IDW G5 #7

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ZakuConvoy

Well-known member
Citizen
Previously, on My Little Pony...
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(Gorgeous, Delicious, Deculture....!)

And NOW FOR....
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*SIGH* Yeah, another side story.

This was....honestly, probably the dullest issue of G5 we've gotten so far. I wouldn't go so far to call it "terrible" or anything. But, I don't think there's anything all that interesting going on here. If you removed the word balloons and replaced them with text this would feel like a children's storybook...and not in a charmingly nostalgic way like "Rainbow Dash's Very Bad Day" (FIM #41). Just in a simplified, uneventful way. There's barely any conflict, the characters feel a little more wooden...and the artist is the same one from issue #3 (the one where Zipp is trying to find Cloudpuff), and Robin Easter doesn't seem to use page space very well, making the panels just a *little* too large. It feels like a *slight* upgrade from one of those "I Can Read" books.

Maybe I'm being a bit harsh but...if you want to skip some of the "weaker" issues, this might be one to think about skipping.

Some spoilers:
Two out of three of these covers are liars. This issue has ZERO bunnies in it. FALSE ADVERTISING! And it's a shame, because the cover with Discord is actually one of my favorite covers in the G5 comics so far. It's so moody and atmospheric and sad. It's REALLY good.

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Htich is going to DJ at a Harvest Festival....okay. I mean, I guess he did that...once or twice in the various shows. Maybe during Sunny's birthday in Tell Your Tale? I guess I don't think about that being a thing for him.

This one panel where Sunny is asking Hitch for a favor is kind of cute. Such big eyes. She's done this before.
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Hitch has to set up for his DJ night but everyone keeps asking him for favors...that's it...that's the plot. It's fine, but it doesn't go far enough to be funny, so it just feels like we're following Hitch picking up groceries or something. It's just pretty uneventful.

"Quick! Put in a reference to Discord in this issue!" Yeah, the "connection" to the larger story felt pretty last minute.

You know a game called "Unicorn Toss" had me imagining something VERY different. How fun would it have been to have unicorns toss other ponies into baskets?

Sprout shows up! Apparently, still at his old deputy job. That really doesn't work for the timeline, but...oh well *shrugs*. The writer seems to be treating him like a "Grumpy Bear" type.

Pipp just...abandons her camera guy in the corn maze. We never see him get out. He's probably still in there...

"Both of you princesses are so strong" How heavy are the ponies you lift? (....That's a reference to the manga "How Heavy are the Dumbells You Lift?" I don't think anyone would have gotten that joke....I know, I over-explain THIS joke, but not the Macross Frontier one. Go figure.)

Zipp set up a obstacle course, because OF COURSE she did. This is her hobby. She spends her days coming up with new and greater challenges. She REALLY wants to start Equestrian Ninja Warrior.

We do get a reference to Grandma Figgy from the Winter Wishdays Special in a signpost. So that's kind of neat. Hasbro IS telling the comics team stuff. IDW is still being kept in the loop.

Hitch, I think vomiting in a bush counts as public indecency. You really should write yourself a ticket for that later. And one for speeding. Hitch breaks a lot of laws this issue.

AWWW....All the girls set up his booth for him in secret, since he did a bunch of favors for them! That's actually really sweet. I like that.

Hitch's "Thunderlane" DJ mask is horrifying, though.

And a dance ending! ...With a pink version of Posey? Okay, either Posey's trying out a new look...or more likely with Posey's luck she got a entire cooler full of fruit punch spilled all over her. Posey either has a sister or her rage is justified count: 1-ish.



So...yeah, it's not the worst thing ever or anything. But, I'm still saying this is the weakest issue of G5 so far. There's slice of life...and then there's stories where nothing interesting happens. Nothing of interest happens here.
 
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CoffeeHorse

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Well I'm going to call it terrible.

I know Hasbro wanted a big multimedia launch. They didn't want to wait to find someone else to do these comics. But someone else should be doing these comics. IDW deserves to lose this license. Even the people who made the lame console game, who didn't even have an opportunity to see the movie and had to work with incomplete and in some cases outdated information, made a better effort than IDW is doing.

