Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

My Little Pony: The Elements of Harmony Volume II Review

It’s time to check out the new My Little Pony guidebook. I read the last one almost 4 years ago so it has certainly been a while. I suppose that makes sense since each guidebook covers 3 seasons of the show and it takes a while for those to be produced. As it stands, I can’t see a third volume coming out for a long time since I think it is currently only 1 season out of date. It’s a very informative book and I can honestly say that it is pretty much perfect for learning about the ponies. I dare say that Megaman.exe and Transformers still had the most colorful and immersive guidebooks on the block, but this one keeps it close.

There are several sections in the book. First we take a look at the main ponies of course. The book talks about the Mane 6, their friends, allies, enemies, etc. It also talks about the surrounding areas and just about everything you need to know about the basics of Equestria. This section is always pretty fun and even if you already know most of the characters, it’s nice to see their write ups. It’s an essential part of every guidebook.

There is also a small section at the very end of the guidebook which talks about the songs. It writes down all of the lyrics for them so you can really appreciate the writing. I’m guessing they only chose some songs as I doubt there were 3 seasons worth of lyrics in there, but maybe there weren’t as many musical episodes as I had expected. The songs were nice although it’s always a lot more enjoyable to actually listen to them than read the lyrics.

The bulk of the book and the section where you’ll spend the most time are the episode descriptions. The guidebook goes through each and every episode from seasons 4 through 6 and gives a detailed look at what happens. They even post the moral to each episode on the bottom of the page. This is one of those areas that separates the guidebook from the rest. I can’t think of any other guidebook that does such a great job of showing you all of the episodes. You could theoretically be able to start season 7 feeling confident that you know everything if you read this guidebook. (And the last one of course)

There aren’t a whole lot of bonus features beyond that so I’ve pretty much mentioned everything there is to know about this one. So it’s pretty basic with the episode summaries being the main thing that makes it a lot of fun. Without it I’d probably have to dock a star, but it’s good enough with that feature. You’ll find yourself breezing through the book as you eagerly catch up on the latest pony knowledge. Now lets talk about some of the bonus features that the book could have had though.

I think some sections that could have made the book a lot more detailed would have been a nice Q and A section. Seeing the writers and voice actors talk about the characters and answer questions from fans would have been nice. Maybe hintings at future episodes or at Derpy’s big upcoming role would have been neat. Maybe some character popularity polls like which MLP characters are the most popular or something of that nature. These are all things that could have made the book more epic. “Top 10 MLP fights” may not be applicable for the average fan but what about something like top 10 songs or top 10 episodes? Those are a must for the average guidebook. Maybe what this series can do is make the next volume come out after 2 seasons instead of 3 and then they can pack in the empty space with some of these bonus features. Just a suggestion, but I do think it would make the book even better.

Overall, You’ll enjoy this guidebook. The only way you wouldn’t is if you aren’t an MLP fan, but if so then I doubt you’d be reading this in the first place. I suppose it could be a good launching on point for fans who haven’t had time to watch the show but in that case I would hope that you would have read the first voluem first. That would definitely be beneficial. It’s been a while since I read a guidebook, but maybe more will pop up at some point. They seem like an easy thing for a franchise to do so I wish more would do them. Imagine a nice Pokemon version where it’ll cover all of the episodes in a region? That’d be really nice. Meanwhile, now I just need to wait for my library to get the next My Little Pony comic to continue this marathon of the franchise.

Overall 8/10

Book Reviews, Books, Reviews

DC Entertainment Graphic Novel Essentials and Chronology 2014 Review

This book looked interesting because it is basically a way to know which comics should be the first DC ones that you read. I already read plenty of DC comics, but it’s always nice to see how the company orders their favorites. Naturally, this is a book that is best if you are about to start reading comics or want to check out some of the classics.

That being said, I felt that the book plays it a little too safe. In their Top 25 Graphic Novels section, I heard of at least 20 of them…possibly every title. Batman Year One, The Dark Knight Returns, Watchmen, V For Vendetta, etc. They were all titles (Except Superman Earth 1) that you essentially expected to be on the list. I would have liked some surprises. A few obscure titles would have been great.

Of course, the classics should make up most of them. They are the classics for a reason and I would have been sad if The Death of Superman hadn’t made it. Most of the comics are from The New 52 since that is where they want you to start reading from. It’s nice to see the summaries for all of the graphic novels and it reaffirms the fact that most of DC’s comics have great artwork. Only a handful of them didn’t look so good and most of the issues were 5 star quality.

The older comics mostly show up in the character section. Green Lantern, Wonder Woman, Batman, Flash, and Superman get two-three pages to themselves where the book lists their best comics. While the New 52 ones are always present, there are also older ones to keep things interesting. After all, you can’t mention Green Lantern and skip the War of The Green Lanterns graphic novel. That’s simply not done!

The only section of the graphic novel that wasn’t very entertaining was the Vertigo lineup section. (I think it was just Vertigo, but there may have been a few other obscure sections) The comics just weren’t my style since I’m more of a superhero guy. The fairy tales thing was intriguing until I read the summary. Eh, I’ll just stick to the usual DC fighters.

There aren’t really any comic previews, but the Top 25 Graphic Novels all get a few panels to show off the art and the dialogue. The pictures are very small so you’ll have to squint if you want to read them. I had already read most of the interesting ones though and comics like the Watchmen didn’t interest me. (The Watchmen is pretty overrated if you ask me)

The collection nearly 200 pages, but it’s really about half of that since the last half is all made up of checklists and such. You’ll breeze through the guidebook, but that’s actually a good thing. The print isn’t small and intimidating like the Marvel counterparts. It would have been nice to get even more data in there, but containing the size is important so I’m glad that they succeeded.

Overall, this is a very good guidebook. It covers a lot of ground while also making the fonts easy to read and staying under 200 pages. The reading list at the end is also very fun and reading all of the comics in them would be a pretty great feat. Checklists like that are simply fun to have. I do think that they should have included some more obscure titles in there, but there were still a lot of comics that were covered. If you’re jumping into DC comics, then this is the perfect guide to get you all set. This review was rather short, but you can only write about a guidebook for so long. There simply isn’t a whole lot to say. Back on topic, I recommend getting the Justice League comics if you really were going to buy a comic for the first time. Nothing is more accessible than the firs issue of that series and you’ll get to meet a whole lot of characters!

Overall 8/10