YMMV: My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW)

  • Accidental Innuendo: Similar to the show, the comics are getting in on it too. Take a look at this one scene from the comic without the rest of the page to put it in context.
  • Alternative Character Interpretation: While things in the show could always be a bit quirky with the pony population's antics and the general lack of consequences, they come to a head in The Good, the Bad and the Ponies, as Equestria can be seen here as a Crapsaccharine World whose cute exterior belies a horribly dysfunctional legal system that excuses things like assault, vandalism, extortion, arson, kidnapping, impersonation, hostage-taking, and fraud, but vandalizing a historical site, even one declared so about under dubious circumstances, could get those just associated with you thrown in jail. Essentially valuing the letter of the law over innocent people's lives, and having no provisions to deal with dangerously violent criminals.
    • The Deer in the Root of the Problem arc. It's hard to tell if the forest is attacking Ponyville and Canterlot autonomously, or if the Deer deliberately steered the new growth towards who we know to be innocent people. Combine this with Fantastic Racism, some interpret them as ecoterrorists at best, and militaristic warmongers looking for an excuse to invade at worst.
  • Angst? What Angst?: The Cutie Mark Crusaders don't seem to think being fillynapped by a monstrous Queen is a big deal. Also Fluttershy is gleefully fascinated by two creatures fighting over the right to eat her and her friends.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: Chrysalis gets taken down surprisingly easy, all things considered.
  • Anvilicious: "Root of the Problem" features just as heavy-handed a Green Aesop as any similar '90s kids film you could name, complete with the Mane Six being inexplicably eager to knock down trees to solve their problems so they can get lectured by the deer and a villain right out of Captain Planet.
  • Author's Saving Throw: For those who thought Babs Seed was too Easily Forgiven in her debut episode, her portrayal in issue #22 as feeling like she has to constantly prove she's no longer a bully should go a long way.
  • Base Breaker:
    • Princess Celestia in the reflections arc (issues #17-20). For some, her actions has driven away any amount of sympathy she might have had while others are fond of her relationship with Mirror!Sombra regardless. What prevents her from reaching full-on Scrappy status was her My God, What Have I Done? moments throughout the comic... That is until it's revealed that her travels to the other world is causing the destruction of both worlds. For most, this just brought her to the scrappy heap. Wether her willingness to sacrifice herself to fix this and losing Mirror!Sombra (who took her place) as consequence redeemed her is hotly debated.
    • Some readers don't like that Luna behaves in a much more childish and less serious way than in the show. Others find it makes her more endearing and humorous to contrast the straight-laced Celestia better.
  • Broken Base:
    • The quality of the comic; some enjoy it for its World Building and having stories and content the show itself wouldn't dare try to get away with, while others describe them as poorly written fanfiction. Numerous differences in characterization, a different tone from the show, and the extremely heavy-handed references (both to the fandom and other media) don't help matters.
    • The existence of the Nightmare Forces for some, who prefer the idea of Nightmare Moon being a corrupted Luna rather than a different entity possessing her, feeling it cheapens her Start of Darkness. There's a Hand Wave they do this via More Than Mind Control, so Luna's fall to darkness could still be be in part because she was corrupted by her own dark emotions, and thus leave the tragedy intact. Wether it does so or not is a matter of debate.
    • The first Annual issue showing more of pre-redemption Sunset Shimmer also got this. While it gave her much-desired backstory, it showed her as already just as bad as in Equestria Girls, disappointing those who hoped she would be given a Freudian Excuse or reason to believe her Heel-Face Turn was real or deserved. The 2014 Holiday Specials focus on Sunset having to further prove her reformation came off as an attempt to address that.
    • The Reflections Arc, full stop. Some like Celestia's romance with Mirror!Sombra, others feel it was a case of Strangled by the Red String due to being poorly written, or that romance shouldn't be in the series. Some loved the ending as a tragic end to the romance, others cried it was a Deus ex Machina and seems to be an inter-dimensional invoking of Status Quo Is God. There's also the Mane Six being Flanderized and shoved aside to focus on the Celestia and Sombra romance, Star Swirl's personality not fitting what the cartoon established about him (particularly Celestia's claim "he did not understand friendship"), and the alternate world actually not being explored much, with the alternate incarnations of characters beyond Sombra, Luna and Celestia only being inconsequential cameos. There are also fans that thought the first issues were fine, but the final issue was an Anti-Climax and wraps up with no significant Character Development for Celestia and the mentioned Deus ex Machina ending.
    • The Cattle Rustlers arc (#25-26) quickly establishes that Twilight will not use her powers directly against any non-magical citizen of Equestria, otherwise the situation would be resolved in just a few panels (this is even lampshaded in the second issue). This has created debate if that's a legitimate approach to considering her magical strength. Not helping this is the fact that in a previous issue from the "My Little Pirate: Friendship Ahoy" arc {Issue's 13-14} actually did have her use magic on hostile ponies, with claims of self-defense being debatable.
    • Writer Tedly Anderson became this due to a highly questionable cameo and some comments he did on some forums and tumblr following the 2014 Annual. The highly polarizing 2014 Holiday Special certainly didn't help. On the other hand, the Manehattan Mysteries arc and the Micro and Friends Forever issues he has written were generally liked.
  • Cant Unhear It: Naturally, anyone who watches the show has claimed they can easily hear Tara, Andrea, Ashleigh, Tabitha, Cathy and other voice actors from the show when reading their respective characters' lines.
    • In case you need help, here is Andrea Libman reading the "Nature is so fascinating..." scene from Issue #3.
    • This can get awkward in the second Annual issue, where the Power Ponies have rather different personalities to the Mane Six.
  • Contested Sequel: The Nightmare Arc (Issues 5-8) was this to the first arc for having more drama and action at the expense of humor and characterization. If this makes it better or worse is largely a matter of personal taste.
  • Designated Hero: King Aspen in Issues 27-28. He claims that the reason Ponyville is being torn up by vines from the forest is because a construction company of ponies and minotaurs are tearing down trees to build an amusement park, and they must replant the forest away from the development site to replace the many animal homes being lost; any pony homes destroyed in the process is simply Laser-Guided Karma. He's not in the right, but you can understand his position... until the final panels show the forest's vines have reached Canterlot, and tied up Celestia and Luna and hung them from a tower. At this point he passes Disproportionate Retribution and straight into self-righteous hypocrisy. The blatant Fantastic Racism of the deer as a whole does not help. There's a reason some people interpret him as an ecoterrorist. And it doesn't help that there are comparisons to elves.
  • Ensemble Darkhorse:
    • Luna's pet opossum, Tiberius. Many have called for him to be a character in the actual show.
    • Mirror!Sombra was generally well received for having a more developed backstory and being Tall, Dark and Handsome.
  • Evil Is Cool: Bronies seem to really like the idea of Rarity going evil given all the fanart of Nightmare Moon II has gotten.
  • Esoteric Happy Ending: The 2014 Holiday Special seemed to end happy, but between the Happy Ending Override it pulled on Rainbow Rocks, Fridge Horror at how fragile Sunset Shimmers forgiveness was, and no evidence that this couldn't happen again, not many readers bought it.
  • Evil Is Sexy: Nightmare Rarity, as nicely detailed here (major spoilers, of course).
    • This was even lampshaded in the comic when Nightmarity says at one point, "I'm so hot, I should be on fire!"
  • Fanfic Fuel:
    • We're given just enough detail about the Mirror Universe to get the fanfic authors going.
    • The 2014 Holiday Special for the same reasons as A Canterlot Wedding, criticisms of the The Mane 5 abandoning their friend with little second thought and with hotly debated justification, and their lack of apology afterward.
  • Fanon Discontinuity: Some fans of the show view the comic as such for its discrepancies in tone, continuity, and characterization. Even those who accept it (or parts of it) tend to be dismissive of the following:
  • Gateway Series: There have been reports of people - not just bronies - getting into comics period thanks to this series. The first issue was one of top 100 best selling comics in 2012. An all-ages comic doing this is good news for the industry!
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • This image since the first act!
    • Celestia's statement to Twilight in season 3 finale that Star swirl "did not understand friendship like you do" comes as rather callous with the reflection arc.
    • In the IDW Holiday Special for Equestria Girls, Sunset Shimmer is the victim of cyberbullying. Yeah, about that...
  • Hilarious in Hindsight: This article, posted before the comic series was announced, showing fanart of the (humanized) Mane Six as pin-up superheroines, mentioning "Somewhere 'bad girl artist' J. Scott Campbell is smiling". Campbell did do a variant cover, with no Fanservice in sight!
    • In Diablo III, a unique unicorn monster found in Whimsyshire was named "Nightmarity". The name isn't used in the comic, but Rarity becomes the second Nightmare Moon.
    • The many "What If Rarity Were Evil?" fan-remixes, especially this one, are all very much Hilarious in Hindsight now.
    • The two Doctor Whooves in #7 is quite prophetic, since the Doctor Who 50th anniversary special had them together some time later.
    • Remember the hilariously bad rock performance the CMC performed to try and find their cutie marks? Shining Armor's rock ballad in #11 managed to help Vinyl Scratch gain her cutie mark just by watching it!
    • The fandom has had a knack for publishing fanart of Rarity battling giant crabs. The cliffhanger to #13 has the Mane Six being attacked by a giant crab, and Rarity in particular seems to be really panicky about it.
      • There was also an Ask Blog about Pirate Rainbow Dash. Guess which canon pony is the most eager to get her sea legs?
    • In chapter #7, Applejack and Rainbow dash wished that Daring Do was there to rescue them and the others from jail. In season 4, Daring Do is revealed to be real and Rainbow Dash rescues her.
    • In issue 17, Celestia and Starswirl travelled to an alternate universe where Dinosaurus still roam and they encountered Fluttershy Tyrannosaurus Rex counterpart, this fan comic was made a year before issue 17 was released
    • Remember Twilight nearly blasting Chrysalis to atoms in the finale of the first four issues? Cue the season four finale where we really she what she can do when she cuts loose.
    • Issue #23, the pets-only story, introduces a kelpie that has the ability to command sentient beings with the power of song, though she is apologetic for these actions once the spell is broken. This came out within the month of My Little Pony Equestria Girls: Rainbow Rocks where the main villains also appear to be kelpies, able to coerce humans to enter into conflict with their siren-like song.
    • The portrayal of the deer in "Root of the Problem" is remarkably similar to how they were in the highly popular fanfic It's A Dangerous Business, Going Out Your Door. And they were just as unpopular there, too.
      • Related to the deer is their role as rulers of the Everfree Forest. People have drawn comparisons to the 4th season premiere where the Forest attacked before, and that episode's own HiH has comparisons to a show airing at the time the episode premiered. With this, comparisons to The Overlords can be made.
  • Ho Yay: In issue #25, Rarity is quite taken with Sheriff Tumbleweed's hat, which Applejack quickly points out is the same as hers. Particularly fun is that you can interpret it in two distinct ways: either Rarity is Oblivious to Love from Applejack, or they're together and Applejack suspects her eye is wandering.
  • Idiot Plot: "Root of the Problem" would be over in one page, if it ever happened at all, if any of the characters acted intelligent for just a moment. King Aspen could have sent an envoy to meet with Celestia and Luna in person; Celestia and Luna themselves could visit in person; Twilight could have used her powers and authority as Princess. Instead the ponies are completely useless to do anything while the deer jump straight to eco-terrorism without any regard for the chaos they cause. Further, the resolution of the conflict (the deer just invade the construction site and kick Well-To-Do and his workers out) could have been done at the start of it all without the need to attack Ponyville.