There is no shame in writing an "I Can Read" book. It's a humble job, but it's a job. They have to know their audience as well as any other writer does. This writer, and this artist, do not understand the assignment. This isn't an "I Can Read" book. This is a comic that is sold in actual comic stores next to Sonic the Hedgehog. This needs to be better.

Look, I can forgive the writer for not totally understanding Sprout and his relationship with his mother. If you only see the movie once, it's easy to miss how bad things really are. I didn't get it either the first time around. But how can you watch the movie even once and then write post-movie Sprout in a position of authority, even a trivial one? You'd expect him to be carrying boards, not giving the orders.

To be fair, we're not told that he has his deputy job back. His authority may just be for this festival, which I have a hard enough time believing. But given the quality of this comic overall, I have a terrible feeling that this writer looked no further than the fact that Hasbro calls him "Detective Sprout".
 

Dvandom

Well-known member
Citizen
Sadly, this is Berzie's first "A" cover, rather than a ratioed variant. Not a great debut issue for him, I guess? (I've been picking up comics Thursdays lately because my store de-prioritized local pulls.)

---Dave
 

ZakuConvoy

Well-known member
Citizen
Not a great debut issue for him, I guess?

Unfortunately, yeah. I probably would have preferred Berzie's art for this issue, maybe they could have spiced it up a little. Or added in a few more background gags to keep things interesting. Something.

Right now, this issue is basically:

Izzy: Hitch! Thanks for picking up my party supplies for me! Hope you didn't have any problems.

Hitch: Nope.

Izzy: ....You didn't meet any wacky characters in the store? Or happen upon a underground ring of glitter-smugglers? Or have your check-out cart turn out to be a robot in disguise?

Hitch: Nope. Although, it was a big store. I thought the party supplies would be in the back. But, funny thing, it turned out they had them in the front of the store with the holiday supplies. I walked right past them the first time!

Izzy: ...Hitchy, are you sure you're a protagonist?

And, honestly, being "the boring one" could work for Hitch. You could have Hitch worry that he's "boring" compared to the other Mane 5. And all throughout the issue he could be doing things to help the background ponies during the festival to avoid problems before they can even start, while thinking about that to himself.

Telling someone the pony they're supposed to meet is on the other side of the street, so they don't think they got stood up. Teaching someone how to re-organize apples so they don't fall over. Picking up a banana peel before someone can slip on it. Pointing a mother to where their child wandered off to, while she was chatting with a friend. Small, thankless tasks that help keep the peace and stopping most problems before they get a chance to avalanche out of control. He's "the boring one" because he STOPS the plot from happening by helping others. Basically, a walking force of order. I think that'd be a lot more interesting than what we got.

Well I'm going to call it terrible.

Honestly, the only reason I hesitate to call it terrible is because....I've seen worse. Much worse. Even in IDW's G4 comics. At the very least, this didn't really annoy me. It was just...boring. Unfortunately, this is kind of par for the course for IDW's MLP output. There are some good isssues...and then we get some bad ones.

I don't even know if it's fair to criticize the comic for skewing younger or not. This IS MLP. Writing it for 5 year olds SHOULD be fair game. It's just...I don't know if it's mostly 5 year-olds paying for a $4 comic book? Maybe it is. But, there ARE ways to skew younger without being...this. I think younger audience can still handle more conflict and action than this issue provides.

I honestly just don't know who I'd want to get the book instead. Boom's a possibility, I guess. They've had a few books like Giant Days that could fit the tone a MLP comic should have. And the Manga team would be nice to have back, even if I don't know how likely that could be. But, if IDW does lose the license, I'm not sure anyone else will be too eager to pick it up. G4 was a cultural phenomenon. G5 has had a slower start, and doesn't seem to be picking up as much speed as G4 did. We're more than a year in and I'm not seeing a lot of hype for G5, despite the relative quality of the shows. I wouldn't be surprised if IDW loses the license in the future, but I'm not sure if Image/Skybound or whoever would be interested in the same way they're apparently interested in Transformers and GI Joe.

With Sprout...I honestly can't blame the writer, here. Sprout's fate was VERY unclear up until ONE episode of Make Your Mark, which only released a little while ago. Probably too late for the comic team to adapt to the change in status quo. The video game still had Sprout have his Deputy job, it's just natural for the writer to assume Sprout kept his job.

