broken people's headcanon with how she develops back stories, as happens here.

Issue #20: Elsewhere in alternate Equestria...
Written and drawn by Katie Cook

The mirrorverse Mane 6 feel the results of Sombra absorbing the evil energy in his universe, which results in them acting like the Prime-Equestria Mane 6.

Tropes applying to the various covers


It wouldn't be a popular comic series without tons of covers. Guest cover artists include Jill Thompson, Stephanie Buscema, Amy Mebberson, Melanie Tingdahl, J. Scott Campbell, Tony Fleecs, Sabrina Alberghetti, and Rob Reger.

  • Balloonacy: This happens to Apple Bloom on Issue #1's Cover D.
  • Character Celebrity Endorsement: Issue #1's Lone Star Comics variant Cover RE shows Pinkie Pie, Sweetie Belle, and Apple Bloom reading a Hoof Beat magazine with an In-Universe Celebrity Endorsement on its back: a Lone Star ad featuring Spitfire.
  • Continuity Nod:
    • The Hot Topic exclusive issue 4 cover references gags from both "Call of the Cutie" and "Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000".
    • Andy Price's cover variant for Issue #11 calls back to Cheerilee's "80's look" from "Call of the Cutie", mentions Moondancer, the pony who's party Twilight didn't want to go to in the first episode, and then touches on several minor characters, including Lyra, Minuette (Colgate), Caramel, and Thunderlane. Even Wheat Grass, introduced from the Rarity micro-comic, makes an appearance.
  • Covers Always Lie: Most of the revealed covers are sort of just generic "ponies being cute/cool" and very few so far even hint at the return of changelings. Not that we don't expect ponies being cute/cool or anything, but Rainbow Dash doesn't go snowboarding or dressing up as a superhero in Issue #1.
    • Inverted though in other cases, in that the covers are directly using single-page spreads from the comic. In one case, Issue #9's BronyCon exclusive Comics World variant used a full page spread from the story that basically was part of a major joke in the comic, to the point that the writer and artist of the issue, Katie Cook and Andy Price, were annoyed with how much it spoiled.
    • Played straight with the primary cover for #9.
    • Played with for one of the covers for #10. While the depicted scene doesn't occur, fireworks and explosions do feature prominently thanks to the Crusaders attempts at fireworks operating cutie marks.
  • Funny Background Event: In the background of Issue #13's Cover B, Rarity can be seen leaning over the side of the ship, clearly seasick.
  • Idiosyncratic Cover Art: The six covers depicted on this very page are arranged like this.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Third Eye Comic's variant cover for the first Twilight Sparkle micro-cover points out the fact that there are a lot of variant covers for the series.
  • Limited Special Collector's Ultimate Edition: Issue #1's joint Larry's & Jetpack variant Cover RE, which uses the connected rough design production artwork of the Larry's Comics variant Cover RE and the Jetpack Comics variant Cover RE, will have only 125 copies printed. The Jetpack variant itself will be limited to only 750 copies. To commemorate the comic selling 1 million copies, a special cover for issue #12 was made. Only 12 copies of the cover will be made.
  • Nerds Are Sexy: Shining Armor's yearbook photo is this. One can see below the picture that he's part of the LARP Club, the Math Club, the Chess Club, and the Gaming Club (though he also runs cross-country), yet he would look like a dreamboat to many a girl.
  • Uncle Sam Wants You: Issue #1's Third Eye Comics variant Cover RE, featuring Spitfire and Soarin'.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Some of the variant covers prominently feature popular background ponies like Derpy, Time Turner, and DJ Pon-3. The main cover for Issue #10 has nothing but background ponies.
    • Most of the covers for the 2013 annual feature Human!Twilight Sparkle very prominently. She doesn't appear in the actual comic at all.
    • Hot Topic's covers tend to have zero to do with the actual story but feature popular background characters, commonly Trixie. Issues #21 and #22 feature Season 4 fan favorites Maud Pie and Cheese Sandwich, respectively.

Alternative Title(s):

My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic