My Little Pony: Friends Forever #34 ComicWow! Review

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**WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD**

Pinkie Pie, the greatest Party Planner in Equestria gets trapped by an enchanted moving house.  In it, she finds Cheese Sandwich, her friend and fellow party planner.  There are also some young ponies trapped inside the magical dwelling.  Although the house is not threatening them in any way, it will not let them go free.

It is up to Pinkie Pie and Cheese Sandwich to figure out the ‘secret’ of the magical house, and find a way out.

Even among the many talented IDW writers working on the MLP franchise, Thom Zahler (Love and Rockets, Long Distance, Ex Parte) stands out.  In this issue, he runs a beautiful parallel storyline, showing the story of the house as well as the story of the Ponies trapped inside it.

This well-crafted episode is somewhat reminiscent of Shel Silverstein’s classic illustrated story, The Giving Tree. Although this is not an ‘adult’ story in the traditional meaning of the word, it is a story that carries great meaning for adults.  There are themes in this story that, although presented in a fashion accessible for children, are clearly aimed at more mature readers.

The house was built by a loving family, who raised their family in it.  They filled it with happiness and love.  As the family grew, the love and joy within it grew.  As is normal, the builders got old, and reaching the point where they could no longer maintain the house by themselves, they left.  And the house was alone; for the first time in its existence, there was no joy within its walls.

Zahler’s decision to run the two stories parallel to each other is risky, but it pays off.  He took several chances here, not using dialogue in his ‘flashback scenes,’ in order to show the houses’ viewpoint asks the reader to participate in the writing process, by creating meaning where spaces are left.  For example, the ultimate fate of the family after they left the house is never explained, or even addressed.

Garbowska’s artwork is truly impressive.  In this issue’s parallel storyline, she follows the pony family that built the house at various points, showing them aging gracefully and happily.   She shows that it is not a sadness to grow old, but a joy – a part of the natural order of life.

So many people in comic shops go right past the My Little Pony titles.  Many of them mistakenly believe that every issue will basically be a retelling of the same story.  That prejudice keeps readers from having the opportunity to experience some excellent storytelling.  The MLP titles have given some great writers and artists to work ‘outside the box’ of more mainstream ‘mask and cape’ titles.  One of the interesting things about these titles is how the creative team manages to write for young readers and sophisticated adults at the same time.

Written by: Thom Zahler

Written by: Agnes Garbowska

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