Although, just having him be managing the festival DOES work, more or less. Even if CanterLogic is out of business, his family's probably still rich. He's probably not hurting for money and influence.

But, any mix up feels like it's Hasbro responsibility, not the writers or IDW, to me. Hasbro needs to keep the comic guys in the loop. They've been doing a decent job in most of the other media, but the comic wing of the franchise still feels like it's not getting the oversight and attention it deserves.
 
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CoffeeHorse

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Unfortunately, yeah. I probably would have preferred Berzie's art for this issue, maybe they could have spiced it up a little. Or added in a few more background gags to keep things interesting. Something.

You'd think a festival would have been full of background gags. But this artist doesn't know how to comic. This artist shows movement by adding another panel. This artist is picturing an animation, drawing a still gallery of it, and adding speech bubbles. It's an easy trap to fall into. I've done it. But this is a professional comic.

And, honestly, being "the boring one" could work for Hitch.

He wants to be a protagonist though. He overdoes his job because he's frustrated by how unimportant it generally is. He should be as disappointed as we are that nothing eventful happened in that store.

I don't even know if it's fair to criticize the comic for skewing younger or not. This IS MLP. Writing it for 5 year olds SHOULD be fair game. It's just...I don't know if it's mostly 5 year-olds paying for a $4 comic book? Maybe it is. But, there ARE ways to skew younger without being...this. I think younger audience can still handle more conflict and action than this issue provides.

Early G4 comics had a lot more going on than this, and were a genuine hit with kids. I don't see many kids in the local comic store. I saw them excited to find the G4 comic.

And the Manga team would be nice to have back, even if I don't know how likely that could be.

It's possible the manga team tried to tackle G5 but they drew filly Sunny and the whole team died of cuteness. I wish we could see a few G5 volumes from them. There is no one I'd rather see do some G5 stuff.

But, if IDW does lose the license, I'm not sure anyone else will be too eager to pick it up.
We'll see. G5 is actually successful. It's just relatively quiet about it. And in fairness, a lot of people didn't hop aboard the G4 train until season 2. I joined Allsparkle partway through season 2. IDW didn't hop aboard until after that.

With Sprout...I honestly can't blame the writer, here. Sprout's fate was VERY unclear up until ONE episode of Make Your Mark, which only released a little while ago. Probably too late for the comic team to adapt to the change in status quo. The video game still had Sprout have his Deputy job, it's just natural for the writer to assume Sprout kept his job.

[...]

But, any mix up feels like it's Hasbro responsibility, not the writers or IDW, to me. Hasbro needs to keep the comic guys in the loop. They've been doing a decent job in most of the other media, but the comic wing of the franchise still feels like it's not getting the oversight and attention it deserves.
I have a feeling Hasbro never updates their bios except when toy-driven events happen. They should update their bio for Detective Sprout, but I don't blame them because I doubt they're pushing him at all. He's back because writers noticed we love him. It's up to them to decide what they want to do with him.

The TYT team had him on the run. It was just a background joke, but it shows they thought about it. Also, Make Your Mark came out in May. IDW has had enough time to notice that Sprout does not work in the police station anymore. It generally seems like they have except for this one possible mistake.

Although, just having him be managing the festival DOES work, more or less. Even if CanterLogic is out of business, his family's probably still rich. He's probably not hurting for money and influence.
That works a lot better, and I really want to believe this is what happened rather than a writer mistakenly thinking he's still Detective Sprout.

It would still be odd though. Phyllis may still have money but influence is fickle. I can't see her having enough influence left to convince ponies to work for Sprout. Ponies didn't believe in him before his emperor stunt, and he couldn't hold his army together at the height of his power. There is no way he can say "I'm your new boss" without a chorus of "I quit."

And if Phyllis did have enough money to buy him a job and pay ponies to put up with him... that is pretty much the worst possible outcome for Sprout's psyche.
 

Dvandom

Well-known member
Citizen
Okay, I've read it now, and I agree that it reads like an I Can Read level book. Pitched even lower and more blandified than G.M. Berrow's kidnovels. Here's the characters and one defining trait about each, and a very very low stakes potential plot complication, resolved as mildly and undramatically as possible.

---Dave
 

blueskyscribe

Member
Citizen
The best thing Hasbro could do is give the brand to Archie Comics and have them make those smaller size comics about it, since those are sold in grocery stores still. So then kids would buy it. The regular comics distribution system sucks for kids properties.

I have not read the recent issue being discussed, but it sounds to me like the IDW writers just don't understand the characters or know what to do with them. Like, you can write show or comic aimed at kids and have it be interesting. Gravity Falls was an episodic show aimed at kids and it was a blast.

In one of the earlier issues it struck me that they didn't know how to write Izzy, and tried to write her like Fluttershy. "Oh, Izzy feels so lonely and separate. :(" And like. That's not Izzy's character at all. Izzy is perpetually thrilled to have found her place in the world. If anyone would sit around feeling lost and contemplative it would be Hitch, who is dealing with this big upheaval to the orderly world he thought he knew. Hitch has the most reservations about magic. Hitch is also the pony with a connection to animals. You know. Like Fluttershy had. But instead Discord tells Izzy that she reminds him soooo much of Fluttershy. Yeah sure. She's female and has long hair, Fluttershy's most important attributes. Great writing.
 

Dvandom

Well-known member
Citizen
The IDW G4 comics had a lot of good writers and artists on them, but G5 does not seem to be getting IDW's best efforts. Maybe they suspect they're losing that license too, so why pay good money to established writers when they can get someone cheaper?

---Dave
 

CoffeeHorse

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In one of the earlier issues it struck me that they didn't know how to write Izzy, and tried to write her like Fluttershy. "Oh, Izzy feels so lonely and separate. :(" And like. That's not Izzy's character at all. Izzy is perpetually thrilled to have found her place in the world.

That was the first issue. I actually thought that was one of the few things IDW did right. Izzy does have layers. One of her running gags is that her words often don't match her persistent smile and happy tone. If you listen to what she's saying and not how she says it, she does often drop hints that she's had a harsh life. She is aware that she's the only unicorn in the group. Make Your Mark picked up on that thread beautifully with her desperation to bond with Misty.
 

blueskyscribe

Member
Citizen
Oh yeah, Izzy has moments of loneliness but she buries them five layers deep. I don't think even she is cognizant of them most of the time, she's just like "welp, this is a thing I do! It's normal!" She's just got so many other emotions that sadness rarely gets to bubble up to the top. Like none of her close friends who she lives with knew she'd been missing other unicorns / unicorn traditions until Izzy started gushing about Misty.
 

CoffeeHorse

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I think she deliberately hides it. She doesn't want her friends to know when she needs a hug, because she wants them to believe they can always count on her for support. She doesn't want anyone to think they'll ever need to ask her "Is this a bad time?" before asking her for something.
 

ZakuConvoy

Well-known member
Citizen
There's also the focus on Izzy being the only one of her friends who can't fly. *Looks over at Hitch* Okay, the only one of the GIRLS who can't fly, so she feels a little left out, and that's what kind of kicked off this whole sub-plot. The Mane 5 has two pegasi, two Earth Ponies, but Izzy's the only unicorn, it makes sense that different writers are pointing out that she doens't have anyone else to talk magic with or something.

It actually kind of dovetails nicely with what happened in Make Your Mark and Tell Your Tale, recently. Izzy's the one who STARTED working on the Marestream, a flying bus. She wanted to fly with her friends so bad, she created a entirely new method of travel just to do it. There's a thought-line being followed, here. There's...*some* consistency with other versions of Izzy.

And that's the thing, too. Each version of G5 feels like it has a *slightly* different take on Izzy. The Movie version is just a bit easily distracted and excitable, Tell Your Tale's version is more bonkers and out of control (and gross) sometimes, Make Your Mark's version is a little weird but not as wild as TYT's version. All the details are just a little different between versions. I think IDW's take is fair enough. And...well, a lot of her attitude in this arc is supposed to be convenient so she sympathizes with Discord more. And I can see where Discord's coming from a little. "Nice girl who tried to understand me" would likely pluck at his heartstrings a little. And out of all the characters, Izzy makes the most sense to reach out to Discord first. Maybe tied with Sunny, just because of his ties to the Mane 6.

