Review – My Little Pony: Spirit of the Forest #1 (IDW Publishing)

Publisher: IDW Publishing
Writer: Ted Anderson
Artwork: Brenda Hickey
Colours: Heather Breckel
Letters: Neil Uyetake
Release Date: 29th May 2019

“The Cutie Mark Crusaders are back! When Apple Bloom, Scootaloo, and Sweetie Belle take a trip into the woods, they find a forest filled with trash! Just what could be causing this mess?! Looks like it’s another mystery for our favourite fillies to solve—and one where not everything is as it seems…”

When given the opportunity to read this, I thought it would be good to sit down with my five-year-old daughter and read it together. My knowledge of the MLP brand is limited to the recent movie and a few books we have, but I’ll happily admit to enjoying the wide-eyed optimism and humour; something I’m happy to see replicated in this new limited series from IDW.

Jumping in without reading any of the blurb, I was expecting a tale (or should that be tail?) of the mane six, but instead this focuses on the Cutie Mark Crusaders. For anyone who’s been following this intrepid band of detectives, this won’t pose a problem but for newcomers, a quick namecheck would have been great, especially while reading with a youngster. Still, this is purely a minor gripe and didn’t detract from the overall story.

The premise is pretty simple and easy to follow; the CMCs are out camping in White Tail Woods, and discover that someone is being less than conscientious with their litter. Despite organising a clean-up with others from Ponyville, the litter returns and it turns out there’s more going on in Woods than first meets the eye. On top of the mundane events in the forest, there’s also the legend of the Spirit itself and maybe how it’s a tad more than legend…

The art throughout is the standard one has come to expect from the MLP brand, with Hickey managing to capture the sickeningly sweet and cute along with the comically angry. The visuals are complimented rounded out well by Breckel’s colours and Uyetake’s letters, making this an easy read. That said, given that fact that the look of the book follows an established model, there’s nothing that immediately jumps out – although this shouldn’t be taken as a knock.

This is clearly an environmental story, and is likely to tick all the expected tropes and clichés along the way. For a younger target audience it’s not overly heavy-handed or blunt, and dealt with these issues in a way that was wonderfully reminiscent of the moral recaps at the end of Saturday morning cartoons when I was a youngster in the ‘80s.

Reading this with my daughter, we found some genuinely amusing moments throughout, and it was actually a good prompt to start talking about environmental issues in simpler terms. It’s not my usual cup of tea but it covers all the bases and provides a story that I might follow with the youngster. If the purpose of a comic is to entertain and raise questions, then this first issue does its job admirably.

Rating: 3/5.


The writer of this piece was: Adam Brown
Adam Tweets from @brother_rooster

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