Although Katie Cook is the writer of this issue, she has both writing and artistic credits. She has a lot of MLP credits, including Friendship is Magic, Pony Tales, MLP Digest, 2013 Equestria Girls Annual, and the MLP Halloween Comic Fest 2013 Special Edition. Beyond MLP, she has worked on Gronk: A Monster’s Story, Fraggle Rock, Munchkin, Boo: the World’s Cutest Dog, EMO Boy, I am an Avenger, AVX, Pretty Deadly, Transmetropolitan, and more.
Agnes Garbowska likewise has a lot of credits with My Little Pony. She also worked on DC Superhero Girls, Powerpuff Girls, Michael Turner’s Fathom: Kiani, Grumpy Cat, Red Sonja, Boo: the World’s Cutest Dog, Psycho Bonkers, Girl Comics, GI Joe, Sonic Universe, You, Me, and Zombie, and more.
IDW’s DEVIATIONS series is a group of periodic one-shots that feature stories set in alternate versions of reader-favorite series, all based on the premise that at a certain critical juncture, something different happened.
Fans of My Little Pony know that Princess Celestia chose Twilight Sparkle to become her protégé, and on a subsequent mission to Ponyville, she met Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Pinkie Pie, and Fluttershy. This group, often referred to as the Mane Six, is the core of the MLP Universe.
In this Deviation, Twilight Sparkle is not the protégé; Prince Blueblood is chosen. Prince Blueblood is a minor character from the animated series. He is superficially quite handsome, and he is indeed of royal blood, but he is actually vain, self-centered, and completely unworthy. He receives his comeuppance from the Mane Six and is not seen for a while. He does reform somewhat from his TV appearance, appearing in MLP Friends Forever #26 as a semi-good guy, who helps out Shining Armor on a mission.
This story takes place long before his redemption. This story starts out at the beginning of the series, and Prince Blueblood rapidly proves that he is unwilling to make any efforts towards self-improvement, cooperation, or anything that requires effort.
Prince Blueblood is sent to Ponyville just as Nightmare moon attacks. His shallow, self-centered actions actually make the situation worse. How will the Mane Group (minus Twilight Sparkle) fix the problem? Will Prince Blueblood ever learn?
This is a great creative team for this exercise in alternate history. Both Cook and Garbowska have a long history with My Little Pony, but they both have experience in other franchises and other styles. While Garbowska is sticking closely to the MLP style, she draws on other experience in different settings and also in the nuance of the characters as they show different reactions and subtle differences.
Cook is taking the Ponies into Equestria Incognita, the unknown ponyland. The alternate history format of this comic makes it difficult to take these characters into this new and unknown country. She has to make changes, but they must appear to be within the normal behavior readers would expect from the characters in the MLP Universe. A good pony cannot suddenly turn evil. Change can happen, but the choices that drive the change must develop within the normal behaviors of the characters. Cook is skillful at these fine details, and her experience with these characters is evident.
Exercises like this are a real indicator of the skill of a creative team, and she must subtly alter characters and situations, but do so in an organic manner, so that everything appears to flow naturally from one small, (but highly significant) DEVIATION.
Written by: Katie Cook
Illustrated by: Agnes Garbowska