And I could see her getting fed up a little with being ignored by her friends, for just being "silly ol' Izzy". Because a lot of versions of Izzy can be kind of random and hard to understand. Sometimes she just has random non-sequitors, or completely alien logic compared to everyone around her. It COULD be easy to just ignore her just for being too silly sometimes. This...is probably a little too early for that kind of a plotline. It would have made more sense a few years from now, but I think the rough idea of the plot is solid enough. Izzy in most of the shows probably WOULD be in more denial...but she'd probably still be feeling similarly, if her friends didn't listen to her ideas.

So, Izzy might be a *little* off in IDW, but she's been a *little* off in just about everything so far. The various shows and games and books get CLOSE to each other, but none of them feel like they're all 100% the same character. I think they're all getting better about that, slowly, but the comics are going to be the slowest to change, since we only get ONE part of a story every month. The other mediums have multiple episodes coming out at a faster pace.

The best thing Hasbro could do is give the brand to Archie Comics and have them make those smaller size comics about it, since those are sold in grocery stores still. So then kids would buy it. The regular comics distribution system sucks for kids properties.
Um...well, Archie has it's own share of problems. Archie doesn't even really put out actual ongoing comic issues, anymore. They do some one-shots here and there, but the majority of what they publish IS the digests. Those digests have one or two new stories in them, but that's about it. The ongoing Archie, Jughead, and Betty and Veronica books have all been non-existant for YEARS, now.

For a idea, here's the FULL Archie solicitations for this month:

I'm not sure if Archie has the money to pay for the MLP license, unfortunately. This is YEARS old, but it may still be relevant:

Honestly, with Riverdale ending (due to the CW getting sold off), I honestly kind of worry about Archie Comic's future in general. I wouldn't be too surprised if Archie didn't either go bankrupt or to get sold off before the end of the decade. Maybe I'm wrong. They've been around in the comics industry since the Golden Age of Comics, after all. But....slice of life/comedy/children's/romance comics have had a hard time surviving the last few decades. And the comic industry doesn't seem to be getting healthier just in general. So...we'll see. Personally, I wouldn't put many eggs in the Archie basket, right now.

I'll agree that their digest distribution WOULD put more comics in the hands of actual children. Grocery stores and big box stores are MUCH more active than most comic shops.

DC did try to get some digests in Wal-Mart a few years ago, though. It...wasn't as successful as they hoped.
www.reddit.com/r/HobbyDrama/comments/vqvpq4/american_comics_dc_walmart_giants_and_the/

There's a BUNCH of reasons why DC's Digests failed. And that doesn't mean someone shouldn't try it again. But, unfortunately, the digest format might not be the killer app comic fans might hope it could be.

The IDW G4 comics had a lot of good writers and artists on them, but G5 does not seem to be getting IDW's best efforts. Maybe they suspect they're losing that license too, so why pay good money to established writers when they can get someone cheaper?

I HAVE noticed that some old mainstays of the G4 comics really haven't been around yet for G5. No Andy Price (outside of one cover), or Katie Cook. So...maybe.
 
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blueskyscribe

Member
Citizen
"My friends can fly and I can't (for this one game)" was very unconvincing to me as a reason why Izzy would feel SO left out. It also doesn't really make sense in-universe because Hitch is an Earth pony and, most of the time, Sunny is too! Pipp runs a salon, so she's also on the ground the majority of the time. Also, the girls all live together and Hitch seems to hang out with them almost daily.

IMO the writers just scrawled down the first idea they had and didn't pause to think, "Hey . . . does this make any sense?"
 
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CoffeeHorse

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It's not really about not flying (though clearly she did want to fly, and never gave up on that dream). It's all the cumulative reminders that she lives in her own world. Flying is just a particularly vivid thing unicorns don't get to do unless they build a flying machine. She doesn't live in that world. There are other things only unicorns get to do, and things only they understand about each other because only they've lived it. And it doesn't even have to be deep. It's even things like "Hey, remember when Bridlewood had a museum? Whatever happened to that place?" But she doesn't get to share any of that with some close unicorn friends. She doesn't really live in that world either. She tried, but she was too sparkly for Bridlewood.

It's why she was so disappointed by Misty's cluelessness during the sleepover. She was hoping for some familiarity. She was hoping to do and talk about some things they both already know. Izzy's friends are cool, but she has to explain herself constantly, and it was going to be nice to hang out with someone who just already knows.
 
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