  • Internet Backdraft: Tedly Anderson caused this in several forums, including IDW's own, with the revelation that he, in the 2014 "Power Ponies"-themed Annual issue canonized dragondicks, a rather polarizing figure in the fandom, known for her vocal criticisms of it, specially men in the fandom. It was aggravated when his defense was that dragondicks' work and political views are just satire.
    • Though there were initial claims that IDW had let Anderson go after finishing off two already-in-progress scripts, IDW editor Bobby Curnow has affirmed that Anderson is still on board, considered the situation a large mis-communication, though has instituted a "no OC" policy for future issues to prevent this from happening.
    • This has not stopped some fans from avoiding any issue penned by Anderson, or in some cases, to stop buying the comic outright.
    • Some have taken the 2014 Holiday EQG written by Anderson, which involves cyberbullying done by a online handle named Anon-a-Miss, as Anderson's Take That to the 4chan crowd's reaction to the 2014 Power Ponies Annual and criticism around that. Even though the Holiday issue was already in the works before the Power Ponies annual was out (based on Tony Fleecs' tweeting a work in progress from the issue). It didn't help that a majority of the plot was also based around a very polarizing episode.
  • Iron Woobie: In main series #21, it's revealed that while Trixie's reputation was already pretty bad after Boast Busters, after Magic Duel everyone thinks she's evil. Despite this, she is determined to continue performing and prove that she can be a good pony.
    • The Citizens of Wuvy-Dovey Land can be considered this. They never lose their happy and loving nature, continuing to be nice people even after the changelings destroy their town.
  • Marty Stu: Mirror!Sombra can come off like this. Celestia falls in love with him, Rarity notes how attractive he is and even Fluttershy, who (unlike Rarity) has never shown any romantic interest in anyone before, becomes weak-kneed and heart-eyed from just a single look. He outright refuses and doesn't show any indication of even considering Mirror!Celestia's offer to unite him with his true love, Celestia, because he is too noble. He's kind, affable, charming, and has yet to show any real flaw aside from his relationship with Celestia having a negative impact on his kingdom. The fact that Celestia falls so in love with him that she acts Out of Character to a ridiculous degree doesn't help with that opinion either.
    • Considering the state of the Kingdom despite having Mirror!Discord and Mirror!Queen Chrysalis, it looks like he is barely managing against the tyrant sisters.
  • Memetic Mutation: Several have become part of the fandom's image macro core image set:
    • Fluttershy's "Nature is so fascinating" line from Issue #3 has picked up a lot of mileage. The circular panel with her has been also used to create "Bad Advice Fluttershy" macros.
    • Pinkie's reaction to opening the door with the giant eyeball in #4 (replacing the eyeball with anything else)
    • Rainbow Dash's "Two Words!" at the end of #5
    • Several reaction shots from the arc of #11-12, including "Cadance laughing at your misery", "Cadance tearing up", "Cadance slyly contemplating", and "Shining trying to say 'Hello'".
    • Twilight pointing out why Cassie is Easily Forgiven to Rainbow Dash turned into a rather malicious meme where she tries to justify the actions of various villains akin to "X Did Nothing Wrong".
  • Overshadowed By Controversy: Bring up the 2014 annual, and all you'll hear about is the entire mess involving the issue's writer and his choice of fan OC to include in the background. This also has applied to any issue following this that Anderson is the writer on, with some readers simply refusing to acknowledge the issue due to Anderson's writing, despite the praise others might give it.
  • Pandering to the Base: The comics are obviously aimed at the older brony fandom than the kid audience the show is intended for. The stories are darker and more mature, as well as featuring elements the fandom loves over the Slice of Life plots of the show, references to death are not uncommon, and there are many nods to the fans in the background scenery.
  • Rescued from the Scrappy Heap: Angel saves the whole town, which he'll never get any recognition for. We can probably consider his Scrappy moments paid back in full after this.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: In the "Reflections" arc. The premise of an alternate universe with evil versions of the cast and good versions of the villains quickly takes a backseat to Celestia's relationship with an alt version of Sombra.
  • Seasonal Rot: Katie Cook's later story arcs haven't been as well received as The Return of Queen Chrysalis or her Slice of Life stories. The quality in general seems to have dropped once Heather Nuhfer left to work on other projects.
  • The Scrappy:
    • Twilight Sparkle, if you can believe it, in The Good, The Bad, and The Ponies. It seems that with the comics' more action-oriented stories, the only way they can think to avoid having Twilight's magic become a Story-Breaker Power or her status as Princess to solve any social problem is to make her Lawful Stupid and arbitrarily refuse to use it because of some rule the writer just made up. Her road to scrappydom began an issue or two earlier with her forgiveness to the Kelpie, which was at least in-character, more then can be said here. Worse, this had an easy, obvious fix of writing her out of the story like Spike was, one has to wonder if her presence was forced.
    • Writer Katie Cook has recently become accused of the reason for the declining quality of the comics. While her earlier issues ("The Return of Queen Chrysalis," "Zen and the Art of Gazebo Repair," "Neigh Anything") were well received, her recent work has been "Reflections," "Cattle Rustlers," and "The Root of the Problem," which have generally gotten mixed to negative reception. However one has to keep in mind that in the middle of these, she recently had a child and likely was not able to focus on her storylines like she used to.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The 2014 Equestria Girls Holiday Special is not exactly subtle about the dangers of cyber-bullying... but that's probably for the best.
  • Tastes Like Diabetes: Played for Laughs with Wuvy-Dovey Land.
  • Ugly Cute: Jim the Cave Troll. Sure he's a hulking brute who could easily crush a pony if he wanted to, but he's so innocent and carefree it's hard not to see him as anything other than the softie he really is. And he genuinely did love the Mane Six's company.
    • The uncorrupted moon bunny in Issue #7. Fluttershy certainly thinks so.
  • Uncanny Valley: Issue #1's SUB cover by Jill Thompson. The mouths just look wrong.
    • The costumes that Pinkie carries around.
  • What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Its promoted as an all-ages comic, though the series thus far has been a little darker than one would expect from a series where most of the covers feature cute, colorful ponies.
  • The Woobie: Luna on Andy Price's variant of #8.
    • Rarity is very sympathetic in the Nightmares arc, especially when it's revealed that she has self-esteem issues because she fears that her friends will abandon her because they find her useless. Fortunately, her friends convinced her otherwise at the end.
    • Spike during Nightmare Rarity's dream sequence at the end of #7.
    • Princess Celestia, as a result of the Sunset Shimmer short.
      • She's either this or Jerkass Woobie in the "Reflection" arc where she ignore Starswirl's warning to see her lover King Sombra which ultimately causes her to be separated from her mentor then her lover.
    • Sunset Shimmer in the Holiday Special where she gets framed for being Anon-a-Miss, a person posting secrets on Mystable, gets rejected by the Humane five and once again becomes the most hated student in Canterlot High. Post-Heel-Face Turn Sunset Shimmer can't catch a break!
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • The "Reflections" arc. A lot of fans were really excited at the prospect of getting to see a mirror universe with evil versions of the mane cast and good versions of the bad guys. Unfortunately, the bulk of the arc ended up revolving around Celestia's relationship with alt!Sombra. The alternate versions of the Mane Six get very little screentime, leading a lot of readers to feel that the alternate universe premise was wasted even amongst who genuinely liked parts of the arc. This is even directly referenced in the final issue's postscript page, where the alternate Mane Six wonder if they should have been more involved in the story, though some regarded that more as a Take That, Audience! moment.
    • "Root of the Problem" could have been a good arc had it focused on the Everfree Forest or the deer. Instead, we get a giant Idiot Plot and a straw villain that could make even the villains of Captain Planet and the Planeteers cringe in embarrassment.
    • The Equestria Girls Holiday Special also falls under this, as after Rainbow Rocks fans were eager for more Sunset Shimmer. We could have had a nice heartwarming character building issue on the backdrop of Christmas/Hearth's Warming Eve, instead we got a poor rehash of "Ponyville Confidential".