A My Little Pony comic book series based on the cartoon show of the same name, and part of the overall My Little Pony Generation 4 universe. 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.Set after the second season, 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 MagicExpanded 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.Has a Shout Out page.See also the My Little Pony Micro Series, also from IDW, a ten-issue run which focuses on specific ponies, and the follow-up series, My Little Pony Friends Forever, that is a continuing run alongside the main comic.Its been announced that IDW will also be doing an Annual series, with the first being a prequel to My Little Pony Equestria Girls.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: Queen Chrysalis returns for the first arc, while the second is Nightmare Moon, via a Legacy Character (Rarity to be exact), though the true villain could be seen as the Nightmare Forces, specifically their leader Shadowfright.
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.
Broad Strokes: As the comic is written by different people from the show, the comic's canon and the show's canon won't always match up.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 The big muscle pony from "Hurricane Fluttershy", 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.
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.
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.
Chekhov's Gun/Law of Conservation of Detail: Parodied. Pinkie claims that since she lugged those "bulky" costumes all the way from Ponyville, 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.
Could double as Chekhov's Gag, considering the fact that both times before the climax it's brought up, it's for humor purposes.
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 threedays, 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.
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. It works.
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.
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/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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
I Have Your Sisters: 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.
Irony: Chrysalis managed to beat Celestia easily during the wedding fiasco. But the one point Celestia didn't get involved and she targets her supposedly "weaker" student. Said student manages to take her down on her own.
Kick the Dog: Or, in this case, Splat the Cat. Invoked by Chrysalis to horrify the CMCs into taking her threats seriously.
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.
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...
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.
Nopony 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. Possibly justified by the fact that the Mane Six are forced to walk while the Changelings can fly at greater speeds; Rainbow Dash herself notes that she could fly the distance much faster.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 quiteclear 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.
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 Dubbed the "Nightmares Arc" by the fans
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 Evolution: The full page spread of Nightmare Rarity in issue #6 has several differences from her general appearance in the following issue, the color of her coat and gemstone-tipped horn being the most obvious. She also adds some jewelery later on.
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.
Beauty Equals Goodness: The Nightmare forces are, in their true appearances, both pleasant and pleasant-looking.
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'sLotus-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.
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.
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.
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 O Cs 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, and she has her post-"Luna Eclisped" look on the main cover for Issue #8.
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.
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.
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.
"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.
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.
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!
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.
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 Mare 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.
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.
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.
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."
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!"
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".
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.
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.
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.
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/Noodle Incident: 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 And 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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
And possibly 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.
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 openshis 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.
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.
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.
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.
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 and 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.
One book in the library is called "Creation of Discord".
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.
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.
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 Mane 6 - sans Twilight - 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. Harshwhinney, 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.
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 gils 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.
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.
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 gil/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.
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.
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.
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 Unofficial Title: "Ponies in Book Land"
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 According to series editor Bobby Curnow on his official fan answer thread, regarding them incorporating Princess Twilight into the books, he said that the show has given them several scripts from season 4 to look over (although that just makes the listing below even more odd).
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, which is further compounded in the next arc where the Elements are definitely confirmed to still exist.
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.
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 Based on other clues in the text, before the sisters had met their version of Sombra, and before Luna had turned into Nightmare Moon. We also know they are aware of who Discord is from their side, given their gawking reactions to "Captain Goodguy", so this may be after they turned him to stone the first time. 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.
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.
Adorkable: As per the norm, Twilight is giddy with excitement when Starswirl the Bearded is even mentioned.
Alternate Universe/The Multiverse: 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.
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.
Bizarro Universe/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.
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 Genre Savvy 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 is about to emerge through the mirror.
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 and she's still not happy she's stuck with the animated Pinkie costume.
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.
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 Genre Savvy 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.
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).
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.
Flashback/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.
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.
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.
Mirror!Sombra is smart enough to realize that even if he was willing to unleash the evil Celestia on the main Equestria so he could be with the main Celestia, her greed would cause her to renege on their deal and try to control both worlds.
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, is holding the Idiot Ball 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.
Indeed 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.
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.
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.
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, apparently 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 Except for Scrabble outside the US and Canada, where Mattel owns the rights. There is also a MLP:FIM version of Monopoly.
Reality Bleed: The rift get s 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.
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..." "Seven!"
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.
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.
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.
There Was a Door/Forgot She 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.
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.
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?
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; AJ, 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.
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.
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.
Inter Generational Friendship : Trixie and Babs Seed become very good friends through their Not So Different realization; plus, Babs didn't met 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.
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 specialRescue 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 Ironically, the way Twilight said "There is no laser beam security system!" in "MMMystery on the Friendship Express" implies that Laser Hallways canonically exist elsewhere in Equestria.
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, ultimately, she was helping catch the thief, precisely what the police hired her for in the first place, and her friends were just helping her, so any legal transgression, arguably, was done as part of her job.
The Mane 6's pets find that their owners have gone missing, and it is up to them to figure out what is going on.
Issue # 24
Story by Jeremy Whitley, Art by Brenda Hickey, Coloring by Amy Mebberson and Brenda Hickey
Discord takes Fluttershy and the Cutie Mark Crusaders back in Equestrian history to show Fluttershy some of the animals from the past. Hilarity Ensues.
Story by Ted Anderson, Art by Ben Bates
The Power PoniesNote As in, the actual Power Ponies, not the Mane 6 dressed as them. The cover art clearly shows them as having different character designs and color schemes, and the Masked Matter-horn is a normal unicorn instead of an alicorn like Twilight face off against the Mane-iac and new villains.There will also be an 8-page short which will be also published in the 2014 San Diego Comic Con exclusive comic (Issue #21) involving the Mane-iac finding her way to the world of Equestria Girls.
Issue #25-26: The Good, The Bad and the Ponies
Written by Katie Cook, Art by Andy Price
Applejack must defend Sweet Apple Acres from a gang of (literal) Cattle Rustlers who believe that there is treasure hidden on the property.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 withhow muchit spoiled.
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.
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.