Night of the Living Apples
- Story by Thomas Zahler, Art by Tony Fleecs
Rogue meteorites created from the battle between Princess Celestia and Nightmare Moon a thousand years ago finally fall to Equestria, one crashing into Sweet Apple Acres. When Applejack goes to investigate, she is swarmed by hundreds of now-living apples created by the magic contained in the meteorite.
The next day, the rest of the Mane 6, Spike, Sweetie Belle, and Scootaloo go off to visit AJ. Unknown to the others, Spike is abducted by more of the apples. When they arrive at Sweet Apple Acres, they find that the entire Apple family has been enslaved by the apples, with the lead apple ordering the others to be captured before they can warn the rest of the town. Their numbers overwhelm the ponies, and the lead apple orders them to attack Ponyville. The town is quickly taken over, and Mayor Mare is forced to surrender the town, living under the strict rule of the apples as they prepare to spread out and take over other towns, including Canterlot.
The Mane 6 gather in secret to try to plot for information, but even with Fluttershy's animal friends helping to gather intel, they can't figure out how to stop the apples. They agree they need a spy inside the apple ranks, and Twilight uses a spell to turn Pinkie temporarily into an apple. Within the now secured Sweet Apple Acres, Pinkie finds Spike, kept caged up due to him being more dangerous than the ponies to the apples, as well as one Good Apple that would love to help the ponies to defeat the others. Pinkie returns and lets the others know of their ally.
However, they still would need to free the good apple and Spike, and that would be difficult with the number of apple troops. The idea of using the vampire fruit bats to attack the apples come up, but Fluttershy notes that the bats are all inside the sanctuary on Sweet Apple Acres, and even if she could get to them, she would have difficulty of communicating to them. This gives Twilight another idea, and with a bit of hyponotic-like suggestion, she is able to coerce Fluttershy to become Flutterbat once again, albeit with more control of her personality. However, as she is still unstable, they secure Flutterbat under the watchful eyes of the Cutie Mark Crusaders, and Twilight uses a spell to transform herself and the other Mane 6 into vampire bat ponies, with more control of their senses. They fly off and begin to fight against the apples, freeing Spike and Good Apple. They learn that while they might be able to get rid of the meteor, that will not stop the sentient apples.
While they are gone, Flutterbat, still struggling to keep control of her Fluttershy self, manages to break her bonds. As the other Mane 6 struggle against the mass of apples, Flutterbat arrives, having successfully contacted the vampire fruit bats, and they begin sucking the apples dry. With the tide turning against them, the lead apple has the others form a giant Spike-like monster to destroy Ponyville, arguing if they cannot have it, no one can. Twilight, Pinkie and Spike let the others tackle the monster while they seek out the meteor. Twilight senses the magic from Celestia and Luna's battle centuries ago, and uses some of it to super-charge Spike's fire breath, which he uses to power Pinkie's party cannon to launch the meteor into the depths of space.
Meanwhile, as the giant apple monster ravages Ponyville, Rainbow Dash manages to put on a burst of speed to crash through the monster, replacing the bad apple leader that powers the apples with Good Apple. Good Apple is able to convince the others to stop attacking, and the situation is quickly resolved. With Celestia and Luna's help, the apples are relocated to a remote part of Equestria to allow them to develop their own society hidden away from other beings. Good Apple insists that the bad apple leader come with them, and Celestia reflects that everyone can have a bad side but it is knowing how to overcome it that is what makes a pony a better being.
These issues provide examples of:
- Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever: Bad Apple pulls this by having the apples group together to form a giant replica of Spike in a last ditch effort to defeat the Mane 6.
- Big Damn Heroes: Despite the vampony change, the apples are still able to overrun the Mane 6. Just when it looks like they'll be defeated, Flutterbat arrives with an army of vampire fruit bats to help them.
- The meteorites that turn the apples evil are remnants of the battle between Celestia and Nightmare Moon a thousand years prior.
- Flutterbat and the vampire fruit bats of "Bats!" return.
- The Mane 6 are using Fluttershy's secret knitting room from the Fluttershy microseries to plot their activities.
- Twilight uses the same spell from "It Ain't Easy Being Breezies" to turn the other Mane 6 into bat-ponies using Flutterbat as a template.
- The Cameo: Among various ponies fleeing from the attack of the apples include Sunflower (implied as Babs Seed's older sister from the first Annual special), Flash Sentry, the PNN Pony from the Rainbow Dash micro, and Marian the Librarian from the Granny Smith/Flim & Flam Friends Forever issue.
- The Cavalry: Just when the attack on Sweet Apple Acres goes sour and Twilight, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie and Applejack are about to completely overwhelmed by the living apples, Fluttershy — having just learned how to take control of her normally wild and animalistic vampiric form — arrives with an enormous flock of vampire fruit bats in tow to rescue them.
- Evil Gloating: Invoked when Twilight, after the main six are captured, asks Bad Apple what he intends to do. He answers that he plans to gloat.Twilight Sparkle: What are you going to do?
Bad Apple: Gloat! There will be much gloating!
- Godzilla Threshold: Flutterbat is brought back as the last-resort plan to save Ponyville from the apples.
- I Am a Monster: Played for Laughs when the Mane 6 start stalking the apples as Vamponies. Applejack citing...Applejack: To fight monsters, I've become a monster.
- La Résistance: The Mane Six hide in Fluttershy's Chamber of Extreme Knitting while plotting to retake Ponyville from the apple invaders. Pinkie's black beret and scarf are a direct reference to the WWII French Resistance.
- Morphic Resonance: When Pinkie is turned into an apple, she's the only one of the apples who is pink with a curly forelock.
- Mythology Gag: A G4-ified version of Minty is seen in one of the Ponyville panicking crowd shots.
- Our Vampires Are Different: Again the vampires, or vamponies, here are not undead creatures, just a transformation made from magic via a vampire fruit bat essence that was still resting within Fluttershy. Thus they crave apples rather than blood.
- Resist the Beast: It turns out the Flutterbat side of Fluttershy is its own entity and argues with Fluttershy on wanting to go out and feed. It takes a lot of willpower for Fluttershy to keep it under control when they finally break free to help their friends. Likewise, the other Mane 6, while in more control of themselves when they turn into vamponies, have shades of this when they set off to stop the apples as their newfound instincts make them crave apples.
- In name to Night of the Living Dead (1968), and in style to Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!.
- Twilight, on becoming a bat pony, calls herself Twilight Sparkling, vampire."Hmm. Those sound good together."
- When the apples claim that due to their numbers the odds are in their favor, Rainbow responds with "never tell me the odds".
- "It would be interesting to return to this valley in the future and see what crop has sprung from the seed we planted" is a paraphrase of Spock's line from the end of "Space Seed".
- Split Personality: Flutterbat is shown here to be a very buried animalistic personalty that was created from the botched bat spell sleeping within Fluttershy once they got her back to normal. When Twilight reawakens it and they have to tie her down to keep from running off, we're shown that Fluttershy actually argues with it in trying to keep Flutterbat under control.
- Start My Own: At the end when everything is under control, Celestia and Luna give the living apples their own valley so that they may start their own kingdom.
- Take Over the World: Bad Apple's motivation and he certainly doesn't waste any time in going through with it as he and the other apples take over Ponyville in matter of days and set their sights on the rest of Equestria soon afterwards.
- Vampire Episode: Not only did Flutterbat return but the rest of the Mane 6 transform themselves into vampire ponies to combat the threat of the sentient apple invasion.
- Wolverine Publicity: The issues were pretty much sold on the promise that Flutterbat will return.