My Little Pony Friendship is Magic Omnibus Volume 1 Review

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It’s time to check back in with the ponies! I already read the first few issues from this collection during the original volume 1 release, but naturally I had to check out the Omnibus as well right? A certain scene from the first arc still holds the collection back, but it’s still a solid adventure for the most part. In some ways I wish the show would have as many action scenes as this one, but I guess that runs with its own set of risks as this comic makes evident. Well, lets dive in!

So, the first arc is old, but lets recap in case you did not read my original review. Queen Chrysalis and the Changelings are back and they took over Ponyville in an instant. Derpy was the last to fall but now it is up to the Mane 6 to stop this evil threat. They mobilize their forces and head out to also rescue the Cutie Mark Crusaders. Twilight Sparkle will have to use her full powers if she has any hope of winning this round, but it’s still going to be a very tough fight. The villains aren’t hear to pull any punches.

Well, the arc is pretty solid except for one scene where Queen Chrysalis actually destroys one of the animals. It’s a surprisingly violent scene that you wouldn’t expect in My Little Pony. This is the one tricky part about the comics taking a more intense route than the show. While the comics have more fights and serious plots, they can also add in more violence which can get risky. While it’s a quick page that you can easily miss when embracing the hype of the arc, once you notice it there is no going back. It’s a shame since this one moment does limit the rest of the collection. If we ignore that little bit then the rest of the arc is pretty solid. We do get to see Twilight unleash one of her more powerful energy blasts at the Queen even if it’s not enough to take her down for the count.

It is a little iffy how quickly the Pony bonds are broken though. They know that they are up against shapeshifters after all so they should probably suspect that something is up when their friends start insulting them right? I’d expect some of the Ponies to fall for this, but not the entirety of the Mane 6. Ah well, even the ponies have their off days right? The changeling army is definitely impressive and since they seem stronger than the average pony, it’s fortunate that the Mane 6 are strong. An even numbered fight with the rest of the citizens may not go so well otherwise.

Time for the new content! This arc is easily the best part of the volume. The Mane 6 have all been having nightmares and are wondering why this is the case. Well, it turns out that an ancient evil has re awoken. It is the same darkness which once possessed Princess Luna. It has now set its sights on Rarity and kidnaps her. The rest of the Mane 6 will have to hurry if they are to rescue her but the villain’s army is numerous with many shadow creatures at her disposal. The entire kingdom is in peril so Celestia mobilizes her troops. Still, they’re basically just cannon fodder so she needs Luna. Unfortunately, Luna is dealing with confidence issues. Can she pony up in time to stop this threat or is it game over?

This arc is basically what the first arc would have been like without that quick animal moment. The new Nightmare Moon is a fearsome villain and is actually more serious than Queen Chrysalis. She is set on conquering Equestria and comes awful close. Her magic power is considerable and we get some actual fights here. The Mane 6 even have to use their laser blasts to stop her. We often see Twilight Sparkle use her powers, but not the rest of the ponies so that was cool. Naturally Rarity gets the shaft for most of the arc since she was kidnapped, but still looks good during the adventure. Luna’s still one of the best ponies in the series and this adventure is another reminder on that. She’s strong and has a lot of character development. Luna has learned a lot throughout her adventures and keeps that development. Now that she’s gotten over her confidence issues, she is certainly one of the best all around fighters in Ponyville.

Next up was Big Mac’s two part adventure. I always like how Applejacks’ family have good related names that reminds me of the past. I always used to eat Applejacks back in the day and while I didn’t go for Big Macs until recently, I did like the name. Basically he needs to find a nail so he heads for the shop, but the whole village has been taken over by a festival. It’s going to be difficult to find the owner, but this pony doesn’t give up so easily. What ensues are a bunch of random shenanigans where it seems like every pony is conspiring against him. Can Big Mac prevail?

Big Mac doesn’t handle the situation very well and shows why he is the weakest member of the Apple family. He doesn’t take anything in stride so you have to assume that he never leaves the farm since he should be used to this. Ponyville is always quirky as its inhabitants just love to have a bunch of fun. It’s a bit of a stretch that he couldn’t find the nail for the whole 2 issues, but he was kept pretty busy. The most enjoyable side trip would certainly be when he teams up with Princess Luna to wreck everybody at track and field. That was handled pretty well. The rest of the story was fun enough as well.

The final two issues were about Cadance and Shining Armor. I have yet to see them in the TV show so it was interesting to have a little preview. Basically the issues recount the first time Cadance and Shining Armor got to meet. Armor really wanted to impress her so he worked on his skills and decided to take her to the dance. The only problem is that she already accepted an offer from a richer, more sports savvy pony. Shining Armor will have to use every dirty trick in the book in order to stop his rival.

Unfortunately this was probably the weakest two part comic. It certainly didn’t do anything to improve my opinion of Shiny. His banter with Twilight would probably be the only part of his character that works well and Twilight as a kid is still a quality character. That being said, it’s just hard to be sympathetic to the Knight. He doesn’t embrace the role playing game that his gang plays because he gets too distracted by Cadence. Furthermore, he can’t even speak when Cadance appears and can only say things like “der” and ends up running off. He’s exaggeratedly bad in this comic. Of course, you can’t root for the bully since he’s rather mean, but you have to at least admire the guy’s confidence. He talks tough to Celestia and isn’t afraid of anyone. He probably would make a firm ruler, just a petty one.

As for Cadance, she seems nice enough. Naturally her whole romance with Shining Armor seems rather out of place and isn’t handled too well but if we ignore that chunk of her character than I’d say that she did well. She’s not as fun as Luna or as unlikable as Celestia so I guess she is somewhere in the middle. A reasonable supporting character to have around. So, this volume may have ended on a rather weak note, but it’s not as if this story is bad. It’s just a rather generic prom night adventure featuring two characters that I’m not really invested in. Better them than the Mane 6 though since any romance for one of those characters would result in a permanent addition to the main cast and we don’t want that.

The art for the comics is pretty good. It does take a little getting used to with how expressive it is, but the colors are very sharp and the designs are on point. It does help the issues to feel like the TV show and the animations may be even better to be honest. The comics really breeze by as a result. The writing is also on point as you’d expect. It’s easy to just pick this comic up and start reading. Likewise, the Ponies are about the same as always as well. Rainbow Dash and Applejack are always ready for a fight while Twilight is the one who is prepared for it. Rarity and Fluttershy mainly stick to the back row with Pinkie Pie as they verbally support and insult the other from afar. It would be nice if they could fight a little more, but I suppose it’s good to have a contrast. Rarity did good while she was possessed in her evil form though.

Overall, This was a solid batch of stories. As it’s an omnibus there is certainly quite a lot of content here to make it worth your dollar. The only negative from the whole adventure is when the animal was blown up. Some stories were a little weaker than the others like the last one and even the Big Mac adventure, but it makes sense since the Mane 6 were not the leads. The Cutie Mark Crusaders can hold their own stories as well, but now we know which characters cannot do so. While I can recommend most MLP comics whole heartedly I must cautiously recommend this one. It’s a very solid collection but not for the faint of heart. Still, even with its intensity there is always a lot of quick comedic moments to keep things from getting too serious so for the most part it is okay for kids as well. I’m looking forward to the next Omnibus as that should definitely give us some quality adventures. Until then, I suppose it could be a while before I have another MLP review out I guess.

Overall 5/10

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Godzilla in Hell Review

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This comic review is a pretty big landmark for me because it is the first Godzilla comic book that I have ever read. That is probably a little surprising to hear since I’m such a big Godzilla fan, but my library simply doesn’t order the comics very often. I’m a comic reader, but not necessarily a collector. It’s the opposite with video games. When I saw that the library had picked this trade paperback up, I grabbed it instantly. I heard that this comic was quite different from the average Godzilla adventure and that is certainly true, but I suppose that it’s as good a way to enter the Godzilla comic part of the franchise as any other. It is a good comic although I feel like it could have gone a lot farther with this ambitious concept.

On the back of the book they have a quote from legendary comic reviewer Daniel Alvarez of Unleash The Fanboy about how this is the most unique Godzilla tale of them all. It is a little…sketchy how they completely took the quote out of context although I certainly agree with it and would argue that the reviewer would as well. This is the most unique Godzilla tale of them all and there will likely never be another one quite like it. That doesn’t mean that it is the best Godzilla tale of all time. Certainly not, but it’s a good one and that’s why I feel this mini series should have ran for a little longer. Another 5-6 issues would have given it time to really explore Godzilla’s time in hell. Who knows, if this sells well enough then maybe we will get a sequel.

As the title outright states, this series is about Godzilla being in Hell. (Or is he really there?) It works as a bit of an anthology as each issue has a different team behind it and Godzilla faces a new threat each time. The stories are still held together by the loose plot of Godzilla trying to get out and most anthologies have some kind of string holding the plot together, but for all intents and purposes, the comics are all separate. As such, I’ll review this in the style of an anthology with a paragraph for each individual issue rather than talking about it as a whole until the end.

The first issue sees Godzilla literally fall into Hell where he fights off a Dark version of himself who turns into a very deformed version of Biollante and threatens to eat him whole. Godzilla fends off his attack and makes his way into the next layer of Hell. It is a solid start to the collection and I dare say that it is the most compelling issue of the bunch. It doesn’t have as much action as some of the issues coming up, but it handled the concept better than the others. The big sign saying to abandon hope is something that you would expect to find in Hell, at least conceptually. Once you are in Hell, there is no hope at all. Simply put, the race is over and you made the wrong choice. Of course, Godzilla is not dead yet so he is not truly out of time. Plus, let’s face it, Godzilla doesn’t feel fear. The art for this issue was solid. It did a good job of showing the facial expressions for Godzilla and the fight was well done. This is really what a comic version of Godzilla should strive to look like and I definitely liked the design of the made up villain.

Following that strong start was the worst comic in the collection. The series tried to go for a live action look and it didn’t work. As far as I’m concerned, if DC’s Kingdom Come event couldn’t pull it off, nothing ever will. The fight scenes are very choppy and it’s a shame since this issue could have had the most action. This level of hell has demons transform into lookalikes from Godzilla’s past. Fake Rodan, Anguirus, Varan, and Ghidorah all attack the hero. Godzilla fends them all off and it should have been a really good issue. The art just takes you out of the adventure. I do like the use of the word bubbles here as they add more context and hint at what is actually going on here. Godzilla passes this trial with flying colors as he proves that he is more than a match for any demon. Of course, the trials will get stronger from here.

The third issue was the most colorful and went for more of a cartoony feel than the other two. This made for a great fight between Godzilla and Space Godzilla, but the facial expressions could be a little odd at times. It was uncharacteristic for Godzilla, but the fight scenes were worth it. Space Godzilla is definitely a worthy opponent for the King of the Monsters. This was also the strangest issue in the collection. So, this trial is essentially that Godzilla must defeat Space Godzilla without resorting to the temptations from both sides. Half of Hell wants him to become their god and rule while the others want him to work for Hell. You are led to believe at first that half of them worship God and want Godzilla to join, but they quickly switch to believers of Godzilla and also don’t seem trust worthy. Regardless, Godzilla eats them all and crushes the rest, but neither side seemed to have a clue as to what they were doing.

They were yelling about submitting to peace the entire time. Godzilla just kept on blasting them which is probably a safe bet. Why would angels be in Hell anyway unless they were fallen ones? I guess some Earthlings tried to come here as well since we saw that Moguera was toasted. It was an odd comic, but it also helps support the argument that this is all real and not simply a dream the most in my opinion. I don’t have a lot of concrete arguments to support that, but this issue felt like it could be real. More on that at the end.

Issue 4 also had some pretty nice art. It was a little more realistic, but still pretty vibrant which is good because the whole issue is a big fight with King Ghidorah and Destoroyah. Godzilla has to use his wits to defeat these two since their combined might is far greater than his. It is cool to see him actually using strategy like dividing the opponents and taking them out on at a time. He loses though and the second half of the issue sees him die over and over again. The problem is that since he is in Hell, he cannot die for good. He has been cursed with immortality and it is a somber thought. At the end he breaks out of this part of hell and makes his way to the final challenges. This was my favorite story. As a big action fan, it was fun to see some fights here and Godzilla being portrayed as more than a mindless monster is always good.

Finally, the collection ended with Godzilla facing off against the elements and the actual demons from Hell. In their true forms, they were finally playing for keeps here. Unfortunately, they got a little too overconfident and after destroying Godzilla, they reanimated him with fire, which was enough to jump start his body and allow him to regenerate. They should have quit while they were ahead. It ends with Godzilla rising out of the water and you have to ask, did this all really happen or was it in his head? The answer will come in a moment. Meanwhile, the art here was not as good as the last few issues. The final shot with Godzilla rising it great and it’s better than the live action issue, but it is too gray-scale for me. Comics don’t always have to be vibrant, but it just didn’t look that good and everything was just too faded. Still a good issue, but it’s always sad to see Godzilla lose due to sheer numbers. It is part of why I don’t like the Megaguirus film.

In the end, my answer is that this was all a dream. The final issue does state that winning against yourself is greater than a thousand victories. It said that such a win can never be taken away and those lines of dialogue really support the fact that this was in Godzilla’s head. It is still a little iffy as Godzilla is not the type to ever doubt himself and I don’t think he would need to conquer his inner demons. Still, I suppose that even Kaiju have things that they need to think about so it is not totally unreasonable to believe that Godzilla has to come to terms with himself now and again. I’ve never been all that opposed to reading a series that ended with the plot twist of it all being a dream so it is not all that bad. It is open to interpretation so feel free to choose another theory to follow, but this is definitely the one that I follow.

Overall, I think this series definitely could have benefited from being longer. Of course, it could have had the opposite effect as it really depends on an issue to issue basis. If the writers started to run out of ideas, then it is always best to quit while you are ahead. I definitely recommend this to any Godzilla fan. The concept is simply too priceless to pass up. I think the average comic reader should be able to enjoy it as well. There is very little dialogue here so it is more of a visual experience than anything else. That’s something that everyone can ultimately appreciate in a comic as long as there is some kind of interesting plot/good characters to go alongside it. I’ve finally entered the world of Godzilla comics, hopefully I am able to read another one someday!

Overall 